The Kansas City Royals bullpen would appear to be set. We know that Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera will not be going anywhere. Jason Frasor and Luke Hochevar are essentially locks to be in the bullpen. There will be a lefty reliever of some sort, and the recently signed Chris Young is slotting in as the Royals spot starter/long reliever. There would not seem to be any spots open.
However, amid reports that Hochevar may not be ready for Opening Day, and the possibility that the Kansas City Royals would want to start the season with eight relievers, there may well be an opening or two. If the Royals are looking for a candidate to step up, one such player may be Louis Coleman.
Coleman, one of three members of the Royals who are out of options, has had a decent Spring thus far. While his 4.05 ERA is not exactly stellar, Coleman has struck out nine batters without allowing a walk in his 6.2 innings of work while compiling a 1.05 WhiP. That is certainly a marked improvement over last season, when Coleman had a 1.676 WHiP and allowed 18 walks in 34 innings.
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Yet, even with this strong Spring Training, it is not a given that Louis Coleman will break camp as a member of the Kansas City Royals bullpen. Jandel Gustave is also pitching well, and as a Rule V draft pick, the Royals need to locate a place for him or would have to return him to the Houston Astros. In fact, with Hochevar likely to begin the season on the disabled list, it would open a door for Gustave to make the roster.
Coleman is also facing several other challengers for that possible final spot in the bullpen. Ryan Madson may be a long shot, but he has pitched relatively well. Joe Blanton has two opt-out clauses, on April 1st and May 15th, if he is not on the Royals major league roster. There is also the looming question of what the Royals will do with Brandon Finnegan. Will he remain with the Royals as a reliever, or will he go to Omaha? If he stays in Kansas City, then Franklin Morales can also be added to the list of challengers for that final spot in the bullpen.
Despite being out of options, there is nothing guaranteed for Louis Coleman. He is going to need to pitch his way into the Kansas City Royals bullpen. With the quality of relievers he is facing, he is in for a tough battle.