Things To Watch For As Your Royals Open Spring Schedule

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Feb 23, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson (1) and shortstop Christian Colon (24) look on during a workout at Surprise Stadium Practice Fields. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson (1) and shortstop Christian Colon (24) look on during a workout at Surprise Stadium Practice Fields. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Kansas City Royals are playing baseball today with Kyle Zimmer on the mound and everything is awesome

The Royals open up their spring slate of games today, with 2:05 p.m. CT start time against their Surprise Stadium roommate Texas Rangers.

Kyle Zimmer will get the ball for the Royals, in his first Spring Training with the Major League club.

RIP Andy McCullough’s mentions.

On the other side, Colby Lewis will toe the rubber for Texas, a 17-game winner in 2015 despite a 4.66 ERA.

Here’s some early things to keep an eye on as the Royals begin playing baseball games once again(!!).

What Can Kyle Zimmer Do?

This question has become somewhat jaded at this point.

With his injury history, it’s easy to get numb about his upside, but the upside is very real.

To highlight his injury history, Fangraphs has him at just a future 50 value, which in context projects out to roughly a #4 starter.

This all despite the fact that he is graded out to have three average or better pitches, including two plus-pitches and above-average command.

Injuries aside, the guy has elite arm talent. Fangraphs 2016 Royals prospect rankings has Zimmer at #1, with a 70-future grade curveball and a 70-overall grade.

His curveball is one of the better curveballs in minor league baseball, and has the upside to be a 1-2 starter if he stays healthy. Here’s what that hammer looks like.

Last season was the first season in which he looked healthy for a decent chunk of time since 2013.

If he can stay healthy, it’ll be interesting to see how he works into the Royals plans.

He’s already 24, but the argument could be made that his stuff is rotation-ready right now.

Omar Infante v. Christian Colon

With Omar Infante set to receive $7.75 million in 2016, more than guys like Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Ian Kennedy, Royals fans shrugging off a really competition for the second base job wasn’t unreasonable.

Pair his big contract with Ned Yost being an extreme players manager with a history of defending his players to the point of fault, envisioning a circumstance where former first-round pick Christian Colon starts at second base was tough.

"“Do I think Omar is going to bounce back? Yes, I do,” Yost said. “But I’m going to have an open mind with Colon."

Take that for what you will, but this is one of several comments about the second base job being an open competition.

At 26-years old and with the Royals window being as open as it ever will be, it may well be time to give Colon a shot.

He has had mild success at the Major League level, while also having two of the biggest hits in Royals history.

Meanwhile, Infante is coming off one of the worst offensive seasons in the history of baseball. 

Infante provides defensive value at second base, but will it justify the gaping black hole offensively?

Maybe this will be the year we see Christian Colon start and perform well, so we can stop feeling so bad about him not being Matt Harvey or Chris Sale.

The Royals Are World Freaking Champs

Today will mark the first of many games this season where the Royals will be introduced as World Series champions.

Today will be the first of many games that we see this gorgeous patch on each Royal’s right-sleeve:

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Today will more than likely mark the first of many time this season that announcers will talk about Alex Gordon‘s game one tying homer.

Lastly, today marks the 508th consecutive day that the Kansas City Royals have been American League champs.

Soak it up, Kansas City. Happy Spring Training.

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