3.) Young guys reach potential
There could be as many as five young, unproven starters in the Opening Day lineup. Ideally, the Kansas City Royals will make some free agent signings to keep that from happening. Regardless, it seems likely there will be a minimum of three relatively unproven guys in the lineup. Raul Mondesi will assuredly be on the field. Cheslor Cuthbert or Hunter Dozier would seem set to take over at third base. Either Jorge Bonifacio or Jorge Soler should be the starting right fielder.
Even if guys like Hosmer and Dyson (or Cain, for that matter) return, there will still be plenty of question marks in this lineup. Forget for a minute the 2017 struggles of Gordon and Brandon Moss, there would need to be a lot of improvement shown by those unproven guys.
Mondesi has the most to prove given his status as the best young player in the Kansas City Royals organization. He got a chance to start at the big-league level last season, but he couldn’t figure out how to hit enough to justify his spot. This time around, the hope is that things will be different. At the very least, he should be an upgrade on Alcides Escobar, right? Well, maybe not. But he’s worth the gamble.
The most interesting spring training competitions could be for third base and right field. Cuthbert has more experience than Dozier. After a solid 2016 filling in for Mike Moustakas, Cuthbert didn’t show anything this past season to suggest he’s a long-term solution. The same could be said for both Jorges. Each showed power potential, although Soler showed his at Triple-A Omaha. Regardless of who wins the preseason battles, the unproven starters need to prove something in 2018.