Kansas City Royals: 2019 Predictions, The Outfield

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 6: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals catches a ball hit by Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on August 6, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 6: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals catches a ball hit by Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on August 6, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals need the outfield to provide good defense and enough offense to win ballgames. What can they expect from them this year?

The Major League Roster

Left field and center are locked up by Alex Gordon and Billy Hamilton for the Kansas City Royals. Right field will be manned at least some of the time by Jorge Soler. Overall, this should be a pretty good defensive outfield. Having Gold Glover Gordon in left field should allow Hamilton to be able to shade a little to right field and help Soler. That will let Soler concentrate on the line and the corner.

Soler still needs work, but he is better than when he got here. Fielding balls falling in front of him is still an adventure. He does track balls well and runs better routes to the ball than when he arrived. His arm is legit as well. Terrance Gore can fill in and upgrade the defense late in games. I expect both Chris Owings and Whit Merrifield to put some time in the outfield as well.

Brian Goodwin is the last outfielder on the 40 man roster left in camp after the Royals reassigned the rest of the contenders. At the start of Spring Training, I predicted he would make the team primarily because he will have to be DFA’d if not on the 25 man roster. However, he has had a mostly miserable time at the plate. He has been getting more at bats this last week, but still may not make the team.

In fairness, he has had only 43 at bats all spring. That lack of at bats could also be a sign the Royals are looking at other alternatives. They may believe they have enough coverage and don’t need another full time outfielder. That would open up a spot for Frank Schwindel. He’s DH’d in several games now with what looks like will be our opening day roster. He has also lined up at catcher now and looks good. Nicky Lopez could get a shot if they want his glove and another left handed bat in the lineup.

Next In Line

Jorge Bonifacio and Brett Phillips will start the year in Omaha with the Storm Chasers. Both have had disappointing springs. Bonifacio has not looked all that good since he returned from his suspension. Phillips has shown lots of success in the minors but has yet to produce with the bat in the major leagues. Phillips has the biggest upside if he can just find a way hit. His defense is already MLB ready. Bonifacio may have the hardest path back to Kansas City. His bat needs to be really hot for another shot as a regular.

Non-Roster Prospects

Bubba Starling leads this list. His hot spring has put him back on the radar. If Bonifacio and Phillips falter, he could find his way up before they get another chance. I really hope this is the year Starling puts it all together and makes his Kansas City debut. If he keeps hitting, he may get the call up if Hamilton is traded or injured.

We need to look at the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to find the next best prospects. Nick Heath and Khalil Lee represent the beginning of the next wave of prospects. Lee turns 21 in June and only played the latter part of the year for the Naturals. He did okay, but his bat suffered a little from the promotion. He will probably spend most of the year at Arkansas. If he gets his bat back on track, he could be in Omaha by the end of 2019.

Nick Heath’s talents are speed and defense. He keeps improving his OBP each year and ended last year at .376 between the Wilmington club and NW Arkansas. At 25, the Royals may move him up quicker if needed. However, the club will have to make some big decisions on Phillips and Bonifacio’s future before that happens.

Elier Hernandez and Kort Peterson will have to have exceptional years to move them back into prospect status. The next wave of prospects in A Ball will be moving up the ladder this year and next. Both could find it hard to get on the field once they begin to arrive in the upper minor leagues.


By 2021, chances are, none of our current starting outfielders will be on the Kansas City Royals team. Hamilton could be gone before the year is out. Gordon’s contract ends after this year and Soler after the 2020 season. The Royals might consider re-signing Gordon if none of the prospects are ready to take his place. Realistically, none of the A Ball players this year will be ready for the big leagues until next year at the earliest. The rest will filter in sometime after 2021.

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We should expect to see some outstanding defense this year in center and left field. What Soler lacks in defense he should make up for in offense. Hamilton will be fun to watch both in the field and on the base paths. Soler has the tools to be a major offensive threat. Gordon just needs to be an average hitter and to keep his glove golden to help the team.