Projecting the KC Royals’ Opening Day starting lineup

KC Royals, Whit Merrifield (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Whit Merrifield (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images /

We’ll be without KC Royals baseball for quite a while, but that can’t stop us from predicting what the first lineup of the regular season will look like.

We’ve got a long way to go until baseball is back. Eight more weeks, at the minimum. It’s going to be difficult but together, we can get through it. KC Royals games will be back before you know it.

With spring training being canceled, the likelihood of outside options working their way into the Opening Day fold decreases by quite a bit. Spring contests can only be evaluated about halfway through. That bodes well for those who’ve been staples in the lineup for a while.

This year’s lineup, both positionally and personnel-wise, will look a bit different than the one you saw a year ago. That’s normal for a rebuilding club. General manager Dayton Moore didn’t break the bank this offseason under new owner John Sherman, instead opting for bargain-bin signings.

So with that said, let’s jump in and project what the Royals’ starting lineup will look like the next time they take the field, starting with the designated hitter position:

Designated hitter: Jorge Soler

Jorge Soler had a breakout 2019 season, and the crazy part is he still might have a bit of room to improve. In a full season’s worth of games last year, the Cuban-born designated hitter clubbed a franchise record and league-leading 48 home runs. The power Royals fans had long hoped for finally showed up in a big way.

On top of that, Soler was also able to get on base at a decent rate. His .265/.354/.569 line was undeniably weighted a bit by his crazy SLG but nonetheless, his second-half provided immense hope for 2020.

In the second act of the 2019 regular season, Soler took his game to another level. Hitting .299 and posting an OBP of .411, he was quite literally one of the best hitters in all of baseball. His strikeout rate, albeit extremely high, even dipped to just under one per game over that 71-contest stretch.

Soler bet on himself by taking a one-year deal to return to KC this season. We’ll see if it pays off for him, but it almost surely will for the team.