The KC Royals are looking towards the 2020 season and should have a finalized list of 60 players soon. It’s likely some speed will be present.
KC Royals fans, and the entire MLB, are looking towards next week and what should be the start of spring training 2.0. There are still likely plenty of changes that may be brought to the table over the next few weeks concerning the season and how games are played, but at least at the moment, it looks as though games will be played starting at the end of July.
While a 2020 season is likely to be started, there could be some major differences that fans have to get used to. There will be differences in active roster sizes for a few weeks, and a mass of 60 players available to play this season with their 40 man roster and a 20 man taxi squad.
Along with the possibility of seeing more players, the game as a whole will likely look and feel different. With no fans in the crowd, no big celebrations, at least those that include touching, and non-playing members of teams in the dugout will have masks on.
The changes will take some getting used to, but for a baseball season, it’s worth it. One change that may not come into play as often is one that may have the Royals a bit excited. This is the change concerning extra innings.
In a recent article from MLB.com detailing some of the changes to baseball, this change is mentioned. When a game runs into extra innings, to keep things shorter, a runner will start on second base for the team up to bat. This runner will, apparently, be either the player who received the last out in the most recent inning or a pinch-runner.
For those of us who enjoy extra innings as “free baseball”, this change may not be a favorite, but for the Royals, this difference could help tip a few games in their favor. While extra innings are not something that necessarily always happen, the Royals see their fair share and may get a chance to try out this new rule.
Luckily for the Royals, their employment strategy plays into this change. It always seems that Kansas City manages to attract speedy players to Kauffman. Defense is at the front of the Royals strategy and for that, speed is a must.
In what is sure to be a strange 60 game season, a few games could be the difference between a team like the Royals making the postseason and sitting out another year. A few of those difference-making games could be those with extra innings.
While the Royals could likely go with the last person to get an out as the runner on second, there is a mass of pinch runners available as well. Adalberto Mondesi, Brett Phillips, and Whit Merrifield would be fine to have on as a runner, along with the possible additions of minor leaguers like Nick Heath and Khalil Lee.
There is a good chance the Royals will find space on the roster for someone with running abilities as a specialist. While the roster is up to 30 for a few weeks, after a month, teams will be back down to the 26 man roster. While it may not be a priority for everyone, the Royals often like a run specialist in the dugout.
This new rule change might not affect everyday games, but if it comes down to a few games that matter, the Royals could have an advantage with their focus on speed.
The next few weeks should be interesting and there is likely to be tons of information about the upcoming season and how everything will look as spring training 2.0 gets underway. Be sure to follow along and check for updates on the KC Royals as they prepare for a 2020 season.