The KC Royals have their hands full when it comes to outfielders. 2021 will likely be a time for them to see who will stick around, and who will go.
2021 is sure to bring some changes for the KC Royals. There will need to be some offensive changes, there may be a new player or two added in the offseason, and there will be a large group of prospects to go through in spring training, and likely throughout the season.
One area in particular that will need a long look is the outfield. With Alex Gordon gone, the Royals really take a hit to their outfield defense. Still, they have plenty of possible options to run out there every game.
With Brett Phillips gone and Hunter Dozier likely staying at first, the group thins a little, but not much. There is still Jorge Soler who needs some innings, Whit Merrifield, Bubba Starling, Franchy Cordero, Edward Olivares, Nick Heath, and a couple more prospects just knocking on the door.
The goal for the 2021 outfield will likely be to see who has the potential to stick around, who will sit the bench, and who, if any, will see their time with the Royals come to an end.
There will be some movement, but the Royals will need some help with this. Luckily, they may finally have their outfield (not so) secret weapon back on the field in 2021. No, it’s not a player, but instead, coach Rusty Kuntz.
Kuntz is known by many for his first base coaching abilities, but he is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to ensuring the Royals outfielders know what they are doing.
In a piece from Jeffrey Flannagan, he notes that Kuntz is an outfield guru. Because of Kuntz, the Royals were able to turn Alex Gordon from a third baseman into an outstanding defensive left fielder and also helped to push Lorenzo Cain to his defensive ceiling.
Kuntz was set to be back with the Royals as the first base coach for 2020, but due to COVID concerns, he decided to stay in Kansas City full time as an advisor. While he was still able to provide some insight, it’s not the same as what he could do on the field.
The hope, though, is that Kuntz will be back on the field for the 2021 season. With the mass of outfielders coming through the system, he is exactly what the Royals need. There are plenty of young players ready to be pushed to their highest points, and Kuntz is the man to get them there.
Not to mention, he is also good to have around to keep players’ spirits high, just watch this video of him riding his bike around spring training.
While there are plenty of issues to address before the 2021 season, having Kuntz back would likely provide some relief in that a large number of outfielders will be coached by one of the best in baseball.
It will be a difficult task for the Royals to try and replace Alex Gordon, but if anyone can find the outfielder to do it, it will be Rusty Kuntz.
The Royals have plenty of young outfielders to deal with in 2021. Hopefully, Rusty Kuntz will be back in action to help.