Three KC Royals bullpen hopefuls may not last the final week of spring training.
When the sun sets on the KC Royals’ Arizona spring training base tonight, little more than a week will remain before the club heads north for Opening Day. It’s a time for veterans to settle into daily routines for the grind to come, and for most non-roster invitees to savor their final days of big league atmosphere before heading to the Northwest Arkansas alternate training site or minor league camp.
Others still hoping to land one of the few remaining roster spots toil away. For them, every pitch, every at-bat, every defensive chance mean more than they have all spring. Everything is on the line.
For the Royals as a team, however, not much remains to be determined. Most everyday lineup and reserve spots are all but decided. Filling Kris Bubic’s rotation spot (he was sent out Thursday in a not-so-surprising move) isn’t imperative because the club won’t need a fifth starter until mid-April.
The bullpen, though, is overstocked, and with Wade Davis now almost certain to make the team, some relievers must go. For different reasons, three who’ve pitched more than most this spring may head the list.
Jake Brentz comes to mind, not because he’s pitched badly, but because he still needs some control work. Through Friday, Brentz’s seven Cactus League appearances tied him for the club high; he’d surrendered two runs and six hits in 5.2 innings, and struck out seven. His four walks, though, are too many, especially considering control has been his nemesis his entire minor league career. A superior fastball (he can hit 100 mph) and high strikeout rate (9.7 SO9) hasn’t much mitigated his career 6.5 BB9.
Brentz, then, a pitcher the KC Royals clearly like (he was a member of last season’s Player Pool), may find himself at the alternate site, or minor league camp, instead of Kansas City on Opening Day.
Who else might be moved?