KC Royals: Big names highlight Alternate Site roster

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Bubba Starling
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals assigned some familiar players to their Alternate Training Site.

A certain, but limited, sense of normalcy has returned to the KC Royals and the rest of major league baseball. A complete, uninterrupted spring training is in the books, a scheduled full regular season is underway, and at least some fans are in the stands.

But not all of last year’s pandemic-related alterations are gone. Health and safety protocols still abound, positive tests have hit at least two teams, and the delayed minor league season means clubs again have Alternate Training Sites.

The Royals’ Northwest Arkansas Double-A affiliate is hosting their ATS; over two dozen players are there playing intrasquad games and, occasionally, other ATS clubs. And there are some big, familiar names in KC’s camp.

Not surprisingly, players who’ll probably populate Triple-A Omaha’s roster dominate the Royals’ ATS, which is scheduled to close when minor league action resumes next month. Included in the group are two once-promising prospects who simply won’t give up, and the organization just won’t let go.

Yes, Bubba Starling and Eric Skoglund endure. Kansas City’s first round draft pick in 2011, Starling finally made it to the majors in 2019 and, with a .215 average, almost immediately disproved the notion he’d hit big league pitching, then erased almost all remaining doubt by hitting .169 last season. Despite batting .223 this spring, and the club’s talented group of younger outfielders, he’s mysteriously getting another chance.

Skoglund’s case is similar. He’s 2-11 with a 6.67 ERA in parts of three Kansas City seasons. Perhaps the Royals saw something in the 1.2 scoreless innings he threw in two spring games.

What other familiar names appear on the ATS roster?