(Editor’s Note: The original version of this story has been edited to add former KC Royals pitchers Will Smith and Jesse Chavez to the list of former Kansas City players named to Atlanta’s World Series roster. We regret any confusion the original story may have caused).
Although the KC Royals haven’t made their way to the World Series since 2015, a quartet of former Royals major leaguers cracked the roster for one of this season’s Fall Classic teams.
After battling COVID during the National League Championship Series, Jorge Soler is on the Atlanta Braves’ roster. Soler could have returned to action last week, but the Braves couldn’t find a place for him to immediately fit in their starting lineup with Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, and Eddie Rosario filling the outfield spots.
With the first two Series games being played in American League representative Houston’s park, however, expect Atlanta to slot in Soler as its designated hitter, and to use him in the leadoff spot.
Atlanta also added former KC speedster Terrance Gore, who appeared in the National League Division Series but not the NLCS, to the roster. He spent the regular season at Triple-A Gwinett and will be used as a pinch runner.
Also making the Braves’ roster is reliever Will Smith, who went a combined 8-10 as a starter and reliever for the Royals in 2012-2013. He’s 2-0 with four saves in seven scoreless 2021 postseason appearances so far.
Another former KC reliever, Jesse Chavez, is also on Atlanta’s Series roster. He came out of the bullpen 27 times across 2010 and 2011 and was 2-3 with a 6.95 ERA. He pitched twice against Milwaukee in this season’s NLDS, then three times against the Dodgers in the NLCS, without giving up a run.
What kind of regular seasons did the 4 former KC Royals have in 2021?
Since his underwhelming performance in the first half of the 2021 season for Kansas City, Soler turned things around with the Braves, slashing .269/.358/.524 with an .882 OPS, 14 home runs and 33 RBIs. He also struck out less and posted a good .358 OBP.
Gore, meanwhile, slashed .232/.361/.319 with a .680 OPS and 18 stolen bases at Gwinett. Of course, Atlanta will look to his legs, not his bat, and try to capitalize on his speed on the bases (354 stolen bases across the major and minor leagues throughout his career). He also recorded the fourth-highest sprint speed according to BaseballSavant at 30.2 mph when he was with the Royals in 2019.
Smith was 3-7 with a 3.44 ERA and 37 saves for the Braves. He also led the majors in games finished with 60 and averaged over 11 strikeouts per nine innings.
Chavez, now a veteran of 14 big league seasons, appeared in 30 games for Atlanta, going 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA.
Former KC Royals Jorge Soler, Terrance Gore, Will Smith and Jesse Chavez all made the Atlanta Braves’ World Series roster and hope to make an impact against the Astros in the 2021 Fall Classic, which starts tonight.