Just a year ago, the KC Royals boasted four Rawlings Gold Glove candidates. Up for honors as the best American League defender at their positions were catcher Salvador Perez, left fielder Andrew Benintendi, second baseman Whit Merrifield, and center fielder Michael A. Taylor.
Perez and Merrifield didn’t win, but Benintendi and Taylor ended up snaring their first Gold Gloves.
Now, three of those four 2021 nominees have Gold Glove shots again—current Royal Taylor joins former teammates Benintendi and Merrifield as candidates for this year’s awards. All 2022 finalists were announced Thursday.
Taylor is up against Cedric Mullins of Baltimore and Myles Straw of Cleveland for the center field award. Benintendi, traded from Kansas City to the Yankees in July, faces Cleveland rookie Steven Kwan and Brandon Marsh, who split the season between the Angels and Phillies, for left field honors. Merrifield, who the Royals dealt to Toronto just before the trade deadline, will battle the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu and the Angels’ Luis Rengifo for the utility player award.
MLB Pipeline recently honored a trio of KC Royals rookies with awards.
While Gold Glove winners won’t be announced until Nov. 1, three members of the 2022 Royals have already been honored. Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, and MJ Melendez have been named to MLB Pipeline’s All-Rookie teams.
Infielder Witt, a viable candidate for the Baseball Writers Association of America’s Rookie of the Year award, and Pasquantino made the American League first team (Witt at third base and Pasquantino at DH), and Melendez made the second as a catcher.
Witt hit 20 homers and 31 doubles, stole 30 bases, and batted .254. Despite not being called up from the minors until late June, Pasquantino homered 10 times and slashed .295/.383/.450 with a 135 OPS+, and Melendez clubbed 18 homers and drove in 62 runs in 129 games.
Two traded KC Royals aren’t on their current clubs’ MLB Playoffs rosters.
The rosters of teams fortunate enough to make the MLB Playoffs aren’t set in stone. Clubs can, and almost always do, have different rosters for each postseason series, and provisions exist for replacing injured players.
Former Royal Andrew Benintendi, traded to New York just days before the regular season trade window closed, missed the ALDS—suffering from a fractured hamate bone since early September, he wasn’t and still isn’t yet ready to play and didn’t make the roster for New York’s ALCS battle with Houston.
And because catcher Cam Gallagher, assigned to the minors after being dealt to the Padres with little time left before the July trade deadline expired, never made it to San Diego, he isn’t eligible for the postseason.
Stay tuned for more Royals offseason news.