3 outfielders the KC Royals should consider protecting

(Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The deadline for the KC Royals to establish their 40-man roster for Rule 5 Draft purposes is Tuesday afternoon and, with 39 spots taken as of Saturday, General Manager J.J. Picollo and his staff should be working hard deciding who they’ll add, and who’ll be cut, before the deadline.

Part of their work is done. Added to the 40-man roster Thursday were Adalberto Mondesi, Richard Lovelady, Jake Brentz, and Ángel Zerpa, all of whom had been on the Injured List, and Samad Taylor. Barring some unforeseen imminent trades, their spots on the 40-man protect them from being taken by other clubs during the Dec. 7 draft.

And while many on Kansas City’s current 40-man are locks to remain there, some may find themselves exposed to the draft by Tuesday evening. Count Amir Garrett, Wyatt Mills, Collin Snider, Ryan O’Hearn and Brent Rooker among players KC might seriously consider cutting or trading to open up 40-man space, and Brad Keller, Kyle Isbel, and Hunter Dozier might be in some danger.

More. 3 Royals who ought to be on the bubble. light

What players not on the 40-man might KC protect by Tuesday? Three outfielders come to mind.

The KC Royals might want to consider protecting outfielder John Rave.

Many Kansas City fans may not be familiar with John Rave. But that doesn’t mean the Royals won’t add him to their 40-man roster by Tuesday.

Boston drafted, but didn’t sign, Rave in 2016, but KC took him in 2019’s fifth round. Rave inked a deal with the Royals, played Rookie and Low-A ball later that summer, then missed the 2020 COVID-canceled minor league season.

But he hit 14 homers and drove in 51 runs with an .805 OPS at High-A Quad Cities in 2021 and, in a 2022 season split between Double-A and Triple-A, added another 16 homers and 79 RBIs in 122 games and slashed .256/.353/.412. He also stole 23 bases.

Rave needs to improve on his .249 career average. But he clearly has power, his .346 minor league OBP suggests he finds his way on base, he has speed, his glove is adequate, and he’s a lefthanded hitter, all of which make him worth keeping, at least for a little while longer.