KC Royals fans, a resilient group capable of surviving even the 106-loss season the franchise just gave them, have reason to be cautiously optimistic with Opening Day less than 100 days away. Well-chronicled by now are the potentially game-changing free agent signings and trades engineered by a front office committed to transforming the team for the better, and an owner willing to spend some money to attain that goal.
General manager J.J. Picollo's shrewdly executed moves instantly improved his club. With Michael Wacha, Seth Lugo, Will Smith, and Chris Stratton all coming aboard, Kansas City's starting rotation and bullpen will certainly be better; the addition of Hunter Renfroe strengthens the outfield. And the Royals' sudden plunge into the player market suggests they may not be done refining their roster for 2024.
That market, though, teeming as it still is with competent free agents and attractive trade targets, isn't the only player pool the Royals can tap to build a club that won't repeat the awful 2023 season — although Kansas City's farm system deserves its present poor reputation, it still boasts some prospects, including highly-touted outfielder Tyler Gentry, who might help the big club in 2024.
Some, of course, seem destined to reach Kauffman Stadium, but may best be considered dark horses for 2024 promotions. Here are three of them. (We'll soon have more on other KC prospects who could reach the big leagues this season).
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Anthony Veneziano
We recently wrote here about Anthony Veneziano, a talented Triple-A pitcher the Royals called up last September and used out of the bullpen for 2.1 innings. He didn't give up any runs, and probably benefitted from the all-to-short experience necessitated more by other pitchers' injuries than his own readiness for the majors.
But Veneziano remains a prospect worthy of watching and, at some point, a return to Kansas City that could happen sometime this coming season.
Who else has at least an outside chance to make it to The K in 2024?