3 KC Royals players who could be first-time All-Stars in 2024

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LHP Cole Ragans

After five strikeouts in two innings of spring training work, the Cole Ragans hype train is hitting breakneck speed. He was a Royals revelation after coming from the Texas Rangers and Ragans is still in the running for the Opening Day start. No matter if he makes that start or not, Ragans has the exciting pitch arsenal that fits in the All-Star Game.

If there was an All-Star team for the season's second half, Ragans would have been a probable selection. He made his Royals debut on July 15 and proceeded to rattle off 12 starts with a 2.64 ERA and 11.2 K/9. Ragans even earned AL Pitcher of the Month honors in August, a rare occurrence for any Royals pitcher. His 2.4 fWAR since his first Royals start tied for the third-best mark in MLB, and caught the eye of MLB fans everywhere.

Kansas City made plenty of additions this offseason, but Ragans looks to be the rotation's future. The 26-year-old lefty sounded confident and cool, speaking on how far Kansas City's 2024 squad can go.

"I think we have every chance to make the playoffs," Ragans said after his spring training start. "You see the moves we made all offseason with the arms, the bats, stuff like that. Nobody's taking it lightly. We are ready to win."

Whether Kansas City racks up wins or not, Ragans projects to be one of the AL's better starters. Depth Charts projections give him 2.5 fWAR in 2024, tied for the 17th-most in the AL. While that is a great mark, his 2023 starts prove Ragans can exceed those expectations. He will have a big hill to climb for an All-Star nod, but it is not impossible.