3 KC Royals players who have surprised the most in spring training (so far)

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INF Nick Loftin

Sticking with position players named Nick, Nick Loftin has been pretty good in his own right this spring. Kansas City's second-best prospect is making a strong case for the Opening Day roster, thanks to his successes at the plate. He leads all Royals batters with a 227 wRC+ this spring while walking five times and striking out only twice. Many players are still knocking off the winter rust, but Loftin is ready to go it seems.

The infielder is battling every time he comes to the plate, rarely not making contact when he does swing. On the opposite of Pratto, Loftin's 4.5% swinging strike rate is amongst the best on the Royals' roster this spring. That 5/2 walk-to-strikeout ratio is second best amongst Kansas City players this spring, only trailing known batter Vinnie Pasquantino.

Loftin is in no-man land ahead of this season, thanks to the Royals signing two veteran utility options. Loftin came through the Royals system as a shortstop but easily plays all infield spots with sporadic work in the outfield. He exhibited that in his MLB debut, playing at each base at least four times in a 19-game span to close out the season.

Will Loftin's hot streak at the plate last? Honestly, I think it will. He was a 118 wRC+ batter in MLB action last year, so his hammering lesser competition in the spring is not surprising. The real question is if he can exhibit that plate approach at the MLB level. Garrett Hampson and Adam Frazier currently hold the utility roles on the 26-man roster, thanks to their veteran status and lack of minor-league options remaining.

Loftin is doing what he can to force himself onto the MLB roster, a la Maikel Garcia in 2023. His big league return is not a matter of if, but rather when.