It is hard to believe the KC Royals season is nearly over. Fans wait anxiously for Opening Day every year, but the first 30 games often prove the ultimate direction of that season. The Royals season has been tough to watch for the most part, but the results and individual performances in September offer some hope for next season.
These KC Royals should start 2024 with the major-league club.
I get it. It seems like the Royals perform well in September and October, just to lay an egg the following March and April. Frankly, signs point to this September being different. As of Sept. 23, the team's .791 OPS is the best in September since 2011, while the pitching's 58% winning percentage is the best since 2013. That harkens back to a better era of Kansas City baseball and gives me some hope.
No matter the team's performance, there are some players who did not start the season with Kansas City making their case for the club's 2024 roster. Let's look at the three with not only strong cases but also ones who made it during September.
C Logan Porter
Is it premature to say Logan Porter is an Opening Day player after only seven career games? Probably so. Is he the best backup option the Royals have behind the plate if the Royals move on from Salvador Perez this winter? Absolutely. That possibility seems too real to ignore, and Porter is making his case for next season.
The late-blooming Porter made his long-awaited MLB debut on Sept. 12. He quickly knocked out his first MLB hit and RBI, having a two-hit, two-RBI performance against the Chicago White Sox. He recorded his first MLB home run four days later against the Houston Astros too, achieving three career milestones as the season winds down. The Royals have used Porter exclusively as a catcher, a necessity with both Salvador Perez and Freddy Fermin likely done for the season.
Since making his debut, Porter has been an above-average hitter (.778 OPS and 112 wRC+) and reliable behind the plate. He may not be a long-term option behind the plate, but he provides an in-house option for catching depth next season. Fermin cooled off exponentially to end the 2023 season. The two will be competing for a spot behind Perez if he stays, or possibly a starting job if the veteran moves on this offseason.