3 KC Royals who've already won a roster spot next year thanks to their September

Opening Day 2024 is far off, but these three are ready.
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RHP James McArthur

James McArthur's first MLB appearance went about as horribly as one could have imagined. A common approach to life is not focusing on your lows but on how you respond to them. Royals fans should look at McArthur's response to his June 28 because he has been one of the team's best relievers since.

McArthur left a terrible first impression on Royals fans. He allowed seven earned runs on six hits in his MLB debut. The Royals traded for McArthur earlier this season, and trading for a player who gave that performance rightfully riled up fans. It would be more than a month between his MLB appearances, and McArthur came back with a vengeance.

Since Aug. 6, McArthur has looked like a dominant reliever. He has only allowed five earned runs in 18 1/3 innings of work. He effectively limits base runners, allowing 11 hits and only one walk in that span. His lone walk, plus 17 strikeouts, makes for an impressive 2.44 fielder independent pitching (FIP) and 2.45 ERA. His FIP has led the Royals pitching corps since Aug. 1, even Cole Ragans' 2.48 FIP.

McArthur does not look like the rattled rookie from three months ago. He is a plus player, as evident by a bullpen-leading .5 wins above replacement since Aug. 1. He recorded his first MLB win on Sept. 16 against the Houston Astros, tallying his first career save two days later against the Cleveland Guardians. McArthur is helping the Royals with their pitching efforts, whether it be as an opener, setup man, or closer. The Royals look smart now, trading for McArthur. The 2024 bullpen can certainly use McArthur, especially as the team looks for a new closer.