3 KC Royals who will make the 2024 Opening Day roster but won’t last the season

So many things can change between March and September.

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UTL Garrett Hampson

When the Royals signed Garrett Hampson this offseason, it was considered a lackluster opening move. The value was there, especially after his 2023 season, where he posted a 101 wRC+ and .729 OPS. Hampson was not going to be a game-changing addition to any MLB roster, but the Royals signing him to a one-year deal worth $2 million is a move that feels apt for Kansas City. He had a career year last season, but he will need to prove it was not an outlier in 2024.

Hampson's path to staying in Kansas City relies not only on him performing well but also on others not meeting expectations. Hampson's calling card is that he can play in the middle infield and outfield, relieving starters like Witt and centerfielder Kyle Isbel. But many prospective players could be vying for Hampson's roster spot later this summer.

Players like outfielder Drew Waters and utilityman Nick Loftin are the first two players that come to mind. They will likely start the season in Triple-A Omaha, as they have minor-league options remaining. They, and any others like them, will have to play their way onto the Royals roster after the season starts. Hampson's defensive versatility gives him a leg up on the competition, but he is not the only player who can play multiple positions.

I am rooting for the late-blooming utilityman in Kansas City, his third team in as many seasons. He has elite speed, an asset that will do damage in the Royals lineup. But that only works if he produces at the plate. Hampson will need to be an on-base machine, keeping the lineup moving as he did for the Miami Marlins last season. If the bat falters at all, his lack of options will spell his doom in Kansas City.