3 pitchers who need great springs to make the KC Royals

They're good, but these hurlers must be especially so in spring camp.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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James McArthur could be in the running if the Royals need another pitcher

After his good major league debut last season — he went 1-0 with a concerning 4.63 ERA, but held opponents scoreless, didn't walk a batter, and struck out 19 across 16.1 innings in his last 12 games, some seemed ready to declare McArthur king of the Kansas City bullpen.

Yes, spectacular is what he was over the entirety of the season's final month, but dominating hitters for only 16.1 innings should get McArthur a shot at, not a guarantee of, an important spot in a bullpen so obviously in disrepair when the baseball winter began.

That shot seemed to be in store for McArthur in spring training ... until, that is, KC general manager J.J. Picollo's winter acquisitions of Will Smith, John Schreiber, Nick Anderson, Matt Sauer, and Chris Stratton transformed his bullpen from bumbling to promising, and one with far fewer openings (if any) than in spring trainings past. McArthur's "lock" on a seat in that pen disappeared.

So it is, then, that his Cactus League pitching must strongly suggest he wasn't one of the 2023 big league season's flashes in the pan; if he does that, he'll force the Royals to think twice about sending him back to the minors when they break camp, especially if Hernández isn't ready to open the 2024 campaign in Kansas City.

McArthur has a walk and a strikeout in the only inning he's worked this spring.

And the third pitcher who must do well this spring is...