3 worst-case scenarios for the 2024 KC Royals

A trio of possible nightmares for Kansas City.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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No. 2: Pitcher Cole Ragans turns into a pumpkin

Ragans's situation is similar to Witt's. The Royals received Ragans in last June's Aroldis Chapman trade with Texas, and he became the breakout star of their pitching staff with a 5-2 record in 12 starts, a 2.64 ERA, 1.074 WHIP, and 89 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. He was named AL Pitcher of the Month for August.

Naturally, expectations are high for Ragans' 2024. But the bar isn't quite as high for him as it is for Witt — Ragans doesn't have to be a superstar, but the Royals desperately need him to be a solid, winning starting pitcher.

Newcomers Wacha and Lugo should take some pressure off of Ragans. The Royals have high hopes for them, too, for Brady Singer, and for Kris Bubic when he returns from Tommy John Surgery. And they haven't given up hope on Daniel Lynch IV.

But Wacha and Lugo are signed to short-term deals. The Royals are counting on them to improve the team this year, but if they underachieve, it won't be a crushing blow to the team's future. Singer, Bubic, and Lynch have always been up and down, and it doesn't seem likely any of them will become an ace (but they're still young). Ragans, on the other hand, has given fans reason to dream that he's the ace of the future.

But it will be a crushing blow if he has a poor season.