4 KC Royals hitters who are not helping themselves during spring training

Christian Petersen/GettyImages
2 of 4

OF Hunter Renfroe

Signing with the Royals back on Dec. 19, Christmas came early for outfielder Hunter Renfroe. His first post-arbitration deal came from Kansas City, a two-year deal worth $13 million with a player option for 2025. The Mississippi native's 2023 season was not a great one, split between the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds. He needed a strong spring to dispel Royals fans' concerns, but that is not the case in Surprise.

First of all, Renfroe was late to the Arizona party. He did not play his first spring game until March 1, suffering from back tightness. Renfroe downplayed the injury to Kansas City Star reporter Jaylon Thompson ($) following his spring training debut.

“It was like a little spasm or something probably from dehydration a little bit from out here in this dry weather,” Renfroe said. “But nothing too serious, just a little maintenance issues. I’m trying to stay hydrated. Doing better now and feel great.”

He looked great in that first game, drawing a walk on his first plate appearance and hitting "two well-hit balls to left," according to Royals manager Matt Quatraro. But little has gone right for Renfroe since then. He only has two hits in 20 plate appearances, posting a .368 OPS and no extra-base hits. The 32-year-old righty has had an above-average bat across his career, so seeing such a cold start in the desert is not a great sign.

The extra-base hits are Renfroe's calling card since he made his MLB debut back in 2016. He has six consecutive seasons with at least 50 extra-base hits, tied for the most in MLB. He squeaked over that mark with 51 in 2023 during a relatively down season. But, now a seasoned veteran, Renfroe has a clear role in Kansas City's right field. His contract and experience nearly guarantee his Opening Day spot. The question is if he will be 100% ready and healthy for his regular-season Royals debut.