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

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UTL Garrett Hampson

Utilityman Garret Hampson was Kansas City's first major-league free agent signee following the 2023 season, setting a low bar ahead of an eventually exciting offseason. He was the team's only free agent addition in November 2023, proceeding a very busy December. The six-year MLB veteran was hardly an exciting acquisition but had versatile value for the Royals. But, his slow spring has to cause concern for Royals fans.

Hampson began his MLB career with the Colorado Rockies, but his one-year tenure with the Miami Marlins served as his breakout season. His .276/.349/.380 line was all above his career average, buoyed by strong production following the All-Star break. The 29-year-old parlayed his strong season into a one-year contract in Kansas City.

The Royals didn't sign Hampson for his bat, but rather for his speed and defensive fluidity. He logged at least 30 innings at six different defensive positions last season. He primarily played shortstop (217 innings) and center field (137 1/3 innings), two premium defensive positions. Despite what Hampson could do in 2024, his spring performance so far is concerning.

His .638 OPS is an acceptable mark for the spring, but his 32.3% strikeout rate is an issue that cannot carry over into the regular season. Hampson may be tweaking his swing, resulting in a more aggressive plate approach. But Hampson's power isn't great enough to offset such a high strikeout rate. If Hampson sticks with the MLB roster, hopefully he retains his 2023 form rather than his previous one.

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