5 KC Royals who’ll be the difference between success, failure

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Starter Cole Ragans

There was no hotter and more surprising Royals starter down the stretch than the newly acquired Cole Ragans. Now, he has a chance to prove he can be an elite pitcher across a whole season.

Ragans had a historic start with the Royals last season, performing like an ace in the season's latter half. However, the same could be said of Brady Singer, and Royals fans know how that turned out. Ragans has plenty of expectations for 2024, starting by being the team's Opening Day starter.

Any team's top pitcher plays a massive role in their team's success or failure. Ragans' role in Kansas City feels even bigger than most, though. His 2024 season will be a prime example of how the Royals organization has changed for the better or not. Remember, the majority of fans reacted poorly to Cole Ragans being the primary return for Aroldis Chapman? That opinion changed quickly once he made his Royals debut, but the negative reaction was warranted because Kansas City has a history of losing trades.

Ragans continuing to dominate in 2024 fuels optimism in the scouting department while giving Kansas City their long-awaited ace. Like Pasquantino, Ragans can carry the rotation far and protect a middling bullpen in 2024.