6 KC Royals players fighting for their futures heading into 2024 season

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LHP Jake Brentz

Regular Kings of Kauffman readers may remember my expectations for reliever Jake Brentz hinged heavily on his spring training performance. Well, his control has been among the Cactus League's worst this spring and his Opening Day roster chances diminish with every appearance. If Brentz wants to recapture his 2021 potential, he needs to do so quickly.

Brentz once flashed immense potential, looking like a lefty flamethrower the Royals could rely on as a setup man. So what he was a bit erratic? He still struck out 27.3% of opposing batters in his debut season, limited hard contact, and fastball surpassing 100 MPH at times. His control didn't seem that important until it, well, wasn't there anymore.

Brentz's recovery from Tommy John surgery was fairly long, with a lat strain hampering it further. We heard about Brentz's health and returned velocity this spring, offering hope that the lefty was truly back. But his first four games this spring have only hurt his MLB future. He has walked an ugly 11 batters with nine earned runs in only 2 1/3 innings of action.

Brentz is not only fighting for a bullpen role; he is fighting for his career. He has been the worst reliever in Royals camp this season, at least judging by the in-game performance. I want to see how he bounces back, but every appearance makes me question if he bounces back at all.