The KC Royals are giving their fans a lot to be happy about this spring training. The Royals are 15-5 in Cactus League action, and their +51 run differential leads all MLB teams this spring. Fans are quick to dismiss pre-Opening Day performances, especially after previous years of promising Royals springs. But there is a different feeling about this spring, with so many new faces contributing right away. Some of the Royals' biggest contributors this spring have been non-roster invitees, or NRIs, who are players with everything to lose this spring.
The KC Royals Opening Day roster is beginning to take shape. How will non-roster invitees factor in to the mix?
NRI is a designator that doesn't matter after Opening Day. It describes a player who is not on the team's 40-man roster but is invited to major league camp and competes for a roster spot. This could be journeyman free agents trying to stay in the league, upper-level minor-league players, and everyone in between. These players are usually like lottery tickets: it is great if they work out, but if not, the team is not out much.
The MLB Glossary, a great resource for MLB jargon, has a Royals-specific example regarding an NRI.
"In February 2015, the Kansas City Royals signed left-hander Franklin Morales to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Morales attended Spring Training with the club and won a roster spot with a strong performance. He went on to post a 3.18 ERA in 62 1/3 relief innings for the eventual World Series champions."- MLB Glossary
Morales is hardly a Royals legend but exemplifies the value an NRI could have on the major-league team. There are a handful of NRI players on the Royals right now, and a few could make the Opening Day roster. Who are these players, and how do they fit into Kansas City's 2023 plans?