KC Royals non-roster invitees with Opening Day chances

Kansas City Royals player Matt Duffy
Kansas City Royals player Matt Duffy / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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Outfielder Franmil Reyes

Speaking of lottery-ticket players, there is no NRI with more boom-or-bust potential than designated hitter Franmil Reyes.

Reyes is a reclamation project after bouncing around the league in the 2022 season. He struggled mightily at the plate, and his glove is not going to keep him on a team. The Royals signed him to a minor-league contract, hoping the 27-year-old could regain some magic from his 2019 and 2021 seasons. It is worth noting that Reyes hits amazingly in Kauffman Stadium, with a .312 batting average and .896 OPS in 19 games there. Not a bad statistical line at all.

Reyes is strictly a designated hitter at this point in his career. The Royals tried him in left field this spring, but the reaction and speed are just not there for Reyes to succeed. He has 308 games as a team's designated hitter, compared to less than 200 games in any outfield position. But the Royals could certainly use some right-handed power off the bench to complement their contact-centric lineup.

FanGraphs projects Reyes to only appear in 52 games but hit 10 home runs and have an above-average wRC+. Royals fans would be hard-pressed to complain about that line, albeit in limited action. Plus, he leads all Royals hitters with 12 hits this spring and carries a 1.250 OPS. Those stats are coming against MLB-level competition this spring, according to Baseball Reference.

It would be surprising for the Royals not to have Reyes on the Opening Day roster at this point. The potential return on investment is too great for a middling Royals team to ignore.

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