KC Royals Roster: Who'll make the cut for Opening Day?

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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INFIELD: It's an inexperienced infield for the KC Royals ... almost

It might not prove to be the best arrangement, but the Royals will open with three second-year infielders, two of whom, Michael Massey and Vinnie Pasqantino, haven't played a full major league season, and a veteran who isn't the best available at his position.

Such is life, though, when infield decisions depend on where Bobby Witt Jr. and Hunter Dozier play, which will be shortstop and third base to begin the campaign. Witt wasn't as good at shortstop as he was at third base last year, while Dozier's never been a particularly good defender of the hot corner and hasn't hit well since 2019.

The Royals would be better off with Witt at third and Maikel Garcia at short; Garcia, KC's third-best prospect per MLB Pipeline, is slashing .355/.375/.516 this spring with a homer and six RBIs in 13 games, and hit .318 in nine games for the Royals and .285 with 11 home runs in the minors last year, and Witt is simply better than Dozier. But Garcia's option to the minors Wednesday (he needs to play every day), means Dozier will play third because that's where the Royals, perhaps giving him one more chance to live up to his overpriced $25 million contract, want him to play.

As we've said before in this space, Massey earned the second base job last season and will start there next week. Ditto Vinnie Pasquantino, but at first base, where he'll play until Nick Pratto proves he's ready to improve his distressing .184/.271/.386 2022 Kansas City line. (Dozier can fill in at first base if necessary).

Matt Beaty and Matt Duffy have excelled on minor league contracts this spring (more on both in a moment), but four-season Royal Nicky Lopez's better defense and greater versatility make him the better choice for utility infielder.