This distressing season will end a week from Sunday when the KC Royals either beat or lose to the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. Not until March 28, when they host Minnesota for the 2024 season opener, will the Royals play another regular season game.
But while most of the Royals will depart Kansas City for their winter homes soon after the club's Oct. 1 season finale is in the books, two will have baseball left to play. Along with six minor league prospects who haven't yet seen the majors, Nick Loftin and Ángel Zerpa will head for the Arizona Fall League, where play begins Oct. 2. Joining Loftin and Zerpa with the Surprise Saguaros, a team comprised of players from the Toronto, Milwaukee, Texas, Cincinnati and Kansas City organizations, will be KC prospects Gavin Cross, Peyton Wilson, Rylan Kaufman, Beck Way, Jacob Wallace and Eric Cerantola.
Designed to provide top prospects with high-level, post-regular season competition, the AFL campaign will last from the first Monday in October until early November.
Two KC Royals major leaguers lead the organization's Fall League contingent
Loftin and Zerpa are, of course, the highest profile players the Royals are sending to Surprise. Loftin, whose versatility may come to rival former Royal Whit Merrifield's, has appeared at four positions and is slashing .372/.426/.535 in 13 games since being called to the majors for the first time Sept. 1. Six of his 16 hits have been for extra bases and he's driven in eight runs. Zerpa is 3-3 with a 4.82 ERA with the Royals after throttling Cleveland for over five innings Wednesday.
Who else is Kansas City sending to Arizona? Let's find out...