Predicting the KC Royals Spring Breakout roster

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KC Royals Spring Breakout position players

Catcher: Blake Mitchell, Carter Jensen

Royals fans have seen plenty of Carter Jensen this spring, as the Park Hill High School alum was a non-roster invitee this year. He is holding his own against MLB competition, continuing his trademark plate approach in the process.

Jensen and top 2023 draft pick Blake Mitchell should be no-brainers on this roster. Royals fans are quick to doubt Mitchell, a high school catcher with only 13 games in Arizona Complex League baseball. He is Kansas City's top prospect, according to outlets such as Baseball America and MLB.com. That has to count for something, right?

1st Base: Brett Squires, Devin Mann

Brett Squires does not get enough love at first from prospect evaluators. The undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma was the "rock in the middle of the lineup for Columbia" in 2023, according to Royals director of player development Mitch Maier. He has all the tools to be Kansas City's top first-base prospect.

Devin Mann can play all over the field, but first base needs him the most in this exhibition game. If Loftin or Garrett Hampson were not in the picture, Mann would likely be vying for an Opening Day roster spot. He will have to settle for organizational depth for now, waiting for an MLB opportunity when it comes.

2nd Base: Peyton Wilson, Javier Vaz

The Royals have plenty of middle-infield-or-centerfield options in the system, but Peyton Wilson and Javier Vaz are two enticing players. Both have electric speed, high-contact plate approaches, and SEC pedigrees to boot. Wilson has more to lose in 2024, risking being swept in with the next wave of middle infield prospects.

Vaz has already made a spring training highlight play, sealing a win over the Los Angeles Angels with a diving catch in foul territory. That is only a microcosm of the attitude, skill, and talent Vaz will bring to the Royals soon. This spring could catapult him into top-five Royals prospects territory.

Shortstop: Austin Charles, Daniel Vazquez

In a weird twist of fate, shortstop is the shallowest position for the Spring Breakout. The graduations of Bobby Witt Jr. and Maikel Garcia leave the farm system lacking top-tier shortstop talent, but the MLB benefits outweigh the costs. Austin Charles was a two-way talent in high school, playing shortstop and pitcher. He played third base mostly in 2023 for the Low-A Columbia Fireflies, but still logged 1662 innings at shortstop.

In the interest of getting the most talent on the field, Charles should start with Daniel Vazquez as his relief. Vazquez was a top international free agent a few years ago and remains a high-ceiling player in the minors. The Royals hope his tools turn into production in 2024, or his prospect status will disappear quickly.

3rd Base: Cayden Wallace, Trevor Werner

Two Royals top-30 prospects should man the hot corner against Milwaukee, parlaying long SEC careers into the Royals farm system. Wallace is a consensus top-five prospect in the Royals system, and he is not showing signs of slowing down. Kansas City drafted him 49th overall back in 2022. He has posted at least 100 wRC+ each season since, while playing great defense at third.

Werner, a former two-way player at Texas A&M, keeps his strong arm at third and off the mound, which benefited him in his professional debut season. Kansas City drafted him in the seventh round in 2023, and Werner proceeded to destroy Low-A pitching as the season concluded. He had a staggering 214 wRC+ and eight home runs in 31 games. He should start 2024 in High-A, but a few plate appearances in the Spring Breakout would be exciting.

Outfield: Gavin Cross, Tyler Gentry, Carson Roccaforte, Jared Dickey, Milo Rushford

Some names you know, some you don't. That is the whole point of the Spring Breakout right? All five of these players have long-term goals of patrolling Kauffman Stadium, albeit with varying investment levels. Cross is looking to bounce back from a rough 2023, one that ended early thanks to a tick-borne illness.

Gentry is currently on the 40-man roster but does not have a guaranteed Opening Day roster spot thanks to a crowded infield. He is ready to go but waits for an opportunity to arise. Two 2023 additions in Roccaforte and Dickey, plus 2022 18th-round pick Milo Rushford, round out the outfield.

Roccaforte and Dickey are both experienced college players, posting solid numbers after joining the organization. Rushford is a wild card, as the 20-year-old hasn't played above Arizona Complex League ball. He posted massive improvements from 2022 to 2023, including a .982 OPS and 145 wRC+ in 32 games.