Royals Opening Day Roster Projection 1.0: Any surprises?

Kansas City's roster will be pretty interesting.

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Four games into his club's Cactus League schedule, KC Royals manager Matt Quatraro's lineups and in-game substitutions have been the personnel mish-mash so typical of spring training. Because Kansas City must establish its 26-man active roster no later than Opening Day morning, facilitating the crucial decisions the team must make between now and then, and with the exception of those Royals lucky enough to have spots already locked in, the second-year KC skipper must get as many looks as possible at players in the running for the balance of those first-game slots.

So far, Quatraro is doing precisely what's required of him. He used 18 position players in each of the first four games and deployed nine pitchers in Friday's spring opener, eight Saturday, seven Sunday, and another seven in Monday's 6-0 victory over the Cubs.

Based far more on pre-spring considerations than on those four Cactus League contests, though, what's known is this: catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., third baseman Maikel Garcia, right fielder Hunter Renfroe, and center fielder Kyle Isbel, will all be in the Opening Day lineup.

But what about the pitching staff and the rest of the roster? What pieces will ultimately complete the puzzle?

Battle for fifth Kansas City rotation spot looms

Royals starting rotation

  • Michael Wacha
  • Seth Lugo
  • Brady Singer
  • Cole Ragans
  • Jordan Lyles
  • Daniel Lynch IV

Consider four spots in Kansas City's rota spoken for when the season starts. The Royals didn't acquire Michael Wacha for the bullpen, Seth Lugo is certain to join the rotation, Brady Singer isn't a reliever, and Cole Ragans, who struck out five in two innings against the Angels Sunday, might turn into an ace.

That leaves the fifth spot open for the moment; who ultimately fills it will be one of the club's more difficult spring decisions. Will Quatraro pick Jordan Lyles, he of the miserable individual 2023 season, or Daniel Lynch IV, a pitcher the Royals have always viewed as a starter and has the potential to be a good one? Time will, as they say, tell.

Moving on...