Royals Opening Day Roster Projection 1.0: Any surprises?

Kansas City's roster will be pretty interesting.
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KC Royals Bullpen

  • Will Smith
  • John Schreiber
  • Matt Sauer
  • Jake Brentz
  • Chris Stratton
  • Nick Anderson
  • Carlos Hernández

The Royals have more than their share of relievers vying for bullpen jobs, but three are definite locks — Will Smith, who's preparing for his second Kansas City tour of duty, should be the closer; veteran John Schreiber, picked up in a trade with Boston earlier this month; and Rule 5 acquisition (from the Yankees) Matt Sauer, who the Royals must, to sidestep losing him to New York or another club, keep on the roster all season. (Some time on the Injured List is permitted).

Offseason acquisitions Chris Stratton and Nick Anderson are solid candidates to break camp with the major league club: Stratton is out of options, and the Royals probably didn't get Anderson for minor league depth. Despite a poor performance in Friday's Cactus League opener, Brentz will almost certainly open the season with Kansas City because without him, the Royals risk beginning the campaign with no lefties in the bullpen. Look for Hernández to round out the Opening Day relief corps — assuming he overcomes a recent shoulder concern, he'll get one more chance to prove himself.

KC Royals Infield

  • Vinnie Pasquantino (1B)
  • Michael Massey (2B)
  • Bobby Witt Jr. (SS)
  • Maikel GarcÍa (3B)
  • Adam Frazier (UTIL)
  • Salvador Perez (C)
  • Freddy Fermin (C)

Bobby Witt Jr. is the most secure Royal of all and returns to the shortstop position he played so well last season. Vinnie Pasquantino shows no signs of the season-ending shoulder injury he suffered in 2023; his return to first base could prove invaluable. Only a catastrophic spring at the plate will prevent Massey from keeping the second base job ... at least to start the season. And despite some fan sentiment to move him to second, Maikel GarcÍa will be back at third.

Salvador Perez is, of course, No. 1 behind the plate. Freddy Fermin, and not recent signee Austin Nola, will back up Perez; Nola is playing on a major league contract, but has a minor league option left, giving KC the luxury of keeping promising Fermin in the big leagues while having an excellent catcher in reserve at Triple-A Omaha.

Adam Frazier figures to be the primary infield backup. He's might be bit more versatile than Garrett Hampson ... but more on Hampson in a moment.