Who hits where if the KC Royals opened the season today?

It's not too early to think about how Kansas City will line up in 2024.

Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/GettyImages
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It's Vinnie Pasquantino, Hunter Renfroe, and MJ Melendez in the middle

Some may believe Perez should hit cleanup, but first baseman Pasquantino is the batter choice, especially if he's fully recovered from the shoulder surgery that ruined his 2023 season. Batting fourth is something Pasquantino is accustomed to: it's where he's hit most often in his short, parts-of-two-seasons career, and where he's been quite successful with a .323/.404/.536 line, 10 of his 19 career home runs, and 25 RBI in 54 games.

Figure on newcomer Hunter Renfroe batting next. That he regularly manages at least 20 home runs proves he has the power to bat fifth. Nice, of course, would be the prospective right fielder improving on his career .239 average, but that won't stop Quatraro from using him in the fifth spot, and the roster doesn't boast many high-average hitters.

Left fielder MJ Melendez will close out the middle of the order. Although he led the minor leagues with 41 homers in his award-winning 2021 season, the 18 he clubbed as a rookie two seasons ago and 16 he hit in 2023 don't commend him to the fourth or fifth spots in the lineup; nor does his .227 two-year average. But behind Renfroe and ahead of the three Royals who'll hit seventh, eighth, and ninth is where he should be.

And speaking of those final three spots...