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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The Royals will have some power at the bottom of their lineup

Hitting seventh for Kansas City should be designated hitter Nelson Velázquez, who came to the organization last summer in the trade deadline deal that sent José Cuas to the Cubs. Playing in only his second big league season, Velázquez clubbed 14 homers in 40 games after the trade to finish the campaign with 17. His high strikeout rate (28.5 K% in 2023) will preclude him from batting higher in the lineup, but having his kind of power low in the order won't hurt.

Kyle Isbel will bat eighth. He's a superb defensive outfielder in whose hands center field is secure; his bat, though, has disappointed despite the promising 28-game .276 average he posted in 2021, his first big league season. Because he's slashed .226/.273/.361 since, fans won't see his name near the top of Quatraro's lineup cards.

Last in the order will be second baseman Michael Massey. Like Velázquez, he brings power to the bottom third of the lineup — he homered 15 times last season, a more than adequate total for a second-sacker. But as his .284 two-season OBP suggests, he doesn't get on base often enough to merit batting in the upper or middle thirds of the lineup.

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