Spring training is underway in Surprise, Arizona, and something noticeable about the Kansas City Royals’ roster is that they have a lot of utility players who could make the Opening Day roster. This could be both good and bad.
The good is obviously that it gives the Kansas City Royals more flexibility and the ability to plug and play different guys each day. If injuries happen, there’s more than likely a guy who can step up and play the position while the initial starter is rehabbing.
The biggest name that obviously comes to mind is Whit Merrifield, who initially played second base for the Royals, but was then moved to the outfield. The Royals have eight players on their 40-man roster who can play the outfield and another being moved out there this season is Hunter Dozier.
Dozier initially played first and third base before being moved to right field for the 2020 season (more than likely anyway) due to the acquisition of Maikel Franco, who will be at third base almost every day this season barring something unusual.
Touching on the outfield depth some more, I mentioned both Merrifield and Dozier, but there’s also Ryan McBroom, who might not even be a starter for the team. McBroom is battling for the first base job with Ryan O’Hearn and if he doesn’t get it, he’ll be the backup there and also a backup outfielder.
There’s also Matt Reynolds, who is on a minor league deal with the team and can provide depth in the 2020 season (assuming he makes the roster). Reynolds has played third base and shortstop during his time in the major leagues and is likely going to be the temporary solution at shortstop if Adalberto Mondesi isn’t healthy come Opening Day.
Having a few versatile players isn’t a bad thing – In fact, it’s a good thing to have guys who can fill in different spots on the team. The issue with having a whole team of utility guys is that plugging different players into different roles every day makes it harder for a team to find consistency. For a team like the Royals – who are still in rebuild mode – consistency is key for these younger players.
When the Royals went to back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, a large part of it was because everyone had their role and knew what to do on a daily basis. Flipping the lineup and positions up every day makes achieving that more difficult for sure.
Hopefully having this many utility players on the roster doesn’t hinder the Kansas City Royals from finding consistency in their lineup in 2020 and beyond.