KC Royals: Great spring training not enough for Kyle Isbel to make roster

With a little less than two weeks of spring training in the books, there are several prospects giving the KC Royals hope that this rebuild could be on the right track. Kyle Isbel is one of those prospects.

Kyle Isbel was one of the main talking points after Wednesday’s Cactus League game pitting the Kansas City Royals against the Padres, as the 23-year-old outfielder had an RBI double in the game and also showed off his defensive skills.

Providing defensive web gems in spring training isn’t enough for Isbel to make the Opening Day roster, however, as he’s hitting just .200.

It’s also important to note that the Royals are set in the outfield. They’ll have Alex Gordon in left field (which is where Isbel played on Wednesday), Whit Merrifield in center field, and Hunter Dozier in right field. There’s obviously a chance that Merrifield gets moved around on some days, but on those days, either Brett Phillips or Bubba Starling will take over in the outfield.

Isbel – a third round pick out of UNLV in 2018 – spent 2019 with two different minor league squads and slashed .233/.296/.397 with seven home runs and 30 RBI between the two squads. It’s not a bad thing for him to start the season in the minor leagues because he needs some fine-tuning at the plate.

His bat isn’t quite where the Royals would like it to be yet (though he was injured in 2019) and that – along with the plethora of outfielders already on the roster – is why Isbel needs to spend more time in the minors. Still, the fact that fans are becoming more aware of who Isbel is shows that he’s headed in the right direction.

Cody Rickman of KC Kingdom discussed Isbel prior to spring training and predicted that his estimated time of arrival to Kansas City would be sometime in 2021, noting that Isbel should start 2020 in AA-Northwest Arkansas and potentially get promoted to AAA-Omaha if all goes according to plan.

The newly-turned 23-year-old (he celebrated his birthday on Tuesday) provides a lot of potential for the Kansas City Royals moving forward and having an impressive spring training is a great sign of what’s to come for both him and the organization. We’re slowly, but surely starting to see some of the pieces for the future make their way through the farm system and that’s wonderful.

Kyle Isbel could be a big part of the KC Royals rebuild and this camp is proving just that. Let’s hope after another year in the minor leagues that he can replicate this performance next year, him being a part of the Royals in 2021 is a strong possibility.