4 Royals on Thin Ice Entering Spring Training

Jordan Lyles posted a 6.28 ERA in 31 starts in 2023
Jordan Lyles posted a 6.28 ERA in 31 starts in 2023 / Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Drew Waters - OF

Waters' profile is one that could roam the outfield for Kansas City for years to come. He's shown power, strong defensive ability and a patient approach at the plate, all tools that made him the No. 1 prospect in the Braves' organization before the Royals poached him in a trade.

However, he's struggled to put everything together for long stretches. He hit just .228 in 98 games with Kansas City in 2023 and the Royals suddenly have a lot of outfielders to evaluate.

As pointed out by our friends at Kings of Kauffman, Waters is locked into a heated battle. Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Isbel and MJ Melendez are projected to start in outfield with fellow outfielder Nelson Velasquez serving as DH. Dairon Blanco and Tyler Gentry are exciting prospects in their own right, giving Waters at least six players he's theoretically competing with.

Isbel has his own offensive issues to work through and no prospect is a sure-thing, though Waters' place on the Opening Day roster is not the lock we thought it would be by now.

Unless he showcases an improved ability to consistently put the ball in play, he may open the year in AAA Omaha to work on his approach. Waters ranked well-below average in whiff percentage and strikeout percentage in 2023, two areas I hope he's worked on in the offseason.

I want Waters to stick and roam the outfield for years to come. Here's hoping he does.

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