SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's March 6 and the Royals still have 29 pitchers in camp.That's a lot to sort through for Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland, not that he minds."It's the deepest group we've had since I've been here," Eiland said. "We're going to have some tough decisions coming down
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's March 6 and the Royals still have 29 pitchers in camp.
That's a lot to sort through for Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland, not that he minds.
"It's the deepest group we've had since I've been here," Eiland said. "We're going to have some tough decisions coming down to the end. It's a good problem to have.
"We're going to have to sit down and have some long conversations."
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Here's the issue: The Royals have four starters set and six bullpen spots essentially taken already.
From that impressive herd of pitchers, the Royals have only one, maybe two bullpen jobs open. That's it.
And right now, the group of pitchers has been so good, there barely has been any separation.
"The only separation is maybe experience," Eiland said. "But we have some kids, some young men, who have bright futures. I also have to caution myself that it's March.
"But March or not, you can't turn a blind eye to the talent here."
The veterans still in camp battling for bullpen spots include Al Alburquerque, Jonathan Sanchez, Brandon League, Bobby Parnell and Chris Withrow. The group also includes Peter Moylan, who is away for the World Baseball Classic, and Michael Maness, who is being brought along slowly as he rehabs from elbow surgery.
Eiland also has been impressed with his crop of young pitchers.
"[Scott] Alexander and [Kevin] McCarthy are throwing the ball tremendously," Eiland said. "I hate to start listing names because you end up missing a few. But you got [Jake] Junis and [Eric] Stout, [Yender] Caramo, [Luke] Ferrell.
"I've been so impressed with all of our young guys. [Miguel] Almonte is coming on and showing better command. [Malcolm] Culver is a guy who can throw 93-94 to both sides of the plate. Good slider and changeup.
"We know about [Josh] Staumont. He's got power. It's all there. Long term he's a starter, but he is a guy who could come in the back of the 'pen for us. And you have another power guy in [Andrew] Edwards. It's just been really fun to watch."
In fact, entering Monday, the Royals led the Cactus League in team ERA at 3.52 --and that included an eight-run inning allowed against the Reds on Saturday.
"Like I said, we'll have some tough decisions at the end," Eiland said.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.