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Royals keeping outfielder Bonifacio in focus

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPIRSE, Ariz. -- As one scans through the Royals' outfield depth chart, you have to search pretty far down the list to get to Jorge Bonifacio.

Beyond starters Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jorge Soler, that depth chart includes Paulo Orlando, Brandon Moss, Peter O'Brien, Billy Burns and Terrance Gore.

SURPIRSE, Ariz. -- As one scans through the Royals' outfield depth chart, you have to search pretty far down the list to get to Jorge Bonifacio.

Beyond starters Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jorge Soler, that depth chart includes Paulo Orlando, Brandon Moss, Peter O'Brien, Billy Burns and Terrance Gore.

At some point after that you get to Bonifacio, the Royals' No. 12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. But that hardly means Bonifacio, who started Saturday in a 7-6 loss to the Indians, is being overlooked.

Video: Top Prospects: Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Royals

"He's not a forgotten guy," manager Ned Yost said. "We look at him very comfortably. If we have an injury or something, we know he is there. If we have to bring him up, we know he'll be fine, and we'll be fine.

"I feel like he's ready to play in the big leagues. He just needs the opportunity."

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Bonifacio, 23, really caught Yost's eyes during last year's Spring Training. Yost loves the skill set.

"He's to the point now that in all phases of his game he could compete up here," Yost said. "He gives you a good at-bat, he's got power to all fields. He's a big guy but very athletic. He can move. He makes all the plays."

Indeed, in the eyes of the organization, Bonifacio is an ascending player.

Bonifacio hit .277 at Triple-A Omaha in 2016 with an .812 OPS. He hit 19 home runs with 86 RBIs.

And Bonifacio hasn't slowed down one bit this camp. He's hitting .450 with three doubles, a home run and five RBIs.

"I think it's going good," Bonifacio said. "I think I'm learning the more I'm around these guys."

The Royals signed Bonifacio out of the Dominican Republic when he was just 16. They've watched him grow, watched his body fill out. He is now 6 foot 1, 195 pounds.

"He's big," Yost said, "but like I said, he can move around. It's not like a ball is hit to Boni and you say 'Oh, no.' He can make all the plays. He's got a strong arm. And he gives you a good at-bat."

But it's a waiting game for Bonifacio. The Royals' corner outfielders -- Gordon and Soler -- are here long-term, and he understands that.

"I just have to wait for my opportunity," Bonifacio said. "And I have to be ready when it comes, so I have to keep getting better."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Jorge Bonifacio