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Revisiting Royals' projected Opening Day roster

Goins, Torres among those battling to make 25-man
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals break camp in less than two weeks, and they still have several key roster decisions to make.

Do they keep four or five outfielders? Five or six infielders? Seven or eight bullpen arms?

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals break camp in less than two weeks, and they still have several key roster decisions to make.

Do they keep four or five outfielders? Five or six infielders? Seven or eight bullpen arms?

We'll know the answers soon enough. But let's take a stab at what those decisions will be and forecast the Royals' Opening Day roster. Let's also compare it to our pre-camp predictions.

Catchers: Salvador Perez, Drew Butera
No changes here compared to the pre-camp projection.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Infield: Alcides Escobar, Whit Merrifield, Lucas Duda, Mike Moustakas, Cheslor Cuthbert, Ryan Goins
Our original prediction was that Eric Hosmer would be manning first base. The Royals made an offer but lost out to the Padres in the Hosmer sweepstakes. No way we could have forecasted the return of Moustakas (and we didn't) on a one-year deal. We also had Ramon Torres on the previous projected roster as the utility infielder, and he very well could be. But it seems it would make sense to have Torres continue to develop with regular at-bats at Triple-A Omaha, considering he does have options. If Goins makes it instead, the Royals will have to clear space on their 40-man roster for him.

Outfield: Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, Paulo Orlando, Jon Jay
Our previous forecast had Jorge Bonifacio, who is now suspended 80 games for a performance-enhancing substance violation, and Billy Burns, who is out of options. However, Burns cleared waivers and likely will head for Omaha. Jay was a Spring Training addition.

The Royals could carry five outfielders and squeeze Michael Saunders or Tyler Collins, both non-roster invitees, on the 25-man. But it will be tough enough to divide the at-bats among Gordon, Soler, Orlando and Jay. And Merrifield can play outfield in a pinch.

Video: Saunders on signing with Royals, competing for role

Rotation: Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Nate Karns, Jakob Junis
No changes.

Bullpen: Kelvin Herrera, Wily Peralta, Brandon Maurer, Kevin McCarthy, Brad Keller, Burch Smith, Brian Flynn, Blaine Boyer
The original forecast had Jesse Hahn, who is out of options. But Hahn has landed on the 60-day disabled list (UCL sprain). Boyer, a veteran who hasn't allowed a run in five outings this spring, would seem to be a logical replacement, though the Royals would have to make room on the 40-man roster for him. Flynn is out of options, which may give him the edge over left-hander Tim Hill, who has impressed the coaching staff. The toughest call is Smith, who, like Keller, was selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Smith has walked eight and given up seven earned runs in eight innings this spring. But Smith and his plus fastball have a high ceiling, and the Royals are in somewhat of a rebuild, so the nod could go to Smith.

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

Kansas City Royals