Here's the Royals' 2024 Opening Day roster

March 28th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- The 2024 baseball season has arrived, and the Royals’ Opening Day roster has been sewn up ahead of today's game vs. the Twins.

To illustrate the overhaul that the Royals underwent this offseason with their roster, the 26-man roster includes only seven players who made the Opening Day roster last season, including pitchers Jordan Lyles and Brady Singer, catcher Salvador Perez, infielders Vinnie Pasquantino and Bobby Witt Jr. and outfielders Kyle Isbel and MJ Melendez.

Nine Royals made the Opening Day roster this season for the first time, including pitchers Alec Marsh, James McArthur, Matt Sauer and Angel Zerpa, catcher Freddy Fermin, infielders Maikel Garcia and Nick Loftin and outfielders Dairon Blanco and Nelson Velázquez.

Manager Matt Quatraro announced the final roster spots at the end of camp earlier this week, putting the final pieces in place:

Catcher (2): ,
The Captain returns for his 13th season in the Majors and will anchor the middle of the Royals’ lineup. Last year, Fermin showed he was more than capable of being the Royals’ backup backstop. It’s not likely the Royals will have Austin Nola as a third catcher, instead using him as experienced depth in Triple-A.

First baseman (1):
Right shoulder surgery ended his season early last year, and Pasquantino is ready for a fresh start. As for his backup, the Royals will likely have Perez get some time at first base, as well as utilityman Nick Loftin.

Second baseman (1):
Incumbent second baseman Michael Massey was sidelined last week with lower back tightness, and while the Royals are optimistic he won’t be out for long, he is beginning the season on the injured list. Frazier steps in at second base, especially against all the righties the Royals figure to face at the beginning of the season with the Twins, Orioles and White Sox. Loftin and Garrett Hampson, both right-handed hitters, will also see innings at second base this year.

Shortstop (1):
Fresh off a long-term extension, Witt is the centerpiece of the Royals’ lineup and infield. He’ll look to build on his 30-homer, 49-stolen base campaign in 2023. No. 2 on the depth chart would be Maikel Garcia or Hampson.

Third baseman (1):
Garcia was solid in his rookie season and showed that he was more than capable of handling the hot corner. He could return as the Royals’ leadoff hitter, too. Loftin, Hampson and Frazier have also gotten reps here this spring.

Outfielders (5): , , , ,
The Royals believe Isbel is their best defensive center fielder and want him manning the expansive grass at Kauffman Stadium. They're counting on power in their corner outfield with Melendez and Renfroe. Velázquez will see time in the corner outfield and be part of the Royals’ designated hitter rotation. The 25-year-old had a shaky spring, but the Royals wanted to balance spring performance with last year’s, and it’s hard to ignore the 14 homers Velázquez hit in 40 games with Kansas City in 2023.

Utility (2): ,
Hampson will fill various roles in the infield and outfield, including center. He could be an everyday player who plays a different position every day while also bringing speed to the bases like Blanco. Loftin, the Royals’ No. 2 prospect, earned a roster spot because of his solid September last year and great spring, where he showed consistency and the ability to play all over the field. With Massey’s injury, a clearer path to the big leagues opened for Loftin. He’ll be able to play first, second and third base, and he has experience in the corner outfield.

Starting Pitchers (5): , , , ,
The Royals’ rotation order is set with Ragans starting Opening Day and Lugo and Singer following against the Twins. Wacha, who got hit in the hand by a comebacker in Sunday’s intrasquad game but was fine by Monday, will start the Royals’ first road game in Baltimore. Marsh won the fifth starter spot because of the way he ended last year and the strides he took this spring, pushing Jordan Lyles to the bullpen.

Relief Pitchers (8): , , , , , , ,
Smith will be the Royals’ closer to begin the year, but the Royals revamped their bullpen with several new additions to help in high-leverage situations, including Stratton, Anderson and Schreiber. McArthur returns this year and will also get those opportunities, looking to continue his 16 1/3 inning scoreless streak with which he ended the ‘23 season. Lyles, Zerpa and Sauer -- the Royals’ Rule 5 Draft pick -- will be able to give the Royals multiple innings.

Relievers Carlos Hernández (right shoulder), Jake Brentz (left hamstring) and Josh Taylor (left biceps) are beginning the season on the IL.