Players will talk: Which Royals have impressed?

KC veterans pick which teammates are standing out in spring

March 5th, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- We have reached roughly the halfway point of Royals camp, and, as always, there have been some pleasant surprises.

Who has stood out so far? conducted informal interviews with numerous Royals players, mostly veterans, asking them which players have caught their eye this spring. Here are the results, in order of the players who received the most mentions:

Trevor Rosenthal, RHP
The veteran , 29, is signed to a Minor League deal. He had Tommy John surgery in fall 2017 and then struggled with Washington and Detroit in 2019, posting a 13.50 ERA in 22 games. The issue was mostly command -- the velo was still there last year. And that velo -- reaching 102 mph at times according to the Royals’ radar guns this spring -- is still there.

Quotes: “He is electric. That stuff is elite, just elite. It just blows you away how easy it comes out of his hand.” -- Brad Keller

“Wow. That is really something. He throws hard for strikes. We need that.” -- Salvador Perez

“You hear about his arm, but when you see it in person, it’s pretty impressive. It’s just a nice, easy 99-100. Something special there.” -- Glenn Sparkman

“I remember him in his prime. He said he had command issues last year. I don’t see any of that now.” -- Ian Kennedy

Kyle Isbel, OF
The Royals’ No. 7 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, weathered injuries in 2019 while reaching Class A Advanced Wilmington. A third-round pick in 2018, the 23-year-old has made several excellent defensive plays this spring and has shown patience at the plate. ETA: 2021.

Quotes: “He has made some unbelievable catches. He has a homer, has had some really good at-bats, runs the bases well. But defensively, he has been super impressive. I didn’t know much about him until now.” -- Whit Merrifield

“Isbel has stuck out with me. I didn’t know anything about him until I saw some highlights from Fall League. But seeing him here and his whole makeup, it’s pretty impressive. Have been impressed with his swing. I like him as a player.” -- Alex Gordon

Josh Staumont, RHP
After making his Major League debut last year, , 26, had a 3.72 ERA in 16 outings. Staumont has yet to give up a run in four outings this spring and is in competition for one of the final bullpen spots.

Quotes: “Him and Rosenthal, wow. That’s some serious stuff there. They both looking really good.” -- Perez

“Looks like he made some adjustments in the offseason. The mechanical adjustments he’s made, he looks more natural. It doesn’t look forced and he was kind of cutting the ball last year.” -- Kennedy

Ryan McBroom, 1B/OF
Acquired from the Yankees last season, seems to have virtually locked up a roster spot, even though he has Minor League options. He find himself in a platoon role with first baseman . McBroom was 6-for-22 with two doubles and two homers through his first 11 games, and even his outs were loud.

Quote: “I really like how he’s looked this spring. Looks like he worked really hard in the offseason. His swing is there.” -- Gordon

Brady Singer, RHP
The Royals’ No. 2 prospect, is in his first camp after being a first-round pick in 2018. Singer, 23, reached Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2019 and was 7-3 with a 3.47 ERA there. ETA: Later this summer.

Quote: “Brady just carries himself like he’s been to a handful of camps already. You wouldn’t know if he is up 10 runs or down 10. Great quality to have this early in his career.” -- Danny Duffy

Erick Mejia, INF/OF
A switch-hitter with excellent speed who can play virtually anywhere, may be the versatile 26th man manager Mike Matheny is coveting. Mejia, 25, was called up last September and appeared in nine games (5-for-22).

Quote: “He’s been playing really well. He’s a little older than some of the guys, but he can run, play defense -- all-around game, pretty impressive.” -- Cam Gallagher

Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B/1B
, 25, played in 20 games with the Royals last season and hit .260 with one home run. He still has a bright future, though he almost surely is ticketed for Triple-A Omaha this season.

Quote: “He’s very talented. And he really wants to learn. He is always asking me things about how to get better. He’s a good guy. He’ll make it.” -- Maikel Franco