Revisiting Royals' projected Opening Day roster

Goins, Torres among those battling to make 25-man

March 15th, 2018

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:,

No changes here compared to the pre-camp projection.

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Infield:, Whit Merrifield, , Mike Moustakas, ,

Our original prediction was that 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 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:, , ,

Our previous forecast had , 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 or , 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.

Rotation:Danny Duffy, , , Nate Karns, Jakob Junis

No changes.

Bullpen:, , , , , , ,

The original forecast had , 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 , 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.