2021 Kansas City Royals Depth Chart
The glory years of the 2014 and 2015 season are all but over in Kansas City. The team placed their organization on notice of a rebuild, only holding three players on the current roster from the 2015 Championship team. A steady house cleaning has seen the departure of the team’s core players in Lorenzo Cain, Ben Zobrist, Eric Hosmer, and most recently, Mike Moustakas. These departures mark for an almost complete depletion within the infield and an outfield talent that won’t soon be replaced. While the team was able to claim a healthy influx of prospects in a few of these dealings, most came during free agency, limiting the support gained from years of serviceable work. Limited projection from the team’s farm system prior to trades and upcoming draft picks have the future looking gloom in Kansas City.
|Catcher||Salvador Perez||Cam Gallagher||Sebastian Rivero|
|1st Base||Carlos Santana|
|2nd Base||Whit Merrifield|
|Shortstop||Adalberto Mondesi||Nicky Lopez|
|3rd Base||Hunter Dozier|
|Left Field||Andrew Benintendi|
|Center Field||Michael Taylor||Jarrod Dyson|
|Right Field||Jorge Soler|
|Designated Hitter||Ryan O'Hearn|
The fact that the team has none of their starters hosting double-digit win totals speaks to the limited production on the season. Danny Duffy marks for the oldest arm within the rotation at 29. His outings are often hit or miss. When he’s on his game, the strikeouts pile up and his defense bails him out. When he is up against it, things often go from bad to worse. His 4.88 ERA isn’t all that impressive but gaining support from a drought-filled offense is a difficult feat. Brad Keller might be the most promising arm in the rotation. He made the switch from reliever to starter a few weeks ago and the transition has seemed to favor his skill set. His 3.04 ERA is best amongst starters, but he is not a strikeout machine. He adapts to the position by offering up less balls in the air and an increase in grounders. Refining his pitches will be something he carries to the off-season as he is only 23-years-old. 6-year starter, Wily Peralta, has also transitioned into his new role as closer. Usually a distance starter, Peralta will now gain the opportunity to refine his main pitches. He has saved 10 games on the season in limited appearances, so locating this talent within the correct role could pay dividends in the future.
Whit Merrifield is without doubt the team’s best infielder. This 29-year-old sophomore is batting above .300, offering production on the base path and showcasing some pop in his swing. He had a big target on his back at the trade deadline, but the organization opted to keep this consistent bat within the lineup. Alcides Escobar is the team’s practiced short stop. His veteran presence is making room for up-and-comers in Rosell Herrera, Adalberto Mondesi, and Hunter Dozier. His stronghold and experience at the position is a valuable teaching tool for the organization. You can’t foster a rebuild without talents that have experienced everything from championship victories to historical lows. A lot of faces in the farm system got a heavy taste of Class A ball this season, so the growth and development of talents is well within the works, although it may be a few years before these talents crack a major league roster.
One of the team’s key signings came when they added Jorge Soler from the Cubs. Soler has spent a majority of his stint with the team on the disabled list, limiting the desired production the team had when offering him a larger contract. Partner this will the fact that Alex Gordon is not getting any younger and you have a crucial area to fill. Gordon’s play has regressed over the years, which can be attributed to age and heavy usage rates. Brett Phillips came from Milwaukee in the Moustakas trade, but he has yet to find his swing at the plate. His average is trending below .200 which begs to question if the time was too soon for this young talent. To avoid burnout, the team has adopted usage of utility players in Jorge Bonifacio and Brian Goodwin. The 40-man roster doesn’t play heavy favorites in the outfield, calling for high usage for all starters within this tier.
The daily lineup is often tampered with prospect influx. The Royals are in a tough spot as they want to gain their younger guys experience without burning them out. They lack the fielder depth within their 40-man construction, handcuffing the players within the batting order. Past-their-prime talents like Lucas Duda and Alex Gordon usually fill power roles despite their high strikeout rates. Salvador Perez also slots into the 4-spot from time to time in hopes of offering some sign of relief. There isn’t much science or projections built-in due to the lack of depth, reducing the effectiveness of this starting lineup from contest to contest.