KANSAS CITY — Royals general manager Dayton Moore said earlier this week there would really be no surprises to Kansas City’s 60-man player pool.
For the most part, that was true, as the Royals submitted their list of 60 to begin workouts this Friday at Kauffman Stadium. The club will not have a secondary camp at an alternate site, as some teams have arranged for their prospects.
The only mild surprise was the addition of Bobby Witt Jr., the shortstop who was the Royals’ top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Witt is not on the 40-man roster and he was not invited to Spring Training earlier this season.
The Royals, though, likely feel having Witt and several of their pitching prospects in camp will aid their development since it is unlikely there will be any Minor League season. Players not on the 40-man roster who made the 60-man player pool will not accrue service time.
“With the circumstances we’re going through,” Moore said, “there really isn’t a clear pathway to develop this year, other than this. We’re trying to accommodate as many players as we can, not just for 2020, but for 2021 and 2022.”
Interestingly, the Royals’ top Draft pick this season, left-hander Asa Lacy, was not placed in the player pool.
“There was some talk about adding him,” Moore said, “but at the end of the day, we like where he is right now — he’s got a good workout spot at College Station [Texas]. We could only have so many players on the 60. There were a lot of players left off. But hopefully there’ll be an opportunity for many of them this fall in Arizona.”
The focus now shifts to who will make the initial 30-man roster for Opening Day, July 23-24. Two weeks from then, rosters will be reduced to 28, then two weeks later to 26.
Here’s a breakdown of the Royals’ 60-man player pool:
Pitchers (32): Chance Adams, Scott Barlow, Scott Blewett, Kris Bubic, Austin Cox, Danny Duffy, Heath Fillmyer, Foster Griffin, Jesse Hahn, Tim Hill, Greg Holland, Jakob Junis, Brad Keller, Ian Kennedy, Jackson Kowar, Jorge López, Richard Lovelady, Daniel Lynch, Kevin McCarthy, Mike Montgomery, Jake Newberry, Randy Rosario, Trevor Rosenthal, Braden Shipley, Brady Singer, Glenn Sparkman, Gabe Speier, Josh Staumont, Daniel Tillo, Stephen Woods Jr., Kyle Zimmer, Tyler Zuber
Singer, the team’s top pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, was in Spring Training camp back in March when the pandemic shut baseball down. While not on the 40-man roster, Singer could have a shot at cracking the active roster for Opening Day.
Rosenthal had an incredible camp, so good that he was added to the 40-man roster in late March. Holland, a non-roster invitee, is a strong candidate to make the Opening Day roster as well. Rosario and Hahn are out of options, so if they aren’t added to the Major League roster, the Royals risk losing them to another organization.
Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said the Royals, like most teams, will go pitcher-heavy on their 30-man roster, but he added that he wouldn’t likely use the four extra spots added to the original 26-man Opening Day roster just for pitchers.
“Seventeen [pitchers] would be a big number,” Matheny said.
Catchers (6): Nick Dini, Cam Gallagher, MJ Melendez, Salvador Perez, Sebastian Rivero, Meibrys Viloria
There had been some talk about the Royals carrying three catchers for the Opening Day roster back in March, based on uncertainties about the workload the club will give Perez, who is coming off 2019 Tommy John surgery. But the extra months of healing should have the All-Star backstop ready to assume a full workload, and the Royals likely will only have to carry Perez and Gallagher.
Melendez, Rivero and Viloria will continue their development this summer under the watchful eyes of the Royals’ Minor League staff.
Infielders (11): Humberto Arteaga, Maikel Franco, Kelvin Gutierrez, Jeison Guzman, Nicky Lopez, Ryan McBroom, Adalberto Mondesi, Ryan O’Hearn, Nick Pratto, Matt Reynolds, Bobby Witt Jr.
The Royals will want to monitor closely the development of Witt, Pratto and Guzman — none are likely to see MLB playing time.
Outfielders (11): Hunter Dozier, Alex Gordon, Nick Heath, Kyle Isbel, Khalil Lee, Seuly Matias, Erick Mejia, Whit Merrifield, Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler, Bubba Starling
The 30-man roster for Opening Day could leave room for both Phillips and Starling, who are out of options. Mejia’s versatility could make him an intriguing option for the final 30. Isbel, who impressed the coaching staff this spring and was still in camp at the end, makes the 60-man player pool along with Matias and Lee for developmental purposes.