Royals Roster Projection 1, Part 1: The Bats
Here's what I see the offensive roster shaping up as right now. I'll update regularly.
The Royals roster is a complex set of moving pieces that…ugh, nope, not doing that. What I am going to do is give you my current Royals roster projection for the offense and will update as more signings roll in (maybe) and some spring storylines start to take hold. With each player, I’ll give you their 50th percentile PECOTA projection.
.253/.289/.459, 24 HR, 3.6% BB
.241/.311/.367, 2 HR, 7.6% BB
These are pretty obvious choices here, barring a trade of Gallagher, which I thought might happen before 2020, but I don’t necessarily coming right now. This is really a pretty strong unit relative to the rest of the league and if Salvy can put up like 80 percent of his 2020 numbers, it’s one of the best in the league.
.243/.370/.426, 19 HR, 97 BB
.215/.304/.385, 3 HR, 30.9% K
I just have a hunch that Mike Matheny is a big enough O’Hearn fan that he wants to keep him on the roster, at least to start the season. When you factor in how good O’Hearn can be in the Cactus League, I can really see this happening. Plus, there’s not much in the way of a lefty bat off the bench for this team, and Matheny showed that he was willing to pinch hit last year, so I think O’Hearn gets this job as the roster is currently constructed.
.247/.315/.355, 6 HR, 2.3:1 K:BB
.266/.295/.389, 8 HR, 14.7% K
Lopez has had a partial season and a 60-game season to prove that he can hit at the big league level. He hasn’t yet and may never, but he is a legitimately fantastic defender and the organization believes he can eventually get to where they need him to be. I was much more sold on that before he went out and looked worse in 2020, but also 2020 was weird. The Royals obviously weren’t completely sold on it either as they’ve both been rumored to be in on a ton of outfielders who might move Whit Merrifield back to second and signed the other guy in this section, Alberto. I think Alberto is as much of an insurance policy for Nicky as he is a guy who can mash lefties, but he’ll mash lefties while they’re still giving Nicky a shot.
.234/.316/.402, 15 HR, 10.2% BB
Dozier’s backup will likely be Alberto or maybe even Lopez if Alberto wins the second base job at some point. That said, if he goes down, which he has an injury history, Kelvin Gutierrez will likely be the first one up to get regular playing time. I still wouldn’t hate them re-signing Maikel Franco and putting Dozier in left field, but at this time, that hasn’t happened, so here’s Dozier.
.229/.272/.384, 15 HR, 38 SB, 31% K
Like Dozier, while there’s not a specific backup here, Mondesi’s is Lopez. Alberto can play shortstop in a pinch, but he hasn’t done it since 2018. This is a big year for Mondesi. If he plays at even relatively close to the way he finished 2020, he’s the best player on this team by far. If he plays at even relatively close to the way he started 2020, he’s going to be feeling the heat from Bobby Witt, Jr. and maybe even Lucius Fox down in the minors.
.245/.338/.393, 11 HR, 11.3% BB
Bonus! 80th percentile - .272/.372/.446, 13 HR, 12.5% BB
Michael A. Taylor
.210/.274/.362, 7 HR, 10 SB
.272/.323/.411, 13 HR, 23 SB
.237/.298/.392, 12 HR, 10 SB
The projections here paint a really ugly picture, but I personally would take the over on all of the numbers with Whit and showed another projection for Benintendi because I think the 50th percentile is probably a little too injury driven. If he’s healthy, the 80th percentile is the numbers he was putting up before he got hurt in 2019. I have Olivares currently as the fourth outfielder because he can handle center (as can Benintendi, theoretically), but I could see them maybe finding someone who could be a better backup in center with Franchy Cordero traded.
.233/.332/.450, 27 HR, 70 BB
Bonus! 70th percentile - .249/.353/.487, 30 HR, 74 BB
Soler is the team’s designated hitter, no questions asked, as long as he’s healthy. Health is the big question for him, obviously. If he is healthy, the 50th percentile projection for him just seems way too low all around, which is why I included the others.
Outside Looking In
.237/.299/.359, 2 HR, 30.1% K
.237/.301/.410, 1 HR, 30% K
.217/.292/.318, 4 SB
It’s 16 guys for 13 spots unless you want to believe that Kyle Isbel or Lucius Fox really have a chance to make the Opening Day roster. Of these three, I give McBroom the best chance to win a job and Heath a close second. And no, I’m not forgetting Bobby Witt, Jr. I think he and I have pretty similar chances to start the year in the big leagues, but his chances leapfrog mine pretty quickly after the season starts.
Stay tuned for pitchers tomorrow.