The Kansas City Royals start Spring Training next week and have their roster pretty well set. The non-roster invitees have been announced and there seems little chance of another free agent signing. This makes it a good time to look at the players who will be preparing for the season and where each of them will probably be on April 1.
The obvious place to start is with the pitchers and the Royals do have a lot of them in camp this year. There are 25 on the 40-man roster (including two who are still recovering from injury) and another nine non-roster invitees. The analysis for them has thus been broken up into several parts, of which this is the second. I look at how the player has done, their role in the club and in some cases what they have to do in Spring Training before predicting where they will be on Opening Day.
Blaine Boyer was signed to a minor league contract just after the New Year. He made his big league debut all the way back in 2005 and has since bounced from organization to organization and gone up and down from the big leagues to Triple-A and back. He last pitched in 2011 when he struggled for the New York Mets. He’s a decent ground ball specialist on his day, but those days have been too rare. He’s very much an outsider for a spot on the 40-man roster.
Prediction: Probably Triple-A, possibly Double-A and not a major threat to anyone’s roster spot.
Francisley Bueno may have best been known for the protracted oddity of a several year old suspension and the appeal thereof as he bounced up and down between Omaha and Kansas City, but it was sorted in the end and he actually provided a quite effective short relief option, conceding only four runs (three earned) in 17.1 innings for the big league club. That said, he was seldom used in pressure situations and might be the odd man out if some of the non-roster invitees make a push for a roster spot.
Prediction: A lot depends on how he and his competition do, but my guess is that he will be dropped from the 40-man roster.
Bruce Chen has been the Royals best starter for the last few years. That’s not saying a lot with the rotation that the Royals have had, but Chen has consistently performed better than most would expect and that culminated in his being named the ace of the rotation before the 2012 season. It didn’t go well though and the winter acquisitions of the Royals mean he will have a tough battle for the fifth spot this year. His decision to pitch in the World Baseball Classic may cost him dearly.
Prediction: So very hard to say, but I don’t think he’ll get the final rotation spot. Whether the Royals move him into the bullpen or somewhere else entirely then becomes a very interesting question.