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 1 April.
The obvious place to start is with the pitchers an 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 parts, of which this is the fourth. 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.
Danny Duffy was enjoying a solid start to the 2012 season and was one of the better starters in the Royals rotation in mid-May. But that was where Tommy John surgery brought his season to a premature close and he will not have recovered by Opening Day this year. He’ll start the season on the DL, but the interesting question is what happens when he is fit again.
Prediction: Guaranteed to be on both the 40-man roster and disabled list on Opening Day.
Chris Dwyer is another high prospect of the Royals who is on the 40-man roster. He has an excellent arsenal of pitches and the Royals are confident in his ability, but he is still yet to find considerable success at the minor league level. He pitched at Triple-A for part of last year, but had an ERA of almost seven and even at Double-A he struggled with his command.
Prediction: No chance of being on the Opening Day roster, but won’t lose his spot on the 40-man roster either.
Jeremy Guthrie was one of the finds of the year for the Royals in 2012. He came over in mid-season as the Royals tried to make something out of the failed deal for Jonathan Sanchez after a few rocky outings turned into the Royals’ best starter. The highlight of his year was taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox in August.
Prediction: Second starter
Juan Gutierrez was signed as a free agent before the 2012 season and has spent last year in various parts of the Royals’ minor league system. He never really impressed during his previous time in the major leagues and he failed to impress in the minor leagues as well. It’s very hard to see him pushing for a spot with the big league club and more likely is the Royals deciding he’s not worth his spot on the 40-man roster.
Prediction: Dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for a non-roster invitee.