By Doug LaCerte @DLaC67 on March 15, 2014
After 16 games of Cactus League Spring Training ball, what really makes the Kansas City Royals the MLB's best Spring Training hitting team is their offensive depth. KC's pitching has been decidedly less impressive. Needless to say, the Royals hope to turn things around with their pitching before May 28 arrives. The Royals' chance for success will rely greatly on at least one young arm who made my list for KC's top five Spring Training prospects.
While he hasn't gotten much time this spring, he's been next-to-perfect in his four innings pitched in five games. So far, Donnie Joseph has yet to allow a single hit or earned run in the Cactus League.
Jorge Bonifacio has shown off his power in limited at-bats this spring. In 10 AB's, Bonifacio has one homer and three RBIs to mark his first appearance in a Royals uniform. Although the sample size is small and his emergence seemingly less-than-immediate, Bonifacio still means a lot to the Royals' future as a potential starting outfielder.
So, he may have been sent to Omaha after seemingly losing his bid for utility infielder this season, but Christian Colon is still a valued member of the franchise who we all hope to see reach the big leagues in the near-ish future. His eight hits and six RBI in 14 games this spring were just a taste of what Colon can do once he peaks.
Another valuable player-turned-roster casualty comes in the form of former KC skipper Tony Pena's son. Francisco Pena belted a home run yesterday to tie the Oakland Athletics, before promptly being sent to the minors. Prior to his AAA demotion, Pena did enough to get current manager Ned Yost raving, which would seem to indicate that Pena should be the backup catcher for KC in the near future.
Emerging starter Yordano Ventura has a lot going for him -- he's a young talent reaching fruition while his competition for the fifth spot in the rotation falters. In 9 1/3 innings, he has so far posted a 2.89 ERA and compiled nine strikeouts. Ventura should do extra back exercise this spring, in preparation for the immense weight KC will have to put on his shoulders once the regular season begins.
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