USA Today

5 Royals Names You Need To Know This Spring

These Guys Could Have an Impact in 2019 and Beyond

Bob Fescoe
February 10, 2019 - 10:43 am

You may not know it from the weather here in Kansas City, but the start of Spring has arrived! Well, at least for Major League Baseball.  Guys will be reporting to Spring Training camps all over Arizona and Florida.  While many aren't picking the Royals to win the World Series this year, this is still an important season for growth.  The PECOTA Rankings have the Royals winning 72 games this year which would be a HUGE improvement from last season.  I think there are many guys that can take the next step in making the Royals a better ballclub.  Here are 5 guys that I am going to watch this season at all levels of the system.

1. Daniel Lynch- Lynch was the 3rd pitcher selected by the Royals in the 2018 Draft and the 34th player taken overall.  Lynch has done nothing but impress.  In fact he may be the best of the 3 pitchers taken at the top of the draft.  Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar were picked ahead of Lynch but Lynch dominated A ball last year.  He was 5-1 with a 1.58 ERA at both Lexington and Burlington.  He showed great command as well with 61 K's and just 8 walks.  I am excited for his future.  His overall stats are pretty impressive.  Check em out HERE!

2.  Nicky Lopez- I first saw Lopez in the Arizona Fall League back in October of 2017.  I immediately became a fan!  The kid is everything you want from a shortstop:  good fielder, hits for average, team leader and plays with a ton of energy.  While Aldaberto Mondesi holds down the SS position now at the big league level, Lopez could challenge for a spot on the 25 man roster in the next two years.  I also like the way Lopez thinks!

Check out his stats HERE!

3.  Ryan O'Hearn- PECOTA has him projected to hit 20 home runs this year.  I think the biggest questions for the Royals this season and going forward are first and third base.  I feel like O'Hearn has the spot right now becuase he is here.  I think he has a lot to prove and a lot to gain by having a good season.  If he can belt 20 homers this year I think we will all feel good about the direction of first base.  USA Today listed him as one of the 25 players to watch this season in the Majors.  He's a pretty darn good teammate too!

4.  Jorge Soler- Soler is always going to be linked with Wade Davis.  Many fans were upset that the Royals dealt Davis and got Soler in return.  Soler has battled injuries in his two seasons in KC.  He has 2 left and we need to get some production out of the right field spot.  Soler has the talent to mash and his defense was getting better before his injury.  Let's hope he is healthy from day 1 and has one heck of an offensive season in 2019.

5.  Brad Keller- Keller was a Rule 5 guy last year and pitched like a top of the rotation starter.  In his final 7 games of 2018 Keller was 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA.  He is currently listed 2nd on the depth chart behind Danny Duffy in the rotation.  2019 will be big to see what kind of step Keller takes.  I know when he was acquired in December of 2017 via a Rule 5 trade with the Reds, the Royals were fired up.  They believe the sky truly is the limit with Keller.  Let's hope he takes what he did last season and builds on it.

So there are 5 guys that I am going to watch closely this year.  Who is on your list?

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