1.) Jorge Soler hit a baseball 488 feet during Tuesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. In total, he finished the game 2-2 with two home runs and a walk. I’d say he finally got his timing back.
This is vaguely what I expect to see from Jorge Soler this season. Not two home runs every game, but these past four games in general. Struggle, struggle, do okay, and then explode. His spring average is currently .286 and he has two home runs in four games. That may be a little much to expect over a 162 game season, but you get the idea. Jorge Soler is going to have his fair share of struggles in 2018, and he’s going to have days where he can singlehandedly win you a baseball game.
2.) Adalberto Mondesi (this is going to take some getting used to) was 1-4 with a triple on Tuesday and made an error in the field. Again, this is something you should get used to seeing from Mondesi (and most of these young guys): one really good thing and one really bad thing in most games. He’s going to have his ups and downs. The idea is that, in 2019, he and Soler begin to have more ups than downs. It probably won’t all come together for either of them beginning this season. If Mondesi sees regular big league time in 2018 (like he should be), then hopefully he’ll be showing us why he used to be a top 50 prospect in all of baseball by September. Be patient and enjoy watching these kids develop.
3.) Kevin McCarthy had another clean outing on Tuesday. I expect him to be in the big league bullpen for the entire 2018 season. He’s a sleeper to look out for this year in terms of potentially having a nice impact on the team.
4.) Speaking of sleepers in the bullpen, how about Scott Barlow on Monday? Two innings, three strike outs, no walks, no runs. In case you don’t know who Scott Barlow is, Chris Mitchell’s KATOH system over at FanGraphs projected Barlow as the best minor league free agent pitcher available this offseason. Barlow just turned 25 this offseason, and had a ton of success last season in 19 AA starts. He didn’t fare so well in 7 AAA starts, but Barlow looked great on Monday, getting a ton of swinging strikes that ultimately lead to three K’s in two innings. Barlow has started throughout his minor league career, but don’t sleep on him making the Royals bullpen out of camp if there aren’t any rotation spots available.
5.) Whit Merrifield and Salvador Perez continued their torrid starts to Spring Training on Tuesday. Savly went deep for the first time this spring and Whit doubled and tripled. Salvy is now batting .800 with a 2.200 OPS and Whit his batting .625 with a 2.125 OPS. I don’t think it’s crazy to assume that these guys will be the Royals best hitters in 2018, and it’s nice to see them get off to hot starts.
6.) The Royals Opening Day center fielder hit his first home run of the spring on Tuesday. That’s right folks, Derek “Bubba” Starling hit a home run in Tuesday’s victory over Seattle. Obviously I don’t know who’s really going to start on Opening Day, but boy would it be nice if Starling hit his way into the lineup. The defense, particularly in the outfield, could use a boost.
7.) Kelvin Herrera walked two and struck out none in his first appearance of the spring, but he didn’t give up any hits or runs either. Any kind of extra success the Royals will have this season is going to revolve around Herrera returning to form in the bullpen. The Royals need Herrera to be good not only for competition reasons, but for his trade value as well.
8.) Ryan O’Hearn hit his first home run of the spring on Tuesday. I do not expect him to compete for the starting first base job, as I just don’t think he’s quite ready just yet, but if he keeps hitting, there’s a non-zero chance that he could win that job on Opening Day.
9.) Royals Rule 5 acquisition Brad Keller through a clean inning on Monday, allowing a hit in one inning of work. I still don’t know how much Keller will be used out of the ‘pen early on in the season, but I fully expect KC to do their best to hide him out there as best as possible. Keller is a future starter in the big leagues, he’s just going to need time to finish developing. He’s never pitched in AAA but the Royals clearly liked him enough to try to keep him on their roster this season.