2019 Royals Opening Day roster predictions: Omaha (AAA)

Team Name: Omaha Storm Chasers
Location: Omaha, NE
Stadium Name: Werner Park
League: Pacific Coast League
Level: AAA

Starting Lineup:

C: Nick Dini
1B: Samir Duenez
2B: Nicky Lopez
SS: Humberto Arteaga
3B: Cheslor Cuthbert
LF: Jorge Bonifacio
CF: Bubba Starling
RF: Brett Phillips
DH: Frank Schwindel


  • Alan de San Miguel, C
  • Elier Hernandez, OF
  • Donnie Dewees Jr., OF
  • Erick Mejia, UTIL

Starting Rotation:

  • Arnaldo Hernandez
  • Trevor Oaks
  • Jake Kalish
  • Heath Fillmyer
  • Scott Barlow


  • Richard Lovelady
  • Josh Staumont
  • Glenn Sparkman
  • Jake Newberry
  • Kevin Lenik
  • Yunior Marte
  • Jason Adam

Nothing real sexy going on here. No Michael Ynoa. No Homer Bailey. No crazy promotions. No crazy cuts. Erick Mejia, Samir Duenez, and Yunior Marte should be getting their first looks at AAA, while Nick Dini will be getting his first long look with the AAA club. Meanwhile, the Royals like Cheslor Cuthbert and want to make sure he gets PA in the organization, so he’ll probably start the year as Omaha’s starting third baseman.

I’m not a big fan of the move. I am not nearly as high on Cuthbert as the Royals appear to be and I really liked what I saw from Kelvin Gutierrez to end 2018. He’ll be 25 years old before the season ends and, while he wasn’t great at AA all year, he hit .307/.376/.454/.830 with a 130 wRC+, a 0.55 BB/K ratio, with 12 XBH hits from July 20th on. He destroyed the level over the last month and a half showed good defensive ability as well. I don’t expect he’ll be in AA long, but unfortunately I think he’s destined to start there.

Honest to goodness, I might trade the Omaha bullpen for the big league bullpen straight up. That’s not hyperbole. I think there’s a real chance that the aforementioned 7 relievers would have more success than the 8 relievers we’ve predicted will start the year in Kansas City.

This Omaha team is gonna be fun to watch. Depending on how it all shakes out, 9 of the 25 players on the roster to start the season will be guys who have seen time on the big league club. That’s not great news for the big league club, but it could be fun for those who attend Storm Chasers games throughout the summer. Top prospects like Nicky Lopez, Richard Lovelady, and Josh Staumont, combined with the likes of Jorge Bonifacio, Brett Phillips, and Bubba Starling could make for a really fun team to watch. Hopefully the team will get significantly younger by season’s end, for the organization’s sake.

Just missed the cut:

  • Scott Blewett
  • Foster Griffin
  • Gabe Speier
  • Kelvin Gutierrez
  • Anderson Miller
  • Jecksson Flores


Photo Credits: Minda Haas Kuhlmann (@minda33)

14 thoughts on “2019 Royals Opening Day roster predictions: Omaha (AAA)

  1. This level seemed to me to have the greatest amount of attrition from pitching staff last year. Can you tell me which players became MILb FA’s and were not brought back. IE (Dziedec, Selman, etc)


      • Yeah I don’t think Dziedzic and Kalish can both be on the roster anymore and Kalish is better. Dziedzic probably winds up getting released.


      • My understanding is Alan de San Miguel is shown on the Omaha roster only as a way to pay him as a non-playing coach. That is what they did with LaRoche and him last year and assume that will continue this year. My second catcher would be Xavier Fernandez with Esposito and Viloria starting at NWA.


  2. Omaha is so full (perhaps clogged) with pitchers that predictions are tough in the bullpen and rotation. Here was my guess: A. Hernandez, Oaks, Blewitt, Barlow and Kalish. I think Fillmyer ends up in KC. Also curious to see what Royals do with Foster Griffin. He has accumulated enough AA innings. Same with Lovvorn and Greene. i was in agreement with you on bullpen although I do think KC figures out what to do with Ynoa and Lively. Injuries or minor deals with probably drop a few current pitchers from the ranks. I predict Zimmer makes the KC roster out of ST.


  3. I see the Omaha roster differently because I predict Gutierrez starts at 3B with Storm Chasers. Rivera will be starting 3B at NWA. Not enough ABs for Duenez, Schwindel and Cuthbert so Duenez returns to Naturals, too. OF is crowded in KC and Omaha. I was surprised that Cuthbert came back to KC organization.

    C – Dini, X. Fernandez
    1B – Schwindel
    2B – Lopez
    SS – Arteaga, Flores (UT)
    3B – Gutierrez, Cuthbert (1B, too)
    OF – Starling, Bonifacio, E. Hernandez, and Miller

    Dewees will find a mysterious back ailment or some other excuse to stay in EX ST. Or Bubba may go again – he has buzzard’s luck in that area. I think Phillips makes KC out of ST. Omaha could use a utility infielder like Mejia or Flores. The one who does figure in goes back to NWA as starting SS. Flores should get promoted after 2018.

    Omaha will be a talent group – lots of veteran AAA pitchers and descent lineup. Not ton of speed like big leaguers are seeking to exploit.


  4. What this story highlights is the logjam of pitchers at KC and Omaha (and will trickle down to NWA blocking A ball promotions).
    Not on the list above are Greene, Lively, Zimmer, Dziedzic, Lovvorn and possibly Ellis (if Royals wait until last minute to offer him back to St Louis and they let KC keep him). You also have to believe Blewett gets promoted after his Arizona showing.
    Picking an Omaha pitching staff is probably harder than picking winning lottery numbers right now. Only injuries might clear some room. Dayton does love his “inventory”. Course it drives his minor league prospects nuts waiting for a chance to prove they can compete at the MLB level.


  5. These are the Royals pitchers vying for spots in KC and Omaha…
    Duffy, Kennedy, Junis, Keller, Lopez, Fillmyer, Boxberger, Peralta, McCarthy, McWilliams, Ellis, Flynn, Hill, Zimmer, Barlow, Oaks, Hahn (DL?), Blewett, Greene, Lively, Hernandez, Newberry, Sparkman, Staumont, Lovelady, Skoglund (suspended), Adam, Dziedzic, Kalish, Lovvorn, Ynoa, Machado, Lenik, Bailey, Griffin, Sheller, Marte, Speier.
    That is 36 names (not counting Hahn and Skoglund) vying for 25 or so spots. That does not include any further signings by DM in next week or two (which I think will be at least one).
    That also means barring releases, injuries, etc. 11 pitchers could end up back in AA filling out that roster (with 7 already there that I have not listed). So where are the A ball guys going to go.


    • There’s a lot of dead wood there. Several players with very low ceilings who have flamed out either in high minors or some even in the majors (Sparkman and Adam) . Machado, Kalish, Lenik, Bailey are just taking up space and realistically offer nothing to the big league team. Lovvorn and Dzeidzic don’t profile as Royals type pitchers. Sheller, Marte, and Ynoa are most likely long shots at best. There, that pares down the list for ya. As I said, imo, lots of dead wood.

      Liked by 1 person

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