Welcome back for our first edition of “Notes from Royals Spring Training” live from Arizona. I am headed back to Kansas City on Sunday because I have a job, unfortunately. However, since I was able to attend the Royals game against the Rangers in Surprise this afternoon, I’ll share my thoughts with you on how some of the guys looked in action.
*Before we get started, let’s make something very clear. IT IS FEBRUARY 23RD. By no means am I making any kind of conclusions about the Royals season. I am simply sharing some of my thoughts with you about how the Royals looked today. At times I will share opinions that I had before Spring Training ever began, like the fact that I think Cheslor Cuthbert needs to go, but I’m not making that conclusion based on today. I’ve thought that for a very long time. So please save your, “It’s been one day!,” comments, I’m aware.*
1.) Josh Staumont was sick nasty
One thing that I wrote about earlier today was that I really wanted to see some of the AAA guys force the Royals hand in Spring Training. Between Josh Staumont, Richard Lovelady, Nicky Lopez, etc., I want someone to FORCE the Royals to move them to the big leagues to begin the 2019 season. Josh Staumont got off to a great start today, throwing a perfect 9th inning. Staumon’ts velocity was anywhere from 93-97 and he absolutely overwhelmed hitters. His curveball was sharp, inducing a strikeout, and he even featured a changeup. It’s been exactly one day and I’m already excited at the prospect of seeing Staumont in the big league bullpen full time.
2.) Adalberto Mondesi is special
Kid steps up to the plate twice and smashes to hits to the opposite field (both as a LHH). One a single, one a double off the wall. Seems like a pretty safe assessment to assume that he’ll be this team’s best player if he stays healthy.
3.) Cheslor Cuthbert and Ben Lively were very underwhelming
The Royals almost played a flawless game of baseball today. Literally everyone that entered the game was good, except for Cheslor Cuthbert and Ben Lively (Kalish was underwhelming as well but he didn’t do anything bad). Cheslor Cuthbert had a nice half season back in 2016, and he’s been very bad since. He’s not a big leaguer and if he gets PA in Omaha, he’s just getting in the way of Kelvin Gutierrez. He did do me a bit of a favor today by stepping in the box and mercifully making an out. Ben Lively was the only Royals pitcher to not finish his innings, but I digress.
4.) Sebastian Rivero is an elite defender
I’ve been saying it for a while, but there’s a chance that Sebastian Rivero is the Royals best defensive prospect. He looked phenomenal behind home plate today. He receives the ball better than any of the Royals catchers above AA and you can’t throw anything past him. What the Royals have with Rivero and Melendez, catching together on the same team in the minors, is special. Heck, special doesn’t even begin to describe that tandem.
5.) The battle for RF is on
Jorge Bonifacio looked really good at the plate, Brian Goodwin looked really good in the field, and Brett Phillips whiffed on a couple of 91 mph fastballs. I think Goodwin ultimately winds up winning the RF job, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boni make the club out of Spring Training as a bench bat. I doubt it happens, but he looked super comfortable today.
6.) Terrance Gore is absolutely making this team
I know some of you insist that there is no way that Terrance Gore makes this team out of Spring Training, but you’re wrong. He looked fantastic in CF today and even got a hit! You can literally see the pitchers begin to get nervous when he’s on base, and I think the Royals value his presence. His defense should not be an issue keeping him on this team, and I think he’s a lock for this 25-man roster.
7.) Billy Hamilton was as advertised
On the opening play of the game, Billy Hamilton ran down a long fly ball in CF off of the bat of Delino Deshields, showing off his elite defensive ability from Jump Street. Then he looked completely worthless at the plate. That’s about what we expected, right? Hopefully the offense improves enough that he can turn himself into trade bait, cause my gosh can he go get it in CF.