Watching the development of the young Royals hitters has been the most fun (only?) aspect of this year.
While Witt, Melendez and Pratto are the headliners, I've enjoyed Vinnie P, Eaton and Mashey the most.
The young guys as a group are not just hitters, but plus defenders - the long-time trait of every Royals regular player.
Based on what I've seen from the young core, this is what I think will happen in the off-season and how they'll line up next year.
Mondesi has only one year left and I think the Royals will trade him in the off-season since they have too many options with four-plus years of control. Similarly, Michael A. Taylor will probably be traded to make room for a crowded outfield.
While Pratto has a strikeout problem, I'm penciling him in to make the team at the start of the season. Additionally, I'm pushing Maikel Garcia into the opening day lineup as that will happen at some point next year.
I see Eaton mainly as an outfielder and can be used for spot starts and a late inning defensive replacement for LF or RF.
The uniqueness of how the Royals can align DH/C/1B/LF seems to work, so that should continue.
The offensive profile seems balanced as half can give you homers, the other half stolen bases. Nearly all can give you doubles, several can take walks unlike Royals tradition.
Opening Day Lineup...
DH - Vinnie Pasquantino/Salvador Perez
C - Salvador Perez/MJ Melendez
1B - Nick Pratto/Vinnie Pasquantino
2B - Michael Massey
SS - Maikel Garcia
3B - Bobby Witt
LF - MJ Melendez/Nick Pratto
CF - Drew Waters
RF - Edward Olivares
UTL - Nate Eaton
UTL - Nick Lopez
UTL - Hunter Dozier
The infield will be gold glove caliber when Pratto starts at first, and the outfield will not be as good as the Royals generally have had - but with a late inning defensive replacement with Eaton that can be dealt with in games that can be won.