The Royals announced that in addition to players on their 40-man roster, they have invited 19 non-roster players to spring training in February. The invited players include veterans like pitchers Mike Mayers and Nick Wittgren, and minor league prospects such as former first-round pick Nick Loftin. Here’s who they have invited:
Austin Cox was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft, and one of the better pitchers for Triple-A Omaha last season. The 25-year-old left-hander posted a 4.21 ERA, but with just 6.4 strikeouts-per-nine innings in 147.1 innings, and was left unprotected and unselected in the Rule 5 draft.
Yefri del Rosario was moved to the bullpen this year, and posted a 4.76 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 62.1 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas before pitching ten innings in Triple-A. The 23-year-old right-hander originally began his career with the Braves but signed with the Royals after MLB ruled he was a free agent due to signing violations by the Braves.
Brooks Kriske pitched in parts of two seasons with the Yankees and Orioles, giving up 25 runs in 15 innings with 19 strikeouts. Last year the right-hander went to Japan and posted a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings for Yokohama.
Mike Mayers has a 5.10 ERA in 236.1 big league innings over seven years with the Cardinals and Angels. The right-hander had some success in 2020-21 with a 3.34 ERA in 101 relief appearances over that time.
Andrés Núñez is a 27-year-old right-hander taken in the 27th round of the 2018 draft who had an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio for Omaha last year with 69 whiffs and 17 walks in 62.1 innings of relief and a 3.61 ERA.
Ryan Weiss was claimed off waivers from Arizona last summer, but continued to struggle in the Royals organization with a 6.93 ERA in 62.1 innings in the minors. The 26-year-old right hander has never pitched in the big leagues and was originally a fourth-round pick out of Wright State in 2018.
Nick Wittgren is a seven-year veteran with Miami, Cleveland, and St. Louis with a career 3.96 ERA in 287 games. The 31-year-old right-hander made 29 appearances with the Cardinals last year with a 5.90 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Matt Beaty is a first baseman/outfielder who hit .249/.320/.405 with 18 home runs in 603 plate appearances in parts of four seasons with the Dodgers and Padres. He has some post-season experience, doesn’t strike out much, and has played a bit of third base.
Clay Dungan was a ninth-round pick in 2019 out of Indiana State and has been a versatile infielder in the minors. Last year he hit .208/.294/.334 with nine home runs and 17 steals in Omaha, but had put up solid minor league numbers before that.
Nick Loftin was the 32nd overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Baylor as an infielder/outfielder. Last year, he hit .254/.333/.403 with 17 home runs and 29 steals across Double-a and Triple-A combined and he could challenge for a utility role.
Tyler Tolbert is one of the fastest players in the minors and successfully stole 60 bases without getting caught once. The 24-year-old shortstop hit .224/.313/.340 with 55 walks for High-A Quad Cities.
Dairon Blanco brings good speed and decent power, hitting .301/.367/.486 with 14 home runs and 45 steals for Omaha last year. The 29-year-old Cuban defector appeared in five games with the Royals last year, going 2-for-7, and was acquired from the Athletics in 2019 for pitcher Jake Diekman.
Tyler Gentry is one of the more promising young hitters in the organization with Baseball America ranking him as the #7 prospect in the system. The former third round pick out of the University of Alabama hit .326/.422/.542 with 21 home runs across High-A and Double-A last year.
Brewer Hicklen has a good blend of power and speed, hitting .248/.348/.502 with 28 home runs and 35 steals for Omaha last year. The 26-year-old also appeared in six games with the Royals, going hitless in four tries.
John Rave is a 25-year-old left-handed hitter originally selected in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. Last year he hit .256/.353/.413 with 16 home runs and 23 steals across Double-A and Triple-A.
Tyler Cropley is a former Iowa Hawkeye who was originally drafted by the Nationals, but was signed by the Royals in 2020 after he was let go. The 27-year-old hit .163/.262/.283 in 31 games for Northwest Arkansas last year.
Logan Porter has one of the more patient bats in the organization, drawing 87 walks with a line of .301/.442/.476 with 13 home runs across Double-A and Triple-A last year. The 27-year-old right-handed hitter is also capable of playing first base.
Jakson Reetz was signed by the Royals last summer after the Brewers designated him for assignment. The 27-year-old Nebraska native hit .264/.359/.575 with 30 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A.
Luca Tresh was a 17th-round pick by the Royals out of North Carolina State in 2021. The right-hander hit .269/.360/.468 with 19 home runs and 54 walks across High-A and Double-A last year.