With football season officially over, culminating in yet another Chiefs championship, baseball season is just around the corner. The Royals have begun congregating in the warm sunny skies of Arizona to prepare for the 2023 season with hopes pinned on a younger roster. While this team isn’t expected to contend for a division title, the Royals are looking for development out of their young core to get back on the road to contention.
Where is spring training?
The Royals train in Surprise, Arizona, about 30 minutes northwest of Phoenix. They share a facility with the Texas Rangers and play at Surprise Stadium, which seats 10,500 fans. For more information on the stadium or to order tickets, click here. Fifteen teams train in Arizona, and the teams are bunched up in closer proximity than they are in Florida, so if you visit the Cactus League, you can see a lot of different teams.
What is the spring training schedule?
Pitchers and catchers reported this week and will have their first official workout today, although some were already throwing yesterday. Hitters will report on Sunday with their first full-squad workout on Monday, February 20. Players participating in the World Baseball Classic have already arrived to get some extra work in. For the Royals, Salvador Perez, Brady Singer, Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino, Nicky Lopez, Carlos Hernández, Angel Zerpa, Max Castillo, and Edward Olivares will depart to represent different countries at the WBC.
The spring training schedule begins on February 24 against the Rangers. The Royals will play 32 exhibition contests, including a March 9 matchup against the Great Britain team participating in the WBC. They will also play March 18-19 against the Rockies and Diamondbacks in Las Vegas.
Can we watch any games on TV?
Bally Sports Kansas City will air ten games on television beginning with the February 25 game against the Rangers. You can find Bally Sports Kansas City on most cable providers, as well as streaming on FuboTV and DirectTV Stream. Bally Sports Kansas City also has their own streaming option you can subscribe to for $19.99 a month.
You can also listen to 13 games on 610 Sports in Kansas City or 1660 AM. Other games will stream audio on royals.com.
Who is new this year?
The biggest change for the Royals will be in the dugout, with Matt Quatraro coming over from the Rays to serve as the new manager for Kansas City. He’ll be joined by a new bench coach in Paul Hoover and a new pitching coach team with Brian Sweeney and assistant Zach Bove. Bullpen coach Mitch Stetter and infield coach Jose Alguacil round out the new faces on the coaching staff.
The Royals had a pretty quiet off-season with player personnel, but they did add a few veteran pitchers, namely seven-time All-Star reliever Aroldis Chapman. His fastball doesn’t have the same zip it used to, and he won’t be the closer, according to J.J. Picollo but he will be another late inning option. Jordan Lyles and Ryan Yarbrough were free agents added to give the Royals more innings. Lefies Evan Sisk and Josh Taylor came over in trades last month. The Royals also brought in veteran infielders Matt Beaty, Johan Camargo, and Matt Duffy and slugger Franmil Reyes on minor league deals to compete for bench roles.
Who else is in camp?
The Royals will have 63 players in big league camp - their 40-man roster plus 24 non-roster invitees.
*-denotes non-roster invitee
Catchers: José Briceño*, Tyler Cropley*, Freddy Fermín, MJ Melendez, Salvador Perez, Logan Porter*, Jakson Reetz*, Luca Tresh*
Infielders: Matt Beaty*, Johan Camargo*, Hunter Dozier, Matt Duffy*, Clay Dungan*, Maikel Garcia, Nick Loftin*, Nicky Lopez, Michael Massey, Vinnie Pasquantino, Nick Pratto, Samad Taylor, Tyler Tolbert*, Bobby Witt, Jr.
Outfielders: Dairon Blanco*, Nate Eaton, Tyler Gentry*, Diego Hernandez, Brewer Hicklen*, Kyle Isbel, Edward Olivares, John Rave*, Franmil Reyes*, Drew Waters
Pitchers: Scott Barlow, Jonathan Bowlan, Kris Bubic, Max Castillo, Aroldis Chapman, Taylor Clarke, Dylan Coleman, Austin Cox*, Jose Cuas, Yefri del Rosario*, Amir Garrett, Zack Greinke, Jonathan Heasley, Carlos Hernández, Brad Keller, Jackson Kowar, Brooks Kriske*, Richard Lovelady, Jordan Lyles, Daniel Lynch, Alec Marsh, Mike Mayers*, Andrés Núñez*, Brady Singer, Evan Sisk*, Collin Snider, Josh Staumont, Josh Taylor, Ryan Weiss*, Nick Wittgren*, Ryan Yarbrough, Angel Zerpa
Any positional battles to watch?
The roster will be pretty fluid all season, but players will be jockeying for position in camp. The outfield will be very young, with MJ Melendez likely to see some time in left field, Kyle Isbel the favorite to get the most time in center, and Drew Waters likely to start a lot in right field. But that arrangement could shift a lot this year, with Edward Olivares likely to split time between DH and outfield, and players like Nate Eaton, Matt Beaty, Johan Camargo, Dairon Blanco, Brewer Hicklen, and Nick Loftin all candidate to see some time in the outfield.
Hunter Dozier is penciled in as the starter at third, but his poor defense and lackluster bat leaves the door open for someone else to win the job. Camargo and Matt Duffy each provide defensive upgrades, and Eaton brings a terrific arm, youth, and energy to the position. There is also the question as to how new manager Matt Quatraro will line the hitters up.
The starting rotation is likely to feature Brady Singer on Opening Day, followed by Zack Greinke, Jordan Lyles, and Daniel Lynch. The last spot could be up for grabs with Brad Keller, Kris Bubic, Jonathan Heasley, Ryan Yarbrough, Max Castillo, Jackson Kowar, and Angel Zerpa all potential candidates to get starts. The Royals are also expected to shuttle guys up and down for the bullpen this year, although Scott Barlow will close, and Aroldis Chapman, Taylor Clarke, Dylan Coleman, Amir Garrett, and Josh Staumont are pretty good bets to be in that bullpen.
Are you attending spring training? Have you been in the past? Any tips for fans traveling to Arizona?