Two weeks of spring training games are complete and the KC Royals have been struggling to string together wins (just five). Those expected to be the favorites for the open spots on the team have also been struggling, as the younger players are taking advantage.
The backup catcher spot has been slow to develop, as neither were putting any kind of offense together, until the middle of this past week. Drew Butera hit two home runs (including an inside-the-park homer) in going 4-for-11. He threw out two runners trying to steal while two were successful.
Tony Cruz however, has yet to pick up a hit (0-for-9 last week). He struck out twice, hit into two double plays, and even hit into a triple play. He allowed a stolen base and three wild pitches.
The two favorites for the second base job are also not doing well offensively.
Christian Colon has yet to collect a hit, as he went 0-for-10 last week. He did walk three times (compared to one strikeout). CC played both second base and shortstop.
Omar Infante collected his first hits of the spring on Sunday, going 2-for-2 (2-for-11 overall last week). He walked once and scored a run. Infante committed an error at second base on Friday.
The one who is taking advantage of the playing time is utility man Whit Merrifield. Last week he played first, second, third, and center field. He did commit an error at first base on Wednesday. At the plate, Merrifield went 5-for-8 with two doubles, two triples, and five runs scored. That raised his spring batting average to .462.
Veteran Clint Barmes played less games last week than Merrifield (four games to six), but received more at-bats. However, Barmes went just 1-for-10 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play. He played shortstop and second base.
Dusty Coleman went just 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and three strikeouts in four games last week. He played both shortstop and third base. Orlando Calixte played second, shortstop, and third base last week (with an error coming at shortstop on Sunday). Calixte went 3-for-9 at the plate with three runs scored, two RBIs, and two strikeouts.
In right field, manager Ned Yost seems to be leaning towards Paulo Orlando making the club (whether he starts or not remains to be seen). Orlando is having himself a solid spring, as he went 4-for-12 last week with a double, a home run, and two RBIs. He walked once, struck out twice, and hit into a double play. Orlando played all three outfield positions.
I thought Travis Snider had a good chance of making the team, but he played in just four games last week (all four games in right field). Snider went just 2-for-9 at the plate with four strikeouts.
Reymond Fuentes is taking advantage of the playing time, as he went 3-for-10 last week with two walks, two runs scored, and an RBI. He played both right and center field and is hitting .389 this spring. Jose Martinez was hitting over the first week, but went just 2-for-12 last week with three strikeouts (his average dropped to .278). He played right and left field and was the DH.
Brett Eibner has been working walks (six overall compared to five strikeouts), but he went 2-for-8 last week and is hitting just .143 this spring with zero extra base hits. Eibner played both left and right field and was a pinch-hitter twice. Bubba Starling has been receiving a ton of playing time (five games last week), but he went just 2-for-12 and is hitting just .111. Starling played both left and center field.
Jorge Bonifacio has been impressive so far this spring. He went 3-for-11 last week with a two-run double and three runs scored. Overall, Bonifacio is hitting .294 while playing left and right field.
In trying to beat out Chris Young or Kris Medlen for the final rotation spot, there haven’t been arms really dominating. Kyle Zimmer allowed a run on four hits over three innings Monday, but then threw just one inning on Saturday. That is hardly stretching him out.
The same can be said for Miguel Almonte, who threw three innings of one run ball on Tuesday and then threw the ninth yesterday (and needed 28 pitches to get through the inning).
Lefty Danny Duffy allowed a run on two hits (a solo home run) and two hit batters on Thursday over three innings.
Dillon Gee, whose opt-out date is this week, threw just once this week (Friday). He allowed a run on four hits and a walk over three innings. He struck out three and induced five ground outs.
Chien-Ming Wang allowed his first run of the spring on Friday (2IP, 3H, BB, 3K, 3GO). John Lannan allowed two unearned runs on Wednesday.
The veterans vying for the final bullpen spots pitched much better in the second week of spring training.
Brian Duensing allowed two hits over three scoreless innings of work. He struck out four. Ross Ohlendorf, whose opt-out date is also this week, threw back-to-back scoreless outings (3IP, 2H, R, BB 5K overall during the week).
Peter Moylan continues to trend with one good, then one bad outing. Last week, he allowed three runs on three hits and five walks over three innings. He did strike out four. Lefty David Huff allowed two runs on five hits (a two-run homer) over three innings. He struck out two.
Lefty Scott Alexander has been impressive, as he allowed just two hits over three scoreless innings last week (5.1 scoreless innings overall). He struck out four. Meanwhile, fellow lefty Brian Flynn continues to struggle this spring: 2IP, 7H, 6R, 0BB, 4K, 2HR last week.
Sam Selman allowed a solo home run last week (2IP, H, R, 2BB, K), while Aroni Nina pitched just once (1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K).
The Royals are finally expected to start making cuts early this week from their 60-man spring roster.
*Lefty Tim Collins has yet to pitch in a game as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.