By Nolan Brooks
KANSAS CITY, KS — The 2022 season ended in heartbreak for the Kansas City Monarchs. This year, they’re looking to reclaim the crown.
Coming off a season where they fell one game short of playing for their third American Association championship in four seasons, the Monarchs bring a remarkably talented roster into the 2023 campaign.
The Monarchs’ roster features seven players that have been called up to the major leagues. That includes big names like former Royals pitcher Brandon Finnegan and veteran catcher Chris Herrmann, who spent parts of eight seasons in MLB.
With all of the new player signings for 2023, manager Joe Calfapietra had plenty of praise for the new roster additions.
“A lot of these guys were in the big leagues or in Triple-A just last year. The fans are going to be watching a high level of talent on an everyday basis and it is exciting,” Calfapietra said.
This roster has plenty of talent across the board and that creates plenty of buzz over whether this team can be the best. As the 2023 season begins, Calfapietra recognizes there’s a long season ahead.
“The more we see this team, we are going to have to make tweaks in certain areas to be able to ‘catch the Joneses’, Calfapietra said. “Everybody thinks they have the best team coming out of spring training until they match up with the other teams and then you figure out what it takes to be a division winner and a competitor for the championship.”
The Monarchs are also returning two familiar names in outfielders Jacob Robson and Jan Hernandez.
Robson, who joined the Monarchs for the final month of the 2022 season, is a former Detroit Tiger who represented Canada in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Hernandez returns for his third year with Kansas City. He was a contender for the AAPB’s Player of the Year award before an injury in the last month of the 2022 season. He finished the season with 71 RBIs in just 73 games.
Both of those returning stars emphasized clubhouse chemistry as a key for the upcoming season.
“Chemistry comes first. Once you have that, it will show on the field,” Hernandez said.
“Everyone’s story and route is different in indy ball which makes it interesting but with that you do get some ‘salty dogs’ so you have to stay positive and rely on each other as a team,” Robson said. “I am excited to show people this year whether it is through my performance or my actions that we have team chemistry and it will help out throughout the season.”
As the 2023 season fast approaches, the message that everyone rooting for the Monarchs should receive here is that this is going to be a team with plenty of talent but also chemistry. Getting a team that is comfortable this early is a great sign especially when they tell you that at media day.
“We are family and are excited because we get to play a game we love and are excited to play this year,” Hernandez said.
The Monarchs open the season on the road against the Sioux City Explorers Friday at 7:05 p.m. With a talented roster, a confident manager and a fan base ready for another title, the 2023 Monarchs will be special to watch.