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Royals Spring Training: Young Players Show Up Early To Earn Major League Spot

The Royals report to Surprise, Arizona filled with hope for the future and the present.

The Kansas City Royals have to be pleased with what they're seeing before spring training even officially begins. Everyone is aware that the Royals have arguably the strongest young gathering of talent in the Major Leagues, but those prospects will not be able to coast through on their hype or even their talent. Baseball is a game of hunger and those who want it the most will find themselves getting the playing time. After all, the bust rate on high draft picks in baseball is atrocious.

That's what makes it so encouraging to see players like Jake Odorizzi, the Royals second highest ranked pitcher on MLB's Top 100 prospects like (and No. 47 overall), says he's been at the Royals training complex since just after the New Year as he readies himself for 2012.

"I've been out here in Arizona since just about the 10th of January, just throwing outside and working out," said Odorizzi, "doing some conditioning. It's nice weather compared to Illinois. We have a pitcher's camp that starts on Tuesday. It's a little introduction before actual camp starts. I'm just looking forward to getting going."

While he has some work to do in the minors, Odorizzi says his focus is on landing in Kansas City at some point in 2012. To do that, he says he's working out the finer points of his mechanics so that he can be a threat to hitters at the highest level.

"My main goal is I want to be able to make an impact on the Major League team sometime this year, whenever that may be. I just want to be able to help the Major League team out. Hopefully, we'll be in contention this year. ... [I'm] more or less just fine-tune some things, work on my offspeed pitches and refine them. Being more consistent -- be more consistent with my secondary stuff. There's always room for improvement with that kind of stuff. That's my main point of emphasis."

For more on the Royals, check out Royals Review.