If you listened to the Sprots Takes afternoon radio show yesterday (and why wouldn’t you?), you already know that I am 100% on board to sell the farm. The farm being Davis, Volquez, Hosmer, Escobar, and/or Cain. Not our farm team. This was a bad metaphor. Moral of the story: sell, sell, sell.
Why? The Royals are in desperate need of starting pitching. If you can name more than two starting pitching prospects the Royals have, I will buy you a Brooks Pounders jersey. For most teams, this is standard. Who needs to know who is waiting in the wings? The Royals do. Kansas City has no leading men on the big stage. We need a Leonardo DiCaprio and all we’ve got is a handful of Jeremy Piven’s.
The Royals highest ranked pitching prospect is not Kyle Zimmer, as many may think, it’s Matt Strahm. Strahm is currently playing for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals AA team). Strahm was drafted out of Neosho County junior college, but found himself on the DL list with Tommy John surgery. He has a decent fastball around 93 mph, but has yet to develop his secondary pitches well enough to be an effective starter. This is his only full season in the starting rotation, so he could develop as time goes on. However, at 24 in AA, time is a-ticking.
Next up we have Miguel Almonte. Royals fans will remember Almonte from one of his 9 relief appearances this year. You may also remember that those relief appearances did not go so well as he departed KC with a 6.29 ERA. Oops. In Omaha (Royals AAA team), the story has been much the same. Almonte has a 5.55 ERA with 42 walks in only 60 innings. Walks always come back to bite. Almonte started off hot in the lower leagues, but has yet to find any success in the higher echelons of major league baseball.
Kyle Zimmer, the glass man, is the Royals third best option. A man that has spent more time on the DL than he has on a baseball field is our third best pitcher. Let that sink in for a bit. Between elbow, arm, shoulder, and back injuries, Zimmer’s superstar status after going 5th in the 2012 draft has been severely diminished. Somehow, this kid is still the “future”. It’s time to let that dream die. Zimmer has an electric fastball, a nasty curve, and well developed curveball and slider, but homeboy obviously has some mechanical issues. No person should be getting hurt this much. The best case scenario here is Zimmer becoming an epic closer…in like 100 years.
Alec Mills saunters in at #4. Mills has made one .2 inning appearance in KC, where he gave up a run. In the minors, however, Mills has been doing a steady job as he has risen quickly through the leagues since 2012, even though he also required TJ surgery. Mills is one of the Royals most realistic starting pitching options as he has a precision fastball and average-above average secondary pitches. His 33K’s in 38 innings in Omaha is very nice to see.
Up next is Jake Junis who is currently playing for the Naturals with Strahm. Junis is another guy you should definitely keep an eye on. He is, however, not ready to be effective in the Bigs any time soon. Junis has been developing his fastball and curveball over his two full seasons in the Royals minor leagues. He has progressively gained velocity and control, making him one of the most consistent pitching options the Royals have. He will make a good starter, but doesn’t have many ace-like qualities.
Josh Staumont is yet another NWA Naturals pitcher (read: not ready this year). Staumont has a fastball in the triple digits. Triple. Digits. Better yet, he can maintain a mid-high 90’s fastball into late innings, a rare quality. He effectively mixes in his curveball and changeup to make for some embarrassing whiffs by opponents. Unfortunately, with speed often comes a lack in control and that’s exactly what Staumont’s problem is: location. Think: Wild Thing. If he can harness this, Josh Staumont could be the ace the Royals need in the future. If he can’t, he could still be a nasty weapon out of the pen.
As you can see, the pitchers who are “ready” to play in the Major Leagues, are no better than the talent we already have on the field in KC. The Royals certainly have some promising guys down in the minors, however none of them are quite ready for the pressure of playing on a World Champion team. It’s time to sell, it’s time to trade, it’s time to win.
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