With the 90th overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2017 MLB Draft, the KC Royals selected LHP Daniel Tillo out of Iowa Western CC, a JUCO powerhouse. The selection caught my ear, as I remembered hearing a bit about the possibility of Tillo going early in the draft out of Iowa Western, and I was excited that the Royals took a semi-local college kid who’s name I had heard buzzing around before the draft.
At Iowa Western, Tillo held opposing hitters to the tune of a .192 BAA with 57 K in 44 IP. Tillo was tied for the team lead in starts with 5, and CG’s with 1. He also made 4 relief appearances for Iowa Western.
Tillo is a kid that projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. He uses a mid-90’s fastball with a pretty nasty slider and still-developing change up to neutralize opposing hitters. He’s a guy I fully expect to start all the way through his minor league career, and he’s already found success as a starter in his first professional season.
After starting the year in the AZL, Tillo was promoted to Rookie League Burlington where he made 7 starts and threw 31 innings. In those 31 innings, Tillo posted a 3.48 ERA, a 3.57 FIP, struck out 25 and walked only 6. Tillo’s 1.74 BB/9 may have been the most encouraging part of his rookie campaign.
Tillo’s relative lack of a work load in 2017 was probably precautionary due to the fact that he’d already thrown 44 innings in the spring at Iowa Western. I expect that Tillo will probably start the 2018 campaign as a 21-year old at Low-A with the Lexington Legends, but I honestly wouldn’t be at all surprised if he found himself at High-A Wilmington if he has a good Spring Training either. Tillo is one of the most promising young starting pitching prospects that KC has, and I could see the Royals expediting his development given that he was drafted out of college and not from high school.
Photo Credits: MLB.com