Minor League Minutes: 3/14/2018

We continue our weekly recaps of the top MLB Draft prospects.

Our Drew Osborne puts up a “Prospect Watch” on lefty arm Cristian Castillo.

Castillo is a 6’0” lefty from Mexico.  Castillo was a little older when he signed and is now 23.  Castillo pitches from the extreme left side of the pitching rubber and is able to generate a tough angle for hitters with his smooth release.  Castillo has a four-pitch mix throwing the fastball, slider, curve, and change. The change is really good and has good arm-side run and sinking action making it a swing and miss pitch for RHHs.  The slider has a lot of tilt to it and Castillo often throws it as a backdoor pitch just nipping the outside edge of the plate. If a hitter can’t stay back, he will have a hard time as he tries to pull this pitch and rolls it to shortstop.  The curve has more downward movement. Castillo doesn’t throw with high velocity but he will work in the low 90s and gets outs. This type of pitcher has to have solid control and Castillo generally does.

Max Rieper of Royals Review takes a run through the Royals bullpen.

Despite struggles in 2017, Kelvin Herrera and Brandon Maurer are considered locks, although Maurer has a non-guaranteed contract and could be released if he has a poor spring, saving the Royals 75% of his contract or $2.1 million. The Royals will probably hang onto both for now, hoping for a bounceback, which could make both of them attractive trade pieces later this summer if they can improve.

Josh Staumont is exclusively pitching out of the stretch now, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.

“You can see him working his mechanics right now,” manager Ned Yost said. “He’s really concentrating on that. And through time and repetition, it will come more natural to him where he doesn’t have to think about it — he’ll just be able to throw.”

The Royals made their first cuts of Spring Training.

That leaves 51 players, including 17 non-roster invitees, on the Royals’ spring-training roster. The number does not include outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, who was suspended for 80 games on Saturday after testing positive for Boldenone, or pitcher Jesse Hahn, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list because of a sprained UCL in his right elbow.

Clint Scoles of KC Baseball Prospectus continues his great draft coverage, reviewing of pair of intriguing high school arms.

Mason Denaburg – No one grabbed the headlines and intrigue more than Denaburg after his first start of the season. The velocity out of the right-handed Florida Gator commits hand has been outstanding, pumping 94-96 mph consistently while touching as high as 98. That is elite level velocity and the pitcher’s ability to keep the ball low in the zone with sinking action should enable him to miss bats and cause groundball contact now and in the future, a true plus-plus future pitch.

Asher Feltman of Minor League Ball takes a look at Austin Franklin, a sleeper prospect in the Rays system.

He keeps the ball in the park and hitters don’t find many holes opposing him. Against fellow youth competition, his biggest competitor is his own command. Walks are a little too high for the liking (BB/9 of 4.00 last season), but the potential here is right where a teenage third-rounder’s should be. Through the roof.

Dodger prospect D.J. Peters is opening some eyes early in Spring Training.

Coming off an MVP season in the high Class A California League, Peters went straight to Dodger Stadium. The native of nearby Glendora, Calif., said he was there “Monday through Friday, every day” working out at the stadium with the Dodgers’ strength and conditioning staff and joining a group big leaguers that included Turner and Chase Utley.



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