Minor League Minutes: 3/26/18

On a quiet Sunday evening, Royals Farm Report broke some news that cleared up some questions about the bullpen situation.

Royals Farm Report has been informed by a source close with the Royals that LHP Tim Hill, RHP Brad Keller, and RHP Blaine Boyer have made the Kansas City Royals Opening Day bullpen.

The Royals traded away four minor league arms to the Seattle Mariners to help clear up some innings in the upper-minors.

This move is pretty clear to me, the Royals don’t see any of the four pitchers as part of their future and they have other guys that are going to need innings this summer. There appears to be a logjam of arms between AA and the MLB and these guys were just taking up space for the “prospects.”

Alex Duvall takes a look at 2017 32nd round pick Andrew Beckwith, a College Word Series MVP.

Luckily for the Kansas City Royals, he may be a very good one. Beckwith features some nasty stuff from down under, and his ability to go over the top only adds to his effectiveness. In his 27.1 professional innings, Beckwith did not surrender a home run (impressive considering he spent most of his time in the Pioneer League) and produced a GB% over 45%. That will play in the long run.

Over the weekend, the Royals released two players that were brought in on minor league deals.

The release of Saunders seems to indicate the Royals will carry just three bench players – Drew Butera, infielder Ryan Goins, and third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert (with Paulo Orlando starting in the outfield) – while carrying 13 pitchers. Nolasco was perhaps a hedge in case any starters were hurt, and when the team added Clay Buchholz last week, Nolasco became expendable.

Tyler Dierking of Kings of Kauffman writes how odd the situation between Cheslor Cuthbert and the Kansas City Royals is.

During Spring Training, Cuthbert has been playing very well. He is hitting .407/.421/.685 with nine extra-base hits. Obviously, it is Spring Training. Pitchers are working on location, velocity, and command of certain pitches, therefore hitters to have more success during Spring Training than they normally do during the regular season. But the hitter still has to make contact and put the ball in play, which is not the easiest thing at times. Just ask Gordon (too soon?).

David Lesky of BP Kansas City writes about Alex Gordon and his current struggles.

Now we’re in the home stretch of spring training and he’s 4 for 43 with one extra base hit and just four walks in 50 plate appearances. And no, spring training stats don’t mean much, but if you’ve watched him play, he looks like the flaccid hitter we saw for the majority of 2017, but maybe a little bit worse somehow. If you’re looking for a silver lining, he’s doing it against more quality competition than others, so at least he’s not routinely looking horrible against A-ball pitchers. That’s a very dim silver lining.

Over at the Kansas City Star, Pete Grathoff looks at what became of the nine top-100 prospects the Royals had in 2011.

They had nine players on Baseball America’s annual Top 100 list and were the first team in the history of the rankings to have five players listed among the top 20. Using a scale of 100 points for the No. 1 prospect down to 1 point for No. 100, the Royals collected a record 574 points.

John Sickels of Minor League Ball lists Ryan O’Hearn as a prospect to not overlook in the AL Central.

Kansas City RoyalsRyan O’Hearn, 1B: The Royals brought in Lucas Duda on a one-year contract to cover for departed free agent Eric Hosmer. Duda has hit well this spring (.400/.486/.667) but prospect O’Hearn has been even better (.400/.447/1.000), hitting four doubles and five home runs in 35 at-bats.

Age 24, O’Hearn was drafted in the eighth round in 2014 from Sam Houston State University. He hit .253/.330/.455 with 22 homers between Double-A and Triple-A. The Royals did not protect him on their 40-man roster pre-season but his performance this spring has been notable and his left-handed power is quite real. Duda is probably just here for one season and O’Hearn has an opportunity to be the long-term option at first base. He is capable of putting up Duda-like numbers at less cost.

Wayne Cavadi of Minor League Ball tells us what to expect from Brewers pitching prospect Brandon Woodruff.

The sinker is his best offering, coming at hitters hard, but his secondary pitches will decide his fate. Despite both his slider and change being average, he attacks hitters and throws with confidence, giving both the upside of being much more. Thanks to that sinker, he has always been an extreme groundball pitcher, posting a 48.0 percent rate in the hitter’s paradise of the Pacific Coast League last season. That’s invaluable.

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