With all thirty major league rosters being officially finalized yesterday, the minor league rosters among a few organizations have started to filter in recently. The Royals have yet to release theirs, but here’s what we know so far.
To start with the biggest news, the Royals have DFA’d former first round selection Kyle Zimmer. This could perhaps signify the end of his run as a major league prospect, as it seems he can never stay healthy for an extended period of time. This is quite the bummer, knowing what the potential was in that amazing arm. A fully healthy Zimmer was probably one of the better pitching prospects in all of baseball. His career as a prospect peaked early in his professional tenure, putting up a stellar debut in 2012 when he posted a 2.04 ERA in nine starts, striking out 42 batters across 39.2 innings. This led to high praise from major prospect publications in the offseason, with Baseball America ranking him the #24 prospect in all of baseball on their pre-2013 list.
Zimmer was inconsistent last season, putting up a 5.40 ERA in 36.2 innings, pitching almost exclusively out of the bullpen. It looked like he was going to get his fighting chance to make a splash in Spring Training, but after making his spring debut, he was diagnosed with arm fatigue, keeping him out of game action for the past few weeks. The Royals ended up having a roster crunch, subsequently resulting in Zimmer getting DFA’d. This isn’t quite the end though, as it seems there is a pretty good chance that Zimmer will clear waivers, which would probably send him down to the Omaha bullpen to start the year.
We don’t know a whole lot about the minor league rosters at the moment, but we do have some information. First, we know a group of player that will be repeating High-A Wilmington- RHP Jared Ruxer, RHP Grant Gavin, 2B DJ Burt, 1B Chris DeVito, RHP Jace Vines, and LHP Cristian Castillo. With there being a logjam in the upper minors, a lot of these players are going to have to repeat this level that may have otherwise earned a promotion.
Four players will be heading back to AA Northwest Arkansas to start the season- 2B/SS Nicky Lopez, RHP Emilio Ogando, RHP Jake Newberry, and LHP Sam Selman. Selman is probably the biggest surprise here, considering his overall success at both AA and AAA last year (2.66 ERA, 12.9 K/9, .147 BAA), but then again, logjam.
Heading to Omaha will be two intriguing relievers- RHP Kevin Lenik and LHP Richard Lovelady. No big surprises here. Don’t be shocked if either of these arms are in the Kansas City bullpen soon.
And with only so many minor league roster spots, some guys had to be let go. There was this weird trade with the Mariners, with the Royals sending four arms away for basically nothing– RHP David McKay, RHP Ashton Goudeau, LHP Matt Tenuta, and LHP Colin Rodgers. Additionally, 1B Robby Rinn was traded to the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations.
There were also several players that had to be released, including OF Amalani Fukofuka, 1B Joe Dudek, OF Cody Jones, RHP Geoffrey Bramblett, RHP Cody Nesbit, and OF Roman Collins. Perhaps the most notable of these was Cody Jones, the Royals 2015 sixth round pick. He struggled at both High-A and AA this year, slashing a combined .236/.334/.320 in 305 plate appearances.
Keep an eye out for more content, as we are sure to have plenty to talk about once the minor league rosters are finalized.
Photo Credits: Mark J. Rebilas—USA Today Sports