The 2017 Draft Class – Pitchers

I’ve been going through the last several drafts of the Royals.  Today I’m breaking down the 2017 pitchers and how they’ve done so far.


Daniel Tillo carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning in a start earlier this season for the Lexington Legends.  Photo credit to Jillian Waitkus.  

Pick Name P Notes
2.73 Evan Steele LHP Steele was a JuCo pick who started his career at Vanderbilt. He is a lower slot LHP who has dealt with lots of injuries. Missed time with thrombosis resulting in a blood clot at Chipola. Rumor was he was dealing with some shoulder issues this year. Steele put up huge strikeout numbers at Chipola and in his 8.0 innings at rookie level Arizona in 2017. I think at this point we hope to see him healthy going into 2019.
3.90 Daniel Tillo LHP Tillo has worked as a starter for the Royals and has made it to Wilmington. His strikeout numbers haven’t been what we envisioned on draft day at a career rate of 6.95 K/9 while his walk numbers have also been higher than we envisioned at 3.74 BB/9 in his career and 4.35 BB/9 at two levels in 2018. The concern for Tillo is that he wears down at the end of seasons. Tillo has thrown 171.0 career innings and with a 1.46 WHIP and 9.42 H/9.
5.150 Charlie Neuweiler RHP Neuweiler had a fantastic first season really pushing up his prospect status with an 0.98 WHIP in 41.0 innings. Neuweiler put up a 2.63 BB/9 rate with a 7.5 K/9 rate in 2017. His second season didn’t go as well as he took on the challenges of the South Atlantic League. His walk rate was up slightly to 3.75 BB/9 and his K rate also went up to 8.40 K/9. He gave up 63 H in 60.0 innings. His WHIP was 1.47 but he gave up 10 home runs in 60.0 innings. He will have to limit the home runs to help him reach his potential in 2019.
6.180 Tyler Zuber RHP Zuber has been a force out of the bullpen so far in his young career. Zuber made it to Wilmington last year throwing in 20 games. For the season he threw in 43 games putting up 12.35 K/9 while also putting up just 2.24 BB/9. He allowed 48 hits in 51.0 innings. Zuber is moving quickly through the system and shouldn’t slow down in 2019. He has been a solid find for the Royals.
8.240 Holden Capps LHP Moving to the bullpen in Lexington seemed to make a big difference for Capps this season. In 63.1 innings he allowed 68 H and had a 9.81 K/9 and 1.42 BB/9. His WHIP was 1.23. Capps has been a good find as well especially for a $2,500 signing bonus.
9.270 JC Cloney LHP Cloney had a monster 2018 for Idaho Falls winning Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year honors. He went 9-0 in 9 starts for the Chukars with an ERA of just 1.93 in 56.0 innings allowing 12 ER on 49 H, 10 BB, and 50 K. That turns into just 1.61 BB/9 and 8.04 K/9. His WHIP was 1.05. Remember, this is probably the most offensive oriented league in the minors outside of the Cal League. I’m trying not to sell his accomplishments short. Cloney made 5 starts for Lexington to finish the year where he went 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA. The BBs crept up to 2.73 BB/9 but that is really still a very low number. The concern for Cloney is his fastball velocity which tops out at 90. He throws his slider and change for strikes and does a great job keeping the younger hitters off balance. The big test will see how he translates his stuff into success moving up the ladder.
10.300 Jordan Floyd LHP Floyd made 16 appearances at for Idaho Falls out of the bullpen. In 26.2 innings he had a 5.40 ERA allowing 9.6 H/9, 3.38 BB/9, 7.76 K/9, and a WHIP of 1.42.
11.330 Sal Biasi RHP Looked good in his first season for Arizona and Burlington before being dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Jon Perrin in early August.
12.360 Collin Snider RHP Snider made 9 starts and 20 relief appearances for Lexington. In his starts he was 2-6 with an 8.23 ERA. In his relief outings, he was 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA. He only walked 5 batters in his 41.0 relief innings while posting 6.15 K/9. Snider will have to limit runners better going forward with a 1.58 career WHIP if he isn’t going to strike a lot of guys out. Snider is ready for the next level as a reliever.
15.450 Robert Garcia LHP Garcia made 10 appearances for Idaho Falls and 13 appearances for Lexington last season. It really seemed that his stuff got a lot better when he left the 4,500 foot altitude of the Pioneer League and got to the Midwest League. My guess is that his slider really started breaking again in Lexington. In 22.1 innings in Idaho Falls he had a 7.25 K/9 while in 24.0 innings for Lexington he had a 11.62 K/9. I think he also struggled with his increased movement because his walk rate went from 3.22 to 4.12 BB/9. If he can keep the 7.61 H/9 rate and his K rate while making some adjustments to his BB rate, Garcia could turn into quite a bullpen force.
18.540 Marlin Willis LHP Willis spent the whole season with the Burlington Royals. Willis was seen as a project that could pay off huge dividends leading up to the draft with some teams whispering his name near the third round. Unfortunately for him, he dropped but this was good for the Royals who were able to take him in the 18th round. Getting that type of talent later is always a blessing. Willis didn’t have the best of seasons but his goal was to improve everyday. His struggles were obviously his control as he walked 34 batters while striking out 32 batters in 38.2 innings. For Willis to reach those dreams of making the majors, he is going to have to fix his control. He has the overall stuff to be successful, it’s just a matter of harnessing the arsenal. Willis is the only pitcher drafted in 2017 at the Royals instructs this fall.
20.600 Bryar Johnson RHP Johnson was drafted as a 17-year-old out of high school in Myrtle Beach. He spent his first year with the Arizona Royals and last year with Burlington. He has mostly been used as a reliever who has fought with his control. In 59.2 innings he has put up 6.18 BB/9, 11.86 H/9, and 9.05 K/9. Johnson put up a 2.14 WHIP last year in the APPY League. He will need to cut baserunners and regain his control in order to find what the Royals hoped to find when they drafted him. He was a draft and develop kid so it’s time to see the Royals do some developing for him.
22.660 Josh Mitchell LHP Mitchell burst onto the scene throwing mid-90s and mowing down hitters in Lexington to start the year. In 7 outings he posted a 9.90 K/9 rate and 0.90 BB/9 rate. He was quickly promoted to Wilmington. As Mitchell adjusts to the new level you can expect the K rate to stay around 1 per inning and 1 H per inning. His BB rate moved to 4.38 BB/9 after his promotion and he struggled a little with baserunners. Mitchell’s season was cut short when he tore his patella tendon. Mitchell says he is healing fine and will begin his throwing program like normal at the end of December.
24.720 Connor Mayes RHP Mayes was a starter for Idaho Falls this season pitching 62.0 innings while putting up a 5.52 ERA allowing 3.63 BB/9, 11.76 H/9, and 7.55 K/9. His WHIP was 1.71 in the offensively inflated Pioneer League. His control was the knock in college so it is good to see that he has limited the walks so far in pro ball. Mayes should be able to continue starting going forward with a low 90’s fastball, curve, and change.
26.780 Garrett Suchey RHP Suchey was a swing man in his college career at Alabama but has spent all his time in pro ball as a reliever. Suchey had an outstanding season for the Lexington Legends pitching in 21 games and throwing 33.0 innings. He posted a 7.36 H/9 rate with just 1.09 BB/9 and 8.18 K/9. Suchey’s WHIP was 0.94. He is an intriguing bullpen arm that isn’t overpowering but pitchable.
28.840 Tylor Fischer RHP Fischer signed with the Royals in July of 2017 and was assigned to the Arizona Royals this season but has not pitched in a game in pro ball.
30.900 Adam Bainbridge LHP Released after 2017. Bainbridge never threw a pitch for the Royals after dealing with injury.
32.960 Andrew Beckwith RHP Beckwith has been an interesting pick for the Royals. He threw 61.2 innings between Lexington and Wilmington last season posting a 1.75 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP, 2.04 BB/9, and 7.88 K/9. Beckwith drops down to almost submarine at times throwing multiple pitches in the zone from multiple arm angles. This will keep him moving in the organization and the Royals have shown they like guys who throw with lower arm angles like Tim Hill. Beckwith may end up dropping down full time so his stuff will play up more.
33.990 Damon Olds RHP Released after 2017 season with Idaho Falls.
34.102 Jackson Klein RHP Klein was an outfielder mostly in college that has a strong arm. The Royals drafted him as a pitcher hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with a fresh arm that could throw mid-90s. So far the experiment hasn’t quite worked out as Klein has struggled with 36 walks in 25.1 career innings. He does have 23 Ks in that time and has allowed just 31 H. The problem for Klein is he is already 24 and has spent two years in rookie ball working to become a pitcher.

One thought on “The 2017 Draft Class – Pitchers

  1. Evan Steele was one of the biggest 2018 disappointments for me. He was MIA. I don’t think I heard one news report on him after being the highest DP. Reminded me of Ashe Russell. Why the secrecy on his health?? My hope was Steele and Tillo would advance together through system. Zuber was one of my favorites for 2018. He was terrific being lights out at end of games. Big sleeper in KC system.


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