The Royals took nine LHPs in the 2017 draft. There are more that we should watch, but here are two that I’m looking at specifically.
JC Cloney was a 9th round pick out of Arizona. Cloney was the Wildcats Friday night starter even though he worked in the mid-80s. The left-hander has a knack for winning games going 15-2 so far in his pro career. The Royals have talked about moving him aggressively this spring, possibly even starting in NWA. Cloney is what he is. He isn’t going to suddenly be throwing mid-90s. Cloney is a guy who has a good change up that makes everything else better. He throws a slider and his pitchability is something the Royals like. Some Royals officials believe it is better to challenge him than let him stagnate in the low minors. I’m watching to see if he does indeed get the call to a higher level and how he does there. If he can continue to get wins, even with lesser velo, he deserves to keep climbing the ladder.
Josh Mitchell was a 22nd round pick out of the University of Pittsburgh. Mitchell tore his patella tendon while pitching last year in Wilmington during his delivery. Mitchell sits around 92-94 and reports were that his fastball had hit 98 mph. Mitchell says he is feeling better than ever and retooled some of his delivery in the off season allowing him to use his lower half better. He throws a 4-seam, 2-seam, slider, and change. I’m watching to seeing how he bounces back from the injury. He could be a big part of the pen in the future and should start in Wilmington where he had pitched in 21 games last year.
Let me know who you are going to be watching this summer in the comments or at @RoyalsFarm and @AwzRocks.
Photo by Jillian Waitkus.