Daniel Tillo has thrown in two games for Team USA in the Premier 12 Tournament. The tournament is a qualifier for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The top six teams will receive a spot in the Olympic field. There is another qualifier tournament held in March if the US doesn’t clinch a berth.
Tillo has been awesome so far. He has faced 12 batters allowing only 1 to reach base. That one batter who reached hit a lazy fly ball to left that the outfielder flat out dropped. The left fielder was camped and the ball hit the pinky finger of his glove and bounced out and to the ground. The other 11 batters have been over matched. Six have struck out. Two grounded to short. One grounded to second. And two hit weak grounders back to Tillo.
Tillo has thrown a combined 3.2 innings in his two outings allowing no runs of his own. One inherited runner did score from third when catcher Erik Kratz got handcuffed by a Tillo fastball knee high on the inner half of the plate. It wasn’t like Tillo missed his spot and Kratz just whiffed on the pitch. It went to the backstop allowing the run to score.
Tillo’s stuff has been awesome in these two games. The fastball was working at 96 while the slider was breaking hard to the glove side. I haven’t seen any change ups. He got swings and misses from RHHs as well as LHHs. Tillo is pounding the top of the zone with his fastball and hitters are having a hard time catching up fouling a lot of balls off with late swings. This is telling me he is working with a good spin efficiency. The hitter’s results are telling me he is extremely hard to hit right now. Batters are a combined 0-12 with no hits, no walks, and 6 strikeouts.
Tillo has been an awesome reliever for Team USA so far. He could probably fast track to the big leagues as a reliever for KC but the Royals more than likely aren’t playing for anything in 2020. Because of that, the 6’5″ lefty will probably continue to work as a starting pitcher in Northwest Arkansas. After all, you want him to be a starter until he can’t. Singer, Kowar, Tillo, Lynch, and Bubic could possibly be the best starting rotation in the minor leagues next year if they all start at NWA. Whether it’s in the pen or the rotation, the future is bright for Tillo with the Royals.
Photo from Daniel Tillo’s twitter.