Welcome to a new series called Get to know a Royals prospect! In this series, I’ll be looking at prospects at each level, giving you some background and analysis about each of them. The talent in the Kansas City Royals minor league system runs extremely deep. This series will aim to help you get to know about some of the great players that make up the Royals minor league system, including the ones you read and hear about daily and some of the not-so-well-known prospects. I’ll give you the background of where the player came from, take a look at their minor league numbers, provide some analysis about each player, and potentially feature some incredible stories that look at the human behind the athlete.
In this next edition we take a look at catcher Kale Emshoff who one was one of the prize undrafted free agent signings out of the unprecedented 2020 COVID-19 year draft. Emshoff played his college ball at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Prior to the season being shut down of the NCAA season, Emshoff went absolutely NUTS in 17 games. He hit .417 with seven home runs, 12 RBIs, and 14 walks. Remember… that was in 17 GAMES!
He was ranked the 147th best draft prospect by MLB.com that year, which lets you know scouts notice the talent he has. The first thing you notice in Emshoff is his power. It is LOUD. The best part of his power is that he has proven that he can hit the ball to all parts of the field. Despite a somewhat high strikeout rate, he has an amazing feeling for the strike zone which was shown by his 13.5% walk rate. Adding on to that, he has really improved his ability behind the plate and those improvements lead you to believe that he will stick at catcher.
He made his way to High-A in 2021 playing eight games for the Quad Cities River Bandits but spent most of 2021 playing in Low-A for the Columbia Fireflies. He hit a combined .267/.378/.480 with 16 doubles, 10 home runs, 45 RBI, and 36 walks in 63 games. Those are numbers you like to see in someone’s first professional season. He had a solid .232 ISO which was the 5th best by hitters in Low-A. His 31.6% strikeout rate is worrisome but there are still plenty of opportunities for him to make adjustments in 2022 and cut down that K rate.
An interesting fact about Emshoff is that he owns an athletic clothing brand called Seams Apparel which aims to unite athletes and fans of all kinds. He built the brand on the pillars of hard work and determination to achieve success. The goal of the brand is to support athletes everywhere. He adds to the list of great character humans that the Royals tend to target. Emshoff is just another fun catching prospect to watch for the Royals. If he can cut down his strikeout rate (below 30%) in 2022, he could really make that next significant step to hit his ceiling as a prospect.
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