It is that time again! We had a great list for players and pitchers of the month for April and some of them have stayed the same for May. There were some impressive hitting performances at the Double-A level. As well as some top prospect pitchers bouncing back from adversity and injury. And of course we all know about Italian Breakfast!
Omaha Storm Chasers
Position Player: Vinnie Pasquantino – 1B/DH
Stats: 26 G, 31 H, 9 2B, 12 HR, 35 RBI, .320 AVG, .804 SLG, .393 OBP, 1.197 OPS
I mean, if it wasn’t obvious already, Vinnie Pasquantino was EASILY the May Player of the Month for the Omaha Storm Chasers. I think everyone here at Royals Farm has covered Pasquantino in some way or another. I am about out of analysis, scouting lingo, and advanced metrics to show you how good he is. There just isn’t much more to say. He mashes. He has one of the best hit tools in all of the minor leagues. I don’t think there is a minor leaguer hotter than Vinnie P right now. He’s ready for the show. You know it, I know it, and the Kansas City Royals know it.
Pitcher: Jackson Kowar – RHP
Stats: 28 IP, 27 H, 10 ER, 12 BB, 37 K, 3.21 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
Well this is a beautiful sight to see. Kowar struggled mightily in his stint in the bullpen to start the year in the show. Once he was sent down to Triple-A, the results were a lot of the same. But Kowar has really stepped it up in May and has made his way back to showing off his elite stuff. His May 25th start, he went five scoreless innings striking out nine and walking two. He struggled a bit with command in his most recent start, walking five over four innings pitched. Regardless, this is the month Koward needed to get his confidence back and to hopefully take that next step in his development as a pitcher. With many of the injuries in the Royals rotation and the struggles of the back end starters, Kowar may get another shot to show what he can do at the big league level again soon.
Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Position Player: Michael Massey – 2B
Stats: 24 G, 37 H, 7 2B, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 13 BB, 5 SB, .381 AVG, .439 OBP, .577 SLG, 1.016 OPS
Woweee this might have been a harder selection if Massey wasn’t scorching hot as there were multiple hitters who were hot in the Month of May for the Naturals. This is now back-to-back months for Massey. He absolutely tortured Double-A pitchers during May hitting dang near closeto .400 for the month and bringing his RBI total for the season up to 45. The hit tool is legit. The amount of quality contact he can make and his ability to barrell up pitches in insane. His power is making significant strides as it was well overlooked in the past due to his lack of playing time because of injuries. Already 24, Massey is looking to fast track himself to Omaha very soon. There could be a chance we see Massey this year if he stays this hot, but expect a debut to be more likely in 2023.
Pitcher: Drew Parrish – LHP
Stats: 30.2 IP, 15 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 29 K, 0.59 ERA, 0.62 WHIP
Yes, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. You read that right… two earned runs and only four walks in 30.2 IP. As much as Massey was a nightmare to Double-A pitching, Parrish was a nightmare to Double-A hitters across the league. He has great secondary stuff and really good command of all of his pitches. His fastball plays well enough because of that. He gets flack from analysts because his fastball sits in the low-90s usually but he has been known to be able to get into the mid-90s. His secondary stuff and command is good enough that he can offset the lack of velocity. There is a good chance we see Parrish in a Royals uniform by the end of the year.
Quad Cities River Bandits
Position Player: Dillan Shrum – 1B
Stats: 20 G, 14 H, 4 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 11 BB, .237 BA, .370 OBP, .542 SLG, .912 OPS
Well…there definitely was a lack of offense in Quad Cities for the month of may. Shrum led the team with his .912 OPS. Shrum is an undrafted free agent who was signed in 2021 out of the University of Nevada-Reno (Go Pack!). Shrum absolutely tore up the Mountain West Conference that year with a .468 AVG, 15 HRs, and 47 RBI. He’s a bit older for High-A at 24-year-old but does show a unique ability to get on base with his near 17% walk rate. He is still working on chasing pitches out of the zone and getting a better feel for the strike zone.
Pitcher: Noah Murdock – RHP
Stats: 21.2 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 10 BB, 25 K, 3.74 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
It was fantastic to see Murdock out there and bouncing back in the month of May, coming back from a plethora of injuries, it has just been great to see Murdock out there throwing. He’s got a fastball in the mid-90s and has really been working on being able to mix in his offspeed pitches more to get batters out. His best outing in May was where he went 4.1 innings, giving up one hit and striking out six. Seeing Murdock build up his innings, stay healthy, and have success is a delight to watch. He just seems to be a stand up individual and having overcome the injury setbacks he has, it must feel good to be out there competing.
Position Player: Guillermo Quintana – 1B
Stats: 23 G, 17 H, 4 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 16 BB, 4 SB, .224 AVG, .358 OBP, .395 SLG, .753 OPS
It has been a struggle to say the least for the 14-32 Columbia Fireflies. The offense was very stagnant in the month of May and Quintana was ultimately their best hitter. The 21-year-old who is listed as a catcher has played most of his games at first base for the Fireflies. He’s shown good walk rates paired with good strikeout rates, but has struggled with making consistent solid contact. He’s also apparently lost a ball in his shirt while trying to pick a throw at first base once as well.
Pitcher: Luinder Avila – RHP
Stats: 25 IP, 23 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 20 K, 2.52 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
This pick will most definitely get Alex excited. He cracked the Royals preseason top 50 at #50 and has been flashing some really good stuff. His fastball has even been clocked up to 96 mph. Only 20 years old, Avila is still growing and learning how to get a better feel for his secondaries. His changeup is probably his best offspeed pitch and has made a lot of Low-A hitters look silly. Avila is one to keep your eye on as he could be another arm that could pop for the Royals.
Honorable Mentions (Hitters)
Maikel Garcia, SS – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
A doubles machine, Garcia had eight of them this month, surpassing both Loftin and Massey. Garcia pairs a plus hit tool with an uncanny ability to get on base along with plus speed. He had eight stolen bases this month to put his total at 16 for the year. The Royals added him to their 40-man roster for a reason. He has an advanced approach at the plate, plays really good defense, and just flat out hits. He is one you want to keep your eye on and is probably the most under-the-radar bat in the Royals system.
Nick Loftin, OF – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Loftin was ranked fourth on the team in OPS at.861. He keeps showing off his advanced hit tool, striking out at an insanely low 11.6% this year. He hit seven doubles, three home runs and stole two bases while driving in 15 runs. Loftin has been making the move to Centerfield as the Royals are looking for someone to potentially take the reins there in the future. Can he produce enough defensively to be the Royals’ future centerfield? I took a deeper dive on this topic earlier in the year.
Tucker Bradley, OF – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Bradley is just fun to watch. As Alex says he’s a “professional hitter”. He does just about a little bit of everything right. He stayed red hot in May, slashing .319/.388/.597 with a .985 OPS and four doubles and four home runs. He is easily the best undrafted signing by the Royals in the 2020 MLB draft. If the college season continued, there was a good chance that Bradley could’ve gone in the first three rounds that year. Bradley was an honorable mention last month as well. The Naturals are just loaded but he could become their player of the month in the future. He just continues to hit at each level he has gone to and given his age, could make a push to be called up to Triple-A sooner than later.
Logan Porter, C – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
There was only one hitter with a higher OPS in May than Michael Massey and it was Logan Porter. Porter rounded up the Naturals hitters who were just terrorizing pitchers in the month of May. What kept him from getting the player of the month is that he had 20 less at bats than Massey. He still knocked in 13 with four doubles and four home runs. The 26-year-old backstop has been known to have some pop but it is nice to see some early developments in his hit tool in 2022.
Honorable Mentions (Pitchers)
Alec Marsh, RHP – Northwest Arkansas Naturals
45 strikeouts in 23.2 innings is all I needed to see to give Marsh an honorable mention. Sure, the ERA is a bit higher than you want to see, but the stuff has been nasty. Marsh has an absurd 38.3% strikeout rate. We all know that command and control has been his main issue, but it is hard to argue that the stuff isn’t elite. It might be the best in the organization.
Christian Chamberlain, LHP – Quad Cities River Bandits
Chamberlain was recently promoted to Double-A after just dominating hitters in the month of May. He was off to a slow start but really turned it on. He went 12.1 innings giving up just four hits, allowing only three earned runs and striking out 21. That all led to a 2.19 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Another arm who has dealt with some injuries, he has the makings to be a solid big league reliever if he can stay on the field.
Noah Cameron, LHP – Columbia Fireflies
The pitcher of the month for the Fireflies would have most definitely gone to Cameron if he wasn’t deservedly promoted to High-A during May. He struck out 22 batters in 14.2 IP while only giving up three earned, compiling a 1.84 ERA in Low-A. His High-A debut was insanity as well. He went four innings, giving up three hits and striking out TWELVE. That’s right. Every out was recorded by a strikeout. He is quickly becoming one of the most under-the-radar prospects in the Royals organization.
Photo Credits: Josh Franzen (@PrtTimeFranimal)