The tone of the Kansas Metropolis Royals’ 2022 season has definitely modified over the previous few months. The membership’s robust end in 2021 and returning veterans set considerably excessive expectations for this 12 months. Followers anticipated an 80-win season led by rookie infielder Bobby Witt Jr. and different native views. Nevertheless, the document deteriorated and little or no went the Royals’ manner.
The followers are rightfully exhausted. There are nonetheless brilliant spots, however the group has nothing to play for proper now. It typically seems in freshmen, veterans and trainers alike. On the finish of the day, although, there’ll nonetheless be a 2023 season. Regardless of some questions and totally different paths, there are nonetheless championship aspirations to construct on. An necessary a part of that future would be the present Royals prospects.
Most of the farm groups are in the identical place as their main league counterparts. None of Kansas Metropolis’s minor league associates have a document above .500, and several other are on the backside of the rankings. It has been a protracted stretch because the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals and Excessive-A Quad Cities River Bandits had championships in 2021.
There are a number of particular person prospects who’re stepping as much as shut out the 2022 season. Whereas not all of them will determine into the Royals’ long-term plans proper now, they’re definitely making their names identified both manner.
Jackson Reetz – Catcher, Omaha Storm Chasers
A brand new face within the Storm Chasers competitors, catcher Jakson Reetz, began his tenure with a bang.
In an August 28 doubleheader, Reetz went 5-for-6 with a house run in his first plate look. A Nebraska native and Norris graduate, Reetz joined Omaha after the Milwaukee Brewers designated him for task and he elected free company after clearing waivers.
Reetz had many connections to the Storm Chasers. He performed for supervisor Scott Thorman within the Arizona Fall League in 2019 and bench coach Tommy Shields when he was the pitching coordinator for the Washington Nationals. Reetz started his profession within the Nationals group, finally taking part in eight years there. He has already made his MLB debut and recorded successful whereas in a Nationals uniform. Having loved that degree, Reetz clearly needs extra.
“My purpose is to be within the massive leagues and have a very good profession within the massive leagues,” Reetz mentioned. “I am simply making an attempt to get again.”
A 26-year-old, Reetz can nonetheless contribute in Kansas Metropolis if the necessity arises. Whereas catcher Freddy Fermin is on hearth in Omaha, he and Sebastian Rivero have been courted by massive league prospects. Reetz is an influence hitter, with 26 dwelling runs in 2022. His .980 OPS is spectacular and has solely improved since his debut with the Storm Chasers.
There’s a dearth of ready-to-catch prospects within the Royals farm system. Reetz can fill that gap as he rejuvenates his profession with a change of surroundings.
Carter Jensen – Catcher, Fireflies Colombia
Sticking with catchers, there’s a prospect on the rise with the Single-A Columbia Fireflies.
The 78th total choose within the 2021 MLB Draft, Carter Jensen profiled as a defensive venture whereas having a refined strategy on the plate as a excessive schooler. He debuted on the Royals’ prime 30 prospect record at No. 20 total, three spots behind first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino.
Jensen started the 2022 season in Columbia, a very good signal for a really younger prospect. His performances in Could and June left one thing to be desired, nonetheless, as followers questioned his profile. Nevertheless, he turned the nook in July and August.
His 23 strikeouts and 22 walks in August are probably the most he is ever had in a single month, whereas additionally having simply 12 strikeouts. His 1.043 OPS in August leads the Fireflies – one other cherry on prime. Jensen lit up the stat sheet with massive dwelling runs in April, however now seems to be like a extra full participant.
Jensen is the youngest of the Royals’ prime 30 prospects. He is additionally the group’s finest catching prospect there. For now, he is better in Single-A than MJ Melendez was a 12 months youthful. Jensen may be very thrilling to observe and could possibly be a quick riser in 2023.
Diego Hernandez – Outfielder, Northwest Arkansas Naturals
The Royals’ overhaul of their growth employees has persistently paid dividends. Diego Hernández is a superb instance.
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Hernández, one of many Royals’ solely excellent worldwide prospects, is having a profession 12 months in 2022. His profession highs in hits, dwelling runs and RBIs have propelled him into the Naturals’ lineup. Kansas Metropolis director of participant growth/outfield coordinator Mitch Maier famous Hernández’s mechanical modifications:
“Diego has made modifications to his swing mechanics which have actually helped him,” Maier mentioned. “He can run. He is a contact-oriented participant. We wished to indicate him what his 12 months goes to be like subsequent 12 months. We have nonetheless bought issues to proceed to work on. However he he has taken up what we began together with his motion and made large strides.”
Hernández made his Double-A debut on August 9 and has not missed successful on the plate. He presently has a 10-game on-base streak with an enormous dwelling run in that span.
Most impressively, his manufacturing on the plate hasn’t dropped regardless of the promotion. There’s an comprehensible studying curve, but Hernández continues to be churning out hits, getting on base and catching the eye of followers.
In line with MLB.com, Hernández ranks twenty fourth in Kansas Metropolis’s farm system. That is his highest rating up to now. He has an upward development, and his August is many promising.
Frank Mozzicato – Pitcher, Columbia Fireflies
Many, together with this author, had been confused by the Royals deciding on highschool pitcher Frank Mozzicato with the No. 7 choose within the 2021 MLB draft. Now, he seems to be worthy of that choice.
Mozzicato was an unimpressive prospect in highschool, however he seems to be good for the Fireflies. His fastball-curveball mixture continues to be growing, but it surely has helped him out of some jams. His command continues to be uncooked, although that is frequent for a lot of 19-year-old pitchers.
Mozzicato had one of the best month of his younger profession in August.
He has a 2.70 ERA in 4 August begins, all of which lasted at the least 4 innings. His August 24 outing was removed from his better of the month, putting out seven batters in six shutout innings.
There’s nonetheless numerous work to do, particularly together with his command, however Mozzicato is placing a string of excellent begins collectively. A lot of his statistics throughout the season (WHIP, Ok/9, and so forth.) are trending in the proper route. He is displaying his progress with statistics, not simply an eye fixed take a look at.
Mozzicato might have saved his finest for his closing remaining begins in 2022. If followers need hope for the 2023 farm system, his progress can be an enormous optimistic.
Jonathan Bowlan – Pitcher, Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Jonathan Bowlan is the customarily forgotten member of the Royals’ 2018 draft class. Whereas his performances stay tough, he’s ending 2022 robust.
The 58th total choose within the 2018 MLB Draft, Bowlan has hit a couple of bumps in his profession. His 2019 efficiency in Excessive-A raised his expectations as he posted a 3.14 ERA and 9.25 Ok/9 in 23 begins. He then noticed no motion in 2020 and performed in 4 video games in 2021. Bowlan left that fourth sport after two outings, lacking the remainder of the season after present process Tommy John surgical procedure.
“It was undoubtedly not enjoyable,” Bowlan mentioned. “It was very disappointing, and the following week in Arkansas, it was like, ‘Man, I am not going to be on a baseball discipline for over a 12 months.’ And these ideas undergo your head. However I even have a extremely good help system with my teammates, household and buddies, they usually get me by way of every day. Making an attempt to come back again stronger than earlier than.”
Put bluntly, Bowlan hasn’t appeared like the identical pitcher total in 2022. He had a shutout efficiency in Excessive-A, making him look able to attempt Double-A once more. Nevertheless, he has posted unspectacular numbers. A 6.48 ERA over six begins is not nice, and his strikeout charge has dropped considerably. His August numbers present some promise.
Bowlan was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week after a stellar efficiency on August 28. He threw 5 scoreless innings whereas giving up simply two hits and earned his first win of 2022. That is an awesome signal as Bowlan continues to return to type.
Bowlan is Kansas Metropolis’s Thirteenth-ranked prospect. Whereas this present system struggles to develop high quality pitching, he could possibly be a very good one to function if his restoration goes easily. For the sake of followers and managers, everybody hopes he has a powerful end to 2022.