The Royals kick off a 10-game homestand, their first homestand for the month of June. With a 16-33 record, and morale especially low among Royals fans (especially on Twitter), the Royals did announce a special “Fountain Pass” deal where fans could buy standing room tickets for every Royals home game this month for one low price.
This is probably a story in itself, and maybe I’ll take the plunge and experiment with it in July, should they carry the promotion over a month. Unfortunately, with parking 20 bucks as it is (and that’s for general), I do wonder how much of an effect this will have on attendance, which I’m sure the Royals are worrying about since the club has gotten off to such a rough start to the 2022 season.
Anyways, let’s move on to the jottings, as I focus on three Royals’ “player-related” stories from the past couple of days.
Royals Acquire Albert Abreu from the Rangers
The Royals bullpen has been “bad” to say the least (as I have written about previously on this blog to a much greater extent).
Royals relievers rank 29th in ERA and BB/9 and 30th in WHIP, according to Fangraphs. While Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont have held the fort for the Royals bullpen (relatively speaking), the rest of the bullpen has pretty much imploded, with Taylor Clarke, Collin Snider, and Jake Brentz being prime examples.
Thus, it’s not a surprise that the Royals would trade for a reliever, albeit one with considerable risk.
Abreu was once a top prospect in the New York Yankees system, but control issues basically forced him to a bullpen role, and eventually out of the Yankees organization. Abreu found himself in the Rangers organization this season and pitched 8.2 innings in seven appearances before being designated for assignment.
The 26-year-old boasted an impressive four-seamer that averaged 97.7 MPH, as well as a swinging-strike rate of 10.3 percent in his limited tenure this season in Texas. He has been known to touch the triple-digits on occasion, as evidenced by this 100 MPH fastball he flashed last season with the Yankees:
It’s not a deal that’s going to move the needle for the Royals, but it does provide some much-needed bullpen depth at a time when the bullpen is struggling. For all of Dayton Moore’s faults as GM, he has been decent when it comes to finding and acquiring bullpen talent, especially from other organizations.
Last season around this time, the Royals acquired Domingo Tapia and Joel Payamps, who had both been designated for assignment by the Mariners and Blue Jays, respectively. Tapia is no longer in the Royals organization, but Payamps has been one of the Royals’ better relievers, as he is posting a 2.95 ERA in 21.1 IP this season.
The Royals did lose Yohanse Morel in the trade for Abreu. Morel was the last holdover from the Kelvin Herrera trade with the Nationals back in 2018.
Morel has always flashed the potential to be a special arm, but he’s 21-years-old, currently Rule 5 eligible, and hasn’t advanced beyond High-A ball. This season with the Quad Cities River Bandits, Morel is posting a 4.08 ERA and 10.7 K/9 in 17.2 IP and 10 appearances. That being said, this is a repeat of High-A for him, so it’s not surprising that Morel is performing better, especially after producing a 6.66 ERA in 50 IP with the River Bandits last year.
Losing high-upside pitching talent is always tough, but Morel wasn’t on any Royals Top Prospect lists, and there are some guys in low-A Columbia who could take his place and still have some time until they are Rule 5 eligible, with Samuel Valerio, John McMillon, and Luinder Avila being prime examples.
Parrish Makes Leap to Omaha
Drew Parrish doesn’t have as big a name as some other pitching prospects in the Royals system, which explains why he is the 17th-best prospect in the Royals system, according to Fangraphs.
However, Parrish has been the most productive pitcher in the Minor Leagues this season for the Royals, which is a big reason why he not only was named the Royals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May but the Texas League’s as well.
Through 10 starts this season, Parrish has pitched 55 innings and is generating a 2.13 ERA as well as a K/9 of 7.85 and K/BB ratio of 3.43 for the Naturals. As a result, the Royals organization announced that they would move Parrish to Triple-A Omaha and join the Storm Chasers rotation.
Parrish doesn’t boast overwhelming stuff, but he sports solid command, and an efficient three-pitch mix, highlighted by a changeup that’s graded as a 60 by Fangraphs.
Here’s an example of Parrish demonstrating his superior command and sneaky stuff in a late April start with Northwest Arkansas against Amarillo:
I am not sure if Parrish has that much upside, and to me, he seems closer to a Kris Bubic-type than a Daniel Lynch. Nonetheless, Parrish has earned his call-up to Triple-A and he is worth paying attention to in Omaha over the next couple of months.
If Zack Greinke is not fully healthy, or if Carlos Hernandez, Jackson Kowar, or Bubic struggle once again when they return to the Majors, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Parrish make his Royals debut this year, especially if he continues to shove in the International League.
Kansas City is Anxiously Waiting for Pasquantino…
Vinnie Pasquantino continues to do it all, as he was named the International League player of the month for May after a torrid month at the plate with the Storm Chasers.
I’m not sure what else the Royals need to see from Pasquantino at this point, barring a few more arbitrary “at-bats” (as I wrote about before).
The 24-year-old first-base prospect is slashing .291/.385/.651 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI in 208 plate appearances. He continues to show a patient eye at the plate, as he is striking out only 14.4 percent of the time and posting a K/BB ratio of 0.87.
Lastly, his power continues to mature, as he is generating a .360 ISO, which is 110 points higher than his ISO mark in Double-A last season. He also cemented his case as the International League’s best player on May 31st, the last day of May, with this Titanic blast against Indianapolis at Werner Park in Omaha:
Pasquantino has been such a folk hero already in Kansas City sports circles, that Cody and Gold of 610 AM Radio have already created a song for Pasquantino, even though he has NOT played a game in a Royals uniform this season.
The Royals front office, as well as manager Mike Matheny, continue to back Carlos Santana and Ryan O’Hearn at the first-base position as of now. They perhaps are keeping the hope that a solid stretch of play from those two could help generate some kind of prospect package in a trade.
But “Vinnie-Mania” is becoming more and more fervent every day in Kansas City…
And Moore and Picollo won’t be able to ignore it much longer.
Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images