The Royals thinned out their spring training rosters again today, sending seven pitchers to minor league camp.
The biggest names among them are Yordano Ventura and Will Smith, two standouts in the Royals Cactus League season to this point. Also among the players are Everett Teaford, Nathan Adcock (both of whom were optioned to Omaha with Smith) and minor league invitees Michael Mariot, Brian Sanches and Blaine Boyer. They, like Ventura, are not yet assigned to a minor league level.
None of these are surprising moves, despite some buzz about Smith and Ventura last week. Smith threw 11 innings and gave up just two earned runs, striking out ten batters while walking just one. He was mentioned as a potential finalist for the Royals fifth starter, but since he has options remaining, and the Royals pitching staff is mostly established (or, at least, the names are known, just not in what arrangement), he’ll go to Omaha and likely start their opener. He’ll be one of the first starters recalled if an injury requires the Royals to tap into their depth.
Ventura threw well during most of his time in big league camp, though his final start on Friday saw him get roughed up by the Dodgers. He was also mentioned in the fifth starter sweepstakes, but few gave him much of a shot. He’s not on the 40 man roster and has just six starts above High A. He can still make an impact this year, though, but it will be a big jump if he does. From the sounds of it, his secondary stuff has looked good, and the plan is still to have him as a starter next season. He may spend a month or two in Northwest Arkansas before reaching Omaha later in the year. September is my guess for his big league debut.
Teaford and Adcock should be part of the Triple A rotation as well and could be shuttled up and down I-29 when the need arises this year. Both have experience as starters, long relievers or middle relievers and should be reasonable options if they have to fill in.
Sanches allowed seven runners in four innings, striking out just one. Boyer gave up three runs in 4.1 innings. Neither are really intriguing options and probably come out of the bullpen in Omaha. Mariot made multiple late-inning appearances in spring and earned three saves in the process, finishing with seven innings pitched and three runs allowed. He reached Triple A last year after spending most of the year in Double A. He’s not in line to reach the majors, but he’ll be good depth to have in the upper minors in 2013.
These moves drop the Royals spring roster to 45 players with two weeks until opening day.