The Royals had to make a lot of decisions and changes during the offseason. So far, they’re paying off, as they stand alone in first place. The rebuilt pitching staff looks good, the hitting is waking up, and it’s about as good a start as could have been reasonably expected.
But let us pause and remember those Royals who left the organization over the winter with a little “Where are they now?” examination.
One of the biggest moves of the MLB offseason was the Royals trade of Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi and Patrick Leonard for James Shields, Wade Davis and (eventually) Elliot Johnson. It’s natural to look wistfully at Durham to see how the Royals prospects are faring.
I’m sure there’s a little part of every Royals fan who was hoping that Myers would flop outside of the Royals organization. Just a little. So far, however, that’s not the case. The Rays are playing service time games and stashing him in Triple A, where Myers is, understandably, raking.
He’ll probably make it to the big leagues in June.
Of course he wasn’t the only part of the trade. The Royals also sent Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery (as well as Patrick Leonard) to Tampa.
Montgomery gave up four runs in three innings during spring training and, so far, hasn’t been able to tap back into the talent that made him a top pitching prospect as recently as 2011. He was placed on the seven day disabled list on April 21 after making just one start for Durham.
Odorizzi is still able to strike batters out, but he’s still averaging less than six innings a start due to more pitch count questions. He’s striking out 12.3 batters per nine innings so far, which bodes well for some success. If he becomes a bit more efficient he’ll be leaning more towards the #2/#3 starter ceiling rather than his #4 safe zone.
Things haven’t gone as well for Leonard since the trade. He showed good power and on base ability with the Burlington Royals in the Appalachian League last year, but in Low A Bowling Green, he’s striking out a quarter of the time but with no power to show for it. He’s still just 20 years old and there’s time to grow, so if I’m a Tampa fan, I’m not worried, but from a Royals fan perspective, I’m not sweating losing his bat.