Earlier today, the Royals announced that they have signed three players to minor league contracts. Infielder Brian Bocock, outfielder Johermyn Chavez, and right-handed pitcher Cory Wade will all be a part of the Royals’ organization in 2014.
Bocock will turn 29 prior to next season, and has spent his 8 year professional career with 5 different organizations. Drafted by the Giants in 2006, Bocock played a few seasons in the minors before making his major league debut in 2008. After that stint, he didn’t return to the big leagues until 2010 for a 6 game cup of coffee, and Bocock has been in the minor leagues since then. Bocock seems to be a versatile defender, playing at all 4 infield positions, though shortstop appears to be his primary position. And while he’s not necessarily known for his bat (.606 OPS in 2,681 plate appearances in the minors) Bocock does have a walk rate of 9%. My guess is that Bocock will be in Omaha next year in a utility role.
Chavez is just 24 years old, but will be joining his 4th professional franchise in 2014. Last season, he split time between the Cubs’ AA affiliate as an outfielder and their rookie-level club as a pitcher, though it seems like the Royals prefer Chavez’s bat. In 2,834 plate appearances, Chavez boasts a line of .261/.340/.438. His 8.4% walk rate and .177 ISO are quite respectable, though not overly impressive. Defensively, Chavez has experience at all 3 outfield spots, but right field is where he’s spent the majority of his time. With Jorge Bonifacio at Northwest Arkansas, I’d expect Chavez to move up to Omaha, or be shifted to left field at AA.
Wade bounced around three different organizations in 2013, appearing in 42 games with the AAA teams of the Cubs, Rays, and Mets. In 67.2 innings, he posted a 3.86 ERA, struck out 6.8 batters per 9 innings, and walked 2.8 batters per 9. Those strikeout and walk rates are slightly worse than his career numbers of 7.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 582 career minor league innings. Wade has appeared in the big leagues with the Dodgers and Yankees, putting up a 3.65 ERA in 177.2 innings to go along with 6.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. He throws in the upper 80s with his fastball, and also offers a curveball and changeup. The 30 year old righty will likely be assigned to Omaha to provide even more depth for the Kansas City bullpen.