Mar 2, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Patrick Schuster (57) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Schuster Has Been Claimed by the Kansas City Royals

It appears as though we know why Francisley Bueno has not been given the final spot in the Kansas City Royals bullpen. The Royals still had another pitcher in mind to provide some competition before Opening Day.

Patrick Schuster, who was the first overall pick in the Rule V draft by the San Diego Padres, was claimed off waivers by the Royals. In order to clear a spot for Schuster on the 40 man roster, Carlos Peguero, who had been in the running for the Royals fifth outfield spot, was designated for assignment.

Feb 21, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Patrick Schuster (57) poses for a photo during photo day at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The 23 year old Schuster, despite not having pitched above A ball, is an interesting player. Last season, pitching for the Visalia Rawhide of the California Leauge, Schuster put together a 1.83 ERA and a 1.083 WHiP, striking out 45 batters in 44.1 innings of work. Although he did not work as a lefty specialist for Visalia, that may be his role in the major leagues. Last season, Schuster struck out 28.6% of lefties that he faced, while allowing 10.9% line drive rate and walking only 6.0% of those batters. Against righties, Schuster only struck out 22.7% of the hitters faced, while walking 14.8% of righties and allowing a 23.6% line drive rate. Although Schuster allowed a lower batting average against to righties, they hit him harder than lefties did last season.

Featuring a sinker and a slider while mixing in the occasional fastball and change, Patrick Schuster may not be a strikeout pitcher in the majors. Based on his extreme ground ball rates in the minors, he may be able to thrive by getting a key groundout against a tough lefty hitter. Even if his strikeout rates do not translate to the majors, Schuster could be an interesting piece in a bullpen.

If nothing else, Patrick Schuster would seemingly have more upside than Francisley Bueno. With less than a week left before the start of the regular season, the Royals will need to make that determination soon.

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