Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
4. Christian Binford
While fellow prospect, and 2014 first round selection, Brandon Finnegan gets the attention as a possible bullpen piece for the Royals in September, it may be that Christian Binford has a better chance at seeing time in Kansas City this fall. For a player who was drafted in the 30th round in 2011, making the Royals 40 man roster in time for a possible playoff push would be quite the moment for what has been a meteoric rise through the system.
Despite not being a highly touted prospect, Binford has dominated at virtually every level he has played at. Although he has typically been much younger than the competition he has faced, Binford has posted a career 2.59 ERA and a 1.086 WHiP. At just 21 years old, he has held his own in his eight starts with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, producing a 3.919 ERA and a 1.062 WHiP, striking out 38 batters against six walks.
Christian Binford does not have overpowering stuff, throwing a fastball in the low 90’s and mixing in a sinker and a slider. Yet, he generates ground balls at a decent rate, possessing a career mark of 1.45 ground balls per fly ball. Even if Binford does not come up as a starter for the Royals, he could still have a role in Kansas City as a ground ball throwing reliever, coming in with a runner on base to attempt to get a needed double play.
Binford may not be the first pitching prospect that one thinks of with the Royals, but he may be get a chance to produce in Kansas City before some of the other, more highly touted, pitchers come though the system. That chance could even come as soon as September.