Royals Acquire Jandel Gustave from Red Sox


Photo courtesy of: Bryan Green

The Royals didn’t end their moves today with the Kendrys Morales signing, as they announced that they’ve acquired Jandel Gustave from the Red Sox, who selected him in the Rule 5 Draft this morning. Gustave spent the last 5 years in the Astros’ organization.

The 22-year old righty has an explosive fastball that consistently touches 100 MPH, and that was as a starter. Since he’s a Rule 5 guy, the Royals will try to use him out of the bullpen, meaning, they have yet another flamethrower at Ned Yost‘s disposal. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper said Gustave would be the hardest thrower in the pen.

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Of course, even with all of that fire, a pitcher has to be effective, so Gustave needs to improve his control. He’s walked 146 batters in 196.1 minor league innings. In the last two years, however, he’s walked “just” 52 batters in 122.2 innings. That’s still a walk rate of 9.2%, but it does show improvement.

He pitched for Houston’s Low-A affiliate in 2014, and in 79 innings, Gustave struck out more than a batter per inning, while walking about 3.3 batters per 9 innings. He made 14 starts and 9 relief appearances, all while giving up just 3 home runs. Limiting dingers has been a strength for Gustave for his entire career, as he’s surrendered 7 of them in those 196 innings.

Obviously having pitched no higher than Low-A, the Royals won’t expose Gustave to more than low-leverage innings so they can protect him. If they are able to keep him on the big league roster for the full season, they could put him back in the minors in 2016 for more development as a starter, or a reliever if they don’t think he’ll stick in a rotation.

At worst, the Royals end up needing to give him back to the Red Sox at some point next year, and the only thing they’re out is a little bit of cash and the 25th roster spot for mop-up duty. It’s a low-risk move that could bring some big rewards.