May 28, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Troy Patton (29) throws during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Royals have other minor-league candidates that could provide a break to tired bullpen arms by eating garbage-time innings in September (and give management a peek at prospects for next season, or—in a few cases—audition for a role on the playoff roster).
The most intriguing name on this list is oft-injured top prospect Kyle Zimmer.
The word is that the 23-year-old Kyle Zimmer has the stuff, he’s just suffered a series of injuries that have slowed his progress. Zimmer, however, is dominating in AA NW Arkansas, with a 2.55 ERA and a 9.4 K/9 after a late start to the season due to yet another injury.
More from KC Royals News
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 3 update
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 2 update
- Winter Meetings: Any blockbusters for the KC Royals?
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: The versatile Nate Eaton
In fact, the KC Royals hope Zimmer can be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in the near future. He’s got a 98 mile per hour fastball with late life, along with a plus slider, and developing curve. Kansas City Royals executive J.J. Picollo suggested that the KC Royals are looking at Zimmer as a potential September call-up, even without AAA experience.
The only problem with this plan is that the Kansas City Royals only have one bullpen lefty, and might prefer to add another southpaw over Zimmer. That, of course, might keep him from the playoff roster, but doesn’t mean he can’t appear in KC in September. The front office might still want him to audition for a potential rotation spot in 2016.
Poor Louis Coleman.
The 29-year-old reliever has pitched for the Kansas City Royals in parts of four different seasons with a solid career ERA of 3.25 and an ERA+ (ERA adjusted for park factors and opponent quality) of 127 (27% better than league average). Yet, the guy has been stuck in AAA Omaha all season despite his major-league track record, and a 1.87 ERA in Omaha this season.
Just what does he have to do to stay on the major-league roster?
At this point the answer is: wait for September.
At the very least, Coleman can eat bullpen innings to give rest to the guys who have been with the Kansas City Royals all season. With his track record, and recent AAA performance, I can’t see any reason why management won’t bring him to the big club other than the fact that he’s not on the current 40-man roster.
29-year-old Troy Patton is not on the 40-man roster, but he’s experienced major league success AND is left handed. That combination makes him a great September call-up candidate.
Patton has logged 165.0 major-league innings over six seasons with the Orioles and Padres. His career record is 5-4, with a 3.25 ERA and 7.2 K/9.
Troy Patton had an opt out clause that he could have exercised last Saturday, but he chose to remain with the club. The Kansas City Royals signed Patton in April, but he had to serve an 80-game suspension due to amphetamine use. In 20 innings for Omaha this season, Patton has produced a 2.24 ERA with 13 strikeouts.
As a lefty, he stands a puncher’s chance of finding his way to the playoff roster.
26-year-old Mike Mariot has hung on the 40-man roster a couple of years now, but has never really stuck in Kansas City. He pitched 17 games in 2014 for the big club, with a pretty terrible 6.48 ERA. He’s also pitching two innings in KC this season, giving up one run.
Mariot, however, has enjoyed a solid minor-league career, posting a cumulative 3.37 ERA (mostly as a reliever). He’s putting up strong numbers in Omaha this season, with a 2.41 ERA, a 10.0 K/9, and seven saves.
31-year-old Yohan Pino is another guy with a smattering of MLB experience, that has failed to stick on a roster. He made 11 starts for the Twins in 2014, and one forgettable start for the KC Royals in 2015. Overall, however, Pino has posted a more-than-respectable 3.26 ERA in 19.1 innings for Kansas City this season.
The righty figures to return in September, given his prior experience and solid performance this season out of the pen. Oddly enough, Yohan Pino has pitched better for the Kansas City Royals than he has for Omaha. In AAA, Pino has a 4.68 ERA, working mostly as a starter.
Next: Outfield Help