Relievers tend to be at a disadvantage on prospect lists. Even with a strong arm, starting pitching is considered a lot more valuable, making it difficult for a reliever to garner attention. Of course, with the Kansas City Royals, who rely so heavily upon their bullpen, the typical prospect ranks are barely relevant.
That is part of why Estarlin Cordero could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future. One of the several closers that the Blue Rocks used last season, Cordero produced a 4-2 record with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.148 WHiP, striking out 42 batters in 54 innings. While he did walk 21 batters, Cordero minimized the damage by allowing only 41 hits.
A ground ball specialist who has a ground ball to fly ball ratio of almost 2:1 in his minor league career, the biggest question surrounding Cordero may be his command. Should he be able to harness his stuff as he did with Burlington in 2014, where he issued only seven walks in 26.2 innings, Cordero could become a future piece of the Royals bullpen in the coming years.
Given the Royals reliance on a strong bullpen, relief pitchers in the minor leagues can certainly receive attention from the front office. Should Cordero improve his control while continuing his ground ball ways, he could play his way into the Royals future plans.
Next: An unheralded starter