The Kansas City Royals made their first outside signing of the offseason on Tuesday. The team reportedly landed Yefri Del Rosario, a former Braves prospect.
It’s not the kind of signing Kansas City Royals fans were expecting, but the team did add a potential key piece for the future on Tuesday. The team reportedly landed right-handed pitcher Yefri Del Rosario.
The 18-year-old is a former Braves prospect who became a free agent after MLB dropped the hammer on the organization. Del Rosario was one of 12 players in Atlanta’s system granted free agency after an investigation into the organization’s international signing practices.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported the Kansas City Royals paid $650,000 of international signing money to land the flame-thrower. The team used a portion of its 2018-19 pool money to complete the deal.
So how did the Royals sign Del Rosario?
According to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, the team benefited from the Braves penalties:
"Yet once Major League Baseball granted free agency to the 12 former Braves, it ruled that clubs could sign the players and count the money spent toward their international signing pools in 2018. In addition, the Royals will only have to count $450,000 of Del Rosario’s signing bonus toward their international pool. Del Rosario will also keep his previous bonus from the Braves."
It turns out a former player helped give them a leg up, too. Apparently when Del Rosario grew up in the Dominican Republic, his favorite pitcher — and one he models himself after — was Yordano Ventura. It led to him taking less money to follow in his idol’s footsteps.
What should Royals fans expect?
Despite pitching most of the summer as a 17-year-old — his birthday is in late September, Del Rosario put up solid numbers. Splitting his time between the Dominican Summer League and — most recently — Gulf Coast League, he made 13 appearances (eight starts) and posted a 1-1 record. He posted a 3.62 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 37 1/3 innings. Del Rosario had a promising 36 strikeouts over that span against 14 walks.
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Del Rosario slots in as the No. 25 prospect in the Royals farm system, according to MLB.com. It predicts he will reach the majors in 2021. At this point, it remains to be seen whether he develops into a relief option or a starter. Although, the club will clearly aim for the latter.
According to Baseball-Reference, Del Rosario stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 180 pounds. For what it’s worth, Ventura checked in at 6-feet, 195 pounds. Obviously, comparisons to Ventura will follow Del Rosario throughout his time with the Kansas City Royals. But if he becomes even half the pitcher Ventura was, the franchise will consider this a successful transaction.
What do you think? Is this signing a good one for the Kansas City Royals? Could Del Rosario follow Ventura’s path to the top of the rotation? Let us know your thoughts.