Kansas City Royals: Offseason Prospect Watch, Daniel Tillo
The Kansas City Royals have many young arms on their top prospect list, according to MLB Pipeline. Daniel Tillo is next up on our offseason prospect watch, in the 19th spot on the list.
A former Mr. Basketball in his home state of Iowa, Daniel Tillo was a third round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2017. The lefty thought about playing both basketball and baseball in college, but he eventually decided on playing at Kentucky.
When he pitched just 7.1 innings during his freshman year, he chose to transfer to Iowa Western Community College in hopes of finding more playing time. The 22 year old became the highest pick out of his juco in history when he was drafted by the Royals.
Daniel Tillo began his professional career in the Rookie leagues with both the Arizona League Royals and the Burlington Royals. He pitched a total of 36.2 innings, tallying an ERA of 4.42 and an overall record of 3-2. He started all but one game, and he fared much better with Burlington than he did in Arizona.
Overall, it was a good enough year to propel him into a higher level of play, starting the 2018 season with the Lexington Legends before moving up to the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
With Lexington, he started seven games, tossing 41.1 innings and yielding a 4.35 ERA and a WHIP of 1.23. When he moved up to Wilmington, he started 19 games and worked through 93.0 innings. There, his WHIP sat at 1.61, and hitters yielded a batting average of .279 overall against him.
Tillo profiles as an overall 45 player with his fastball as his strongest pitch, grading out at 60 according to MLB Pipeline. That is followed by his slider at 55 and his changeup at a 50 grade.
His fastball has reached 97, and it averaged out around 92-95 MPH before a minor lat injury. To start his professional career, it stuck around 91-93 MPH.
MLB Pipeline predicts Tillo will hit the MLB in 2021. They profile him as a number three starter due to his athleticism and the fact that his size helps him create deception.