Drafted in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Kansas City Royals pitching prospect Daniel Tillo saw a promotion to Double-A NW Arkansas this year.
Not many Major League Baseball players come from Iowa Western Community College. In fact, you don’t even need all your fingers to count them. Their most famous alum is arguably Jon Lieber, who played 14 seasons in the majors. Kansas City Royals 2017 third-round draft pick, Daniel Tillo, is looking to following in his footsteps.
Tillo originally committed to the University of Kentucky. The former Mr. Basketball of Iowa was going to play both basketball and baseball but ultimately transferred to Iowa Western CC to focus just on baseball. After all, he was capable of throwing a 90-plus-mph fastball. Tillo, 23, saw his organizational prospect ranking drop from 26 to 30 but that’s likely due to a combination of how he was utilized after he was promoted and other prospects jumping ahead of him.
He started his 2019 campaign where his 2018 season ended, with High-A Wilmington. There Tillo made 20 starts while tossing 107.1 innings, striking out 64 batters and allowed opponents to bat just 0.238 off him. Tillo did allow 43 walks but they didn’t appear to haunt him as he spun an extremely respectable 3.77 ERA.
Promoted to Double-A NW Arkansas at the end of July, he made his first three starts as planned. Tillo allowed 6 earned runs in 15.1 innings and was moved to the bullpen. But rest assured Royals fans, it was all in preparation for his offseason plans:
"“You can only have one starting pitcher normally in the (Arizona) fall league”, Tillo recently told me. “And because Daniel Lynch is going, I got moved to the pen to get ready to throw out of the pen at the fall league.”"
Even so, Tillo saw a vast improvement in his command in his 6 outings as a reliever. In 8.0 innings, he struck out 11 batters and didn’t allow any free passes. He’ll likely begin the 2020 season as a starter for the Double-A squad, with a potential promotion to Triple-A at some point. It might be aggressive but if all goes well, he could be a September call up.
As previously noted, Tillo is participating in the Arizona Fall League and thus far, he’s has made 3 appearances while tossing 4.1 innings, striking out 3 batters, and walking just 1. His fastball was clocked as high as 98 mph this season and always has tailing action, so there’s a good reason to be excited about Daniel Tillo, folks.