Kansas City Royals: Minor league players of the year, Part II
By Shawn Bauman
Rounding out the minor league pitcher and players of the year we stop just north of Kansas City in Omaha. The Storm Chasers struggled to a 61-78 record in 2019 but there were still some bright spots on the club.
Pacific Coast League (AAA):
Erick Mejia (2B) led Omaha in essentially every offensive category except for home runs, walks, and stolen bases. He even earned playing time with the Royals in September sneaking in 22 at-bats. This was Mejia’s first long-term experience with a AAA club outside of five total games between 2015 and 2017 with other teams. He came over in a January 2018 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Trevor Oaks in return for Joakim Soria and Scott Alexander.
Being named the best pitcher on the Storm Chasers could be as complimentary as winning a George Costanza look-alike contest as the team’s ERA ballooned to 5.39. However, Andres Machado (RHP) did put in a solid effort as a bullpen arm for Omaha. After a 2018 season that was disappointing at best, Machado came back to hold opponents to a .218 average nailing down three saves while finishing 20 games. His ERA of 2.89 and WHIP of 1.259 were both career bests. While not currently on the 40 man roster, Machado will try to build on the nice performance in 2019 and earn another look.
Overall it was a very exciting year for multiple teams that excelled to win championships and for individuals who put together terrific seasons. With a new owner in place, there could be several changes personnel-wise and the opportunity for many on this list to advance to the show in the next season or two is a real possibility. There is much to be excited about if you are a Kansas City Royals fan.