The Kansas City Royals will be looking to add pitching and the Rule 5 Draft has lots of options, including a pitcher who might just need a change of pace.
The Kansas City Royals have made a few acquisitions so far this offseason, but only taking players on minor league contracts. As of yet, there doesn’t look to be anyone that will make too big of a splash in 2020.
Some players that might make more of a difference, though, could be picked up in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. While they don’t always pan out, some of these players do turn out to be good pickups that can help a team like the Royals, who aren’t wanting to increase payroll by too much.
There are a lot of good options in the Rule 5 this year, but one that looks to be more in the way of Royals thinking could be Zack Brown from the Brewers organization. Zack Brown fits the typical bill of the Royals offseason signings, in that his 2019 wasn’t really the year to write home about. He might not completely fit the bill of “reclamation project”, but he does fall closer to the “quick turnaround” category.
Looking at his career stats, Brown looks to be a solid possibility for pickup. Over 392.2 innings Brown started 68 of 82 games played, holds a 3.80 ERA, 358 strikeouts and walked 147 batters. One of Brown’s biggest concerns is that he tends to give up a few more walks than desired, but he has shown years where he has been able to keep his pitches under better control.
Unfortunately for Brown, 2019 was not his year. After a 2018 season in which he looked to be right on track with a 2.40 ERA over 127.2 innings, he skyrocketed to a 5.79 over 116.2 innings when he made the jump to AAA in 2019. His walks increased, his strikeout rate decreased, and the 2018 abilities that Brown displayed were for the most part gone.
Still, mlb.com lists Brown as the Brewers number 3 prospect. The fact that he wasn’t protected by Milwaukee could be concerning for some teams, but after a poor 2019, the Brewers may feel he will stay safe with him drawing concern from his regression.
As with many of the pitchers in this year’s Rule 5, Brown has been used primarily as a starter. While this worked in lower level ball, he might be able to regain his confidence and drive his numbers back to the positive if he moves into a relief role.
Brown might not be the best looking option in the Rule 5 this year, but he is an option that is worth taking a chance on. The Royals need to add bullpen depth, and while Brown comes with some risk, the low-risk nature of the Rule 5 makes him more desirable than some regular free agents.
Adding pitching depth will be a priority for the Royals during the winter meetings and it’s likely they will take a few Rule 5 players to test and see if they have the stuff. It has worked out in the past, and for a team with nothing to lose, it could definitely work out again.