KC Royals Farm Futures: Minor league teams innovate

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

A new weekly feature here at Kings of Kauffman will focus on farm team news of the KC Royals family and the minor leagues in general.

It has obviously been a tough year for minor league baseball as the entire season for all teams was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We take a look at the ways the KC Royals’ farm teams have been passing the time and thinking of new ways to engage their fans.

Omaha Storm Chasers – AAA Affiliate

Kansas City and Omaha have a long-term relationship that actually dates back to when the Royals began their maiden season. Whether they are known as the Omaha Royals, Omaha Golden Spikes, or the Omaha Storm Chasers, the bond between the two cities is strong.

One fairly new arena Omaha has ventured into is podcasting. Play-by-play man Jake Eisenberg and Storm Chaser media relations manager Tony Boone host “The StormCast.” Their very first guest was none other than Nicky Lopez, who not only played AAA ball in Omaha but also attended Creighton University in the same city.

Other people who have dropped in are top-ranked prospect Daniel Tillo, Alec Lewis of The Athletic, and former Royal Aaron Brooks. Catch up on all the episodes and look forward to the coming chat with outfielder Nick Heath.

Northwest Arkansas Naturals – AA Affiliate

The year 2020 was to be the 13th year of Double-A baseball in Springdale, Arkansas. Turns out it was an unlucky number for the team nestled in the Ozarks as their season never came to fruition.

Exciting news, though, recently came to light to help lift the spirits of the fans of the Naturals. An exhibition game prior to the start of the 2021 major league season will see the KC Royals visit Northwest Arkansas on March 29th. The opponent is not yet known but it should easily be a sellout at Arvest Ballpark.

Wilmington Blue Rocks – Advanced A Affiliate

The Blue Rocks were ready to head into this year to defend their championship of 2019, one of four Royals affiliates to win one that season. Of course, that did not happen but they hope to get the chance next summer.

A proud moment for Wilmington fans was seeing an incredible 18 former players taking part in the MLB postseason.  Some familiar faces included Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Zack Greinke, Mike Moustakas, Jarrod Dyson and Will Smith.

Other KC Royals’ Farm Teams

The rest of the Kansas City affiliates are up the air, except for the Burlington Royals. That is because of the proposed minor league contractions that are to take place before next season. The Lexington Legends and Idaho Falls Chukars may not be tied to the Royals depending on the decisions made.

As we reported earlier, Burlington was already axed as being a member of the Appalachian League, which is converting to a summer college baseball league.  This new group will be for freshmen and sophomores whose stock is increasing with their play.

Next. Players Royals should draft in 2021. dark

This offseason will include updates on the KC Royals farm teams, latest news from the minors that will affect all teams, and history of the current and former clubs that are, or were, tied to Kansas City.