Off the radar prospects hope to impress at KC Royals fall camp
By Shawn Bauman
The 51 players at the KC Royals fall camp in Kansas City include many highly touted prospects and then others who hope to shine.
Names such as Jonathan Bowlan, Jackson Kowar, Bobby Witt Jr., Khalil Lee, Asa Lacy, Nick Pratto, and MJ Melendez are listed as top prospects in the KC Royals system. Then there are players who had very good years in 2019 but were not able to build on that this summer due to the pandemic. They want to make a case this fall and they should not be forgotten.
Vinnie Pasquantino – First Base
The left-handed slugger exploded his junior year at Old Dominion with 16 home runs and showed great patience walking more than he struck out. The Royals took him in the 11th round of 2019 and he was very impressive his first year in professional ball.
He chipped in another 14 blasts in Burlington giving him 30 in the split between college and pro ball over 113 games. He kept his average and on-base percentage high and was no slouch with the glove only committing two errors in 389 chances at first. Kansas City awarded him with the Minor League Player of the Year for the rookie league team.
We know the Royals are struggling to find someone to stick at this position. It appears Hunter Dozier will get the chance to nail it down going into 2021. In a couple of years, this natural first baseman may be in the mix.
Pasquantino stayed busy this summer even without official games to play and continued to be hot. He will look to carry that over during this special session.
Logan Porter – Catcher
Primarily a first baseman and designated hitter in 2019, Kansas City is working Porter out at the backstop position. He also had a great season with Burlington with a slash of .352/.481/.648 for an eye-popping 1.129 OPS in 44 games.
He also recorded a career OPS of 1.063 while at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. If he can show talent at the catcher spot the Royals would wise to get him experience in the higher level of the minor leagues. The door is wide open for that position with the franchise.
Charlie Neuweiler – Starting pitcher
A fifth-round pick out of high school from East Elmhurst, NY in the 2017 draft, Neuweiler had his best professional season with Lexington last summer outside of a short stint in the Arizona League the year he was picked. He really turned it on in August for the Legends going 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA and fanning 43 batters in just 30 frames.
Career highs in wins (7), innings (148.2), and strikeouts per nine innings (9.3) were realized in 2019. Cutting down on walks and long balls will do him plenty of favors but still, at just 21 years old, he has plenty of time to force his way into the conversation of future big-league pitchers.
Jimmy Govern – Second, Third, and Shortstop
I am not sure how many 30th-round picks end up at Triple-A their first professional season but I assume the list is short. Govern did just that in 2019 after the Royals selected him late in the draft.
He tore up the Arizona League with a .365/.492/.628 slash in 46 games and then spent six games with the Omaha Stormchasers. All he did against the big jump in competition was smack two homers and collect seven hits in 21 at-bats. The defense was a concern as he committed eight errors at the hot corner resulting in a .926 fielding percentage with the AZL Royals.
Kansas City is pretty set with Adalberto Mondesi, Nicky Lopez, and soon-to-be Witt in the infield. If Lopez continues to underwhelm at the plate and Govern keeps hitting like a beast he may force his way into the picture.
Noah Murdock – Starting pitcher
Originally selected by the Washington Nationals out of high school, Murdock chose to attend the University of Virginia. He ended up pitching poorly his final two years with the Cavaliers but showed enough potential the Royals grabbed him in the 7th round in 2019.
KC was rewarded as he appeared in 11 games last summer with six of those being starts. A 3-1 record, 2.17 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings were solid results. Having just turned 22, it will interesting to see if Murdock continues to handle professional ball easier than collegiate.
While not on the immediate radar for KC Royals fans, you should get to know and follow these players during the fall and next season. If they can duplicate their 2019 success they may move up the top prospect list at a high rate.