KC Royals: Omaha club is bursting with good things

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Daniel Lynch
(Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Some KC Royals pitching prospects are putting in good work for Omaha.

Just two days before Omaha opened its 2021 season, Kansas City promoted Storm Chasers pitcher Daniel Lynch, the Royals’ second best MLB Pipeline prospect, to the big leagues. The move put a hole in the Chasers’ rotation, but it didn’t last long—after losing twice and posting a 15.75 ERA in three games, KC returned Lynch to Omaha.

The change didn’t make much difference at first. Iowa knocked Lynch around in his first Omaha start, scoring four runs on seven hits in the lefthander’s six innings.

Then things got better. Lynch started twice during last week’s six-game series against Indianapolis and in 10.2 innings gave up just one run, struck out 13, walked only three, and earned a win. He’s now 1-0, 2.70 for the Chasers and could be starting his climb back to the majors.

Jackson Kowar has been spectacular in five 2021 starts for the Storm Chasers.

How good has righthanded starter Jackson Kowar, MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 KC prospect, been for Omaha this season? Good enough that Friday’s signs pointing toward him pitching for the Royals Saturday weren’t at all implausible.

Those signs turned out to be wrong, but it’s hard to believe the Kansas City brass wasn’t seriously considering promoting Kowar. His record justifies the move—he’s 5-0 with a 1.01 ERA in five starts, has 36 strikeouts in 26.2 innings, and has surrendered only 17 hits. He’s pitched at least five innings in all his starts and surrendered only a run three times, and none twice.

If he keeps it up, the Storm Chasers will be short an excellent pitcher, but the Royals will gain one.

Gabe Speier might force the KC Royals to consider him for their bullpen.

The preseason trade that sent KC lefthanded reliever Tim Hill to San Diego for Franchy Cordero and Ronald Bolanos seemed to crack the Royals’ bullpen door open a bit for Gabe Speier, another southpaw reliever who’d pitched briefly for the club in 2019. And a week later, that door swung open and Speier rejoined the Royals.

He went 0-1, 7.94 in eight games before KC sent him to their Alternate Training Site, where he remained for the rest of the season. He pitched twice in spring training, then started this season in Omaha.

To say he’s pitching “well” might not do his performance justice. Speier leads the club with four saves, hasn’t given up a run in 10 appearances, and has 17 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. He’s walked only one batter, and owns a microscopic 0.35 WHIP and .083 BAA.

With those numbers, Speier could work his way back into Kansas City’s bullpen picture.