The MLB draft brought surprises and some promise for the KC Royals’ future.
Also taking place in July was the annual major league amateur draft. Although many fans probably expected the Royals to take a run at top pitching prospect Kumar Rocker, they ignited a social media storm when they instead selected a name few, if any, observers had high on their draft boards—high school hurler Frank Mozzicato.
The Mozzicato selection sent shockwaves around the baseball world, but the Royals valued him for his deadly curveball, and he was 9-0 with an 0.16 ERA and had thrown four straight no-hitters before the draft rolled around.
In addition to Mozzicato, the Royals added more youth when they took plenty of high school prospects on Days 2 and 3 of the draft.
One KC Royals rookie pitcher showed promise by making huge strides in July.
The Royals found themselves in a pitching deficit when Danny Duffy and Brady Singer hit the Injured List in July. The situation resulted in Daniel Lynch getting his second shot at the major leagues.
Lynch, who’d pitched badly three times in May before being returned to the minors, performed admirably, reducing his 15.75 ERA to 6.95 by the end of July. And what better way to turn things around than to defeat one of the teams he struggled against in May?
In his first game back July 25, Lynch blanked Detroit, which scored four runs in 2.2 innings against him May 13, through eight innings, striking out four batters and retiring 10 straight at one point. He clinched his first major league victory that day and the performance provided the foundation for the improved 4.35 ERA he posted the rest of the season.
The victory was just one of Kansas City’s many that led to series sweeps over the Tigers and Brewers. It also paved the way to a six-game winning streak, the club’s longest of the season.
The streak pushed the Royals from fifth to fourth place in the AL Central, a place they’d occupy for most of the remaining season.