The MLB lockout continues, but it’s business as usual for the minor league affiliates of the KC Royals.
While players on the 40-man roster are not allowed to do any business with the major league club, and vice versa, some minor league players have already been working at Kansas City’s spring training headquarters and the others will arrive next week.
And there are no indications that the minor league season won’t begin on time.
This is good news for not only those in the Royals’ organization, but also for the towns where the minor league teams play. Many in those communities are able to benefit from the jobs created by those affiliates and businesses around the ballparks that see an uptick in activity:
The MLB lockout does hamper KC Royals minor leaguers on the 40-man roster.
One of the unfortunate things about the lockout is that there are some players on the 40-man roster who could make good use of the instructional part of spring training. Jonathan Bowlan could use the work as he only pitched in four games last year and is rehabilitating from Tommy John Surgery. He was extremely impressive with a 1.59 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and striking out 25 batters in just 17 innings before being sidelined.
Getting MJ Melendez more time with big league coaches would be a benefit as well. He is coming off a minor league season for the ages with 41 homers, a 1.011 OPS, and cutting his strikeouts down by 50 despite having nearly 100 more at-bats than he had in 2019. The sooner this backstop can get reps, the better. This should be the season he is ready to help the Royals at the big league level.
Nick Pratto is almost in the same boat as Melendez by following up a horrendous 2019 season with a monster 2021. Pratto crushed 36 balls over the fence and posted a career-high .385 OBP. First base could be his to win in Kansas City, but the longer the lockout drags on he has no access to helpful team staff or facilities.
While we all hope a deal can be reached by February 28 to save a full major league season, at least we know we can focus on the minor league players for the Royals.