Be forewarned, KC Royals fans—this isn’t a story about Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto or MJ Melendez, three of MLB Pipeline’s top four Kansas City prospects and locks to see Kauffman Stadium sometime this season.
Rather, it’s about three of the organization’s promising left-handed pitchers who require more minor league seasoning but, if things go their way, might get a call to the big leagues before the 2022 campaign ends.
Any of the three—Asa Lacy, Austin Cox and Drew Parrish—breaking in this season would be surprising, however. Not because they aren’t talented enough to pitch in the majors—the Royals wouldn’t have drafted Lacy in the first round of the 2020 amateur draft, Cox in the same 2018 draft that produced Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, Jon Heasley, and Jonathan Bowlan, or Parrish in the 2019 draft unless they were and are—but because they’re all still relatively inexperienced.
But if their performance matches their potential, could 2022 be the year one or more of these hurlers make it to Kansas City?
The KC Royals must continue to be careful with first round pick Asa Lacy.
Asa Lacy first surprised the Royals when, as they prepared to make the fourth overall pick in 2020’s draft, they found him still available. Lacy had just blessed Texas A&M with his third straight superb collegiate season and was widely projected to go before Kansas City went on the board.
But there he was for the taking and Kansas City jumped. Lacy soon signed, but had nowhere to pitch professionally in a summer robbed of minor league baseball by the pandemic, and the Royals unsurprisingly didn’t include him in their 60-man Player Pool.
So it was that Lacy couldn’t debut until last season. Unfortunately, he went 2-5 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 starts at High-A Quad Cities before a shoulder issue struck in July and sidelined him for the rest of the River Bandits’ campaign. He then made four Arizona Fall League starts; he struck out 15 in 17.2 innings and posted an excellent 2.35 ERA.
He’ll likely begin the season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, but don’t look for KC to get hasty with him. He’s too good to rush—the Royals will be cautious with his development and career.
Unless he’s overwhelmingly good this season or the Royals’ need for pitching requires promoting him (or both,) this probably won’t be the year Asa Lacy gets the call. But it could happen.