The Royals have some pitchers worth watching working for the River Bandits.
While the Kansas City organization waits for top 2021 draft picks Frank Mozzicato and Ben Kdurna to finish extended spring training, the lower levels of its farm system are lacking big-name pitching talent. Fortunately, some Quad Cities hurlers are worth following this season.
After struggling last year at for Low-A Columbia (5.33 ERA in 20 starts), 2017 international signee Adrian Alcantara was dominant in his first start of this season—in 4.1 innings, he struck out eight and allowed only one unearned run, two hits and one walk. On the season he’s pitched 7.1 innings with a 2.45 ERA.
At 6-feet-eight, Noah Murdock is the organization’s tallest pitcher and posted a 3.18 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 22 innings last year. In his two 2022 appearances, he has a 3.68 ERA with nine strikeouts, but his 11.5% 2021 walk rate has jumped to 20% this season and he has a disturbing 6.32 FIP.
Another pitcher to watch is lefty Walter Pennington, signed as an amateur free agent by the Royals in 2020. In 39.2 innings at Low-A Columbia last season, he struck out 37; this year, he’s fanned five and walked one in four scoreless relief innings. He could have a future in the Kansas City bullpen.