Some scorching bats in Omaha could soon be a boost to the KC Royals’ lineup.
The Omaha Storm Chasers have fared better than their major league counterparts, at least in the win column. Through Monday, they’re 15-14 and in fourth place in the International League West.
On offense, the team has some promising pieces that could kickstart the Kansas City lineup. The headliner remains Vinnie Pasquantino, who MLB Pipeline ranks as the organization’s fifth best prospect.
The Royals’ first base hopeful leads Omaha with a .918 OPS and is slashing .260/.387/.567 with 12 extra-base hits (including six home runs), 19 walks, and just 13 strikeouts in 96 at-bats.
Behind Pasquantino are other potential reinforcements for Kansas City. Outfielders Brewer Hicklen and Dairon Blanco have been hot—Hicklen is slashing .302/.375/.488 over the last 15 days and Blanco has a 1.074 OPS in that span. Both could find their ways to Kansas City soon if Edward Olivares’ stay on the Injured List is prolonged.
And Nick Pratto, who’s on the IL after taking a pitch to the helmet last week, has improved from his early season slump—he’s slashing .250/.323/.477 and has five homers and 17 RBIs in 23 games.
Three pitchers are trying to make cases to return to the KC Royals’ rotation.
The Storm Chasers also have plenty of good young arms headlined by Jon Heasley, Brady Singer and Foster Griffin.
Heasley has an 0.95 WHIP with 30 strikeouts in just 26.1 innings. With Kris Bubic’s move to the KC bullpen, Heasley could get the call back to Kansas City sooner rather than later. He has stumbled some, however, with an 8.31 ERA in the last 15 days.
Singer has been outstanding since his demotion to Omaha late last month. He pitched five shutout innings, struck out four, and allowed just three hits and one walk against Toledo May 5. He’s 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA and his changeup, a pitch he needs to develop, has been excellent.
Griffin, still on the road to recovery from his 2020 Tommy John Surgery, has a 2.25 ERA with 19 strikeouts and just two walks in 16 innings. He’s pitched only in relief but has started in the past. His versatility could come in handy for the Royals.