KC Royals Minor League News: Prospect check-in

(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
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A KC Royals pitching prospect is starting to stand out at Low-A Columbia.

Low-A Columbia is 10-17, in fifth place in the Carolina League’s South Division, and struggling at the plate.

Although he’s MLB Pipeline’s No. 11 KC prospect, outfielder Erick Peña is among the worst in the organization at the plate. He’s slashing just .095/.091/.095 over the last two weeks. On the season, he’s hitting .141 with a 46.2% strikeout rate.

Catcher Carter Jensen hasn’t fared much better. He owns a 17% walk rate and .320 OBP, but over the last 15 days is slashing just .091/.231/.152.

Pitcher Ben Hernandez started 2022 well—in his season debut, he pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four. In 13.1 innings since then, his ERA is 8.10 and his OBA is .377.

This 20-year-old KC Royals infield prospect deserves more of our attention.

Despite Columbia’s struggles, one name stands out above the rest. Infielder Enrique Valdez, 20, has been outstanding so far.

The Royals signed Valdez to a contract in 2017; since then, he’s spent most of his time in the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Fall League.

In 2021, Valdez made his first appearance at Columbia where he appeared in 26 games with just a .552 OPS. But he’s improved this year. Although his .250/.291/.431 and 34% strikeout rate may not seem like much, Valdez is slashing .357/.345/.607 in his last eight games.

Next. KC should move on from Mondesi. dark

That’s it for this minor league update. We’ll be back soon with more.