What KC Royals fans have clamored for all season is happening.
In a much-anticipated move coinciding with their trade of Carlos Santana to Seattle for a pair of pitchers (as reported by FanSided’s Robert Murray via Twitter), the Royals have just called up hot prospect Vinnie Pasquantino. They selected his contract from Triple-A Omaha (Twitter link) and, because the Storm Chasers have today off and Omaha is but a three-hour drive from Kauffman Stadium, don’t be surprised to see Pasquantino at first base tonight when the Royals open a three-game series with the Rangers.
Kansas City also designated pitcher Ronald Bolaños for assignment.
Promoting Vinnie Pasquantino to the KC Royals was a long time coming.
Fan cries for bringing Pasquantino to the big leagues started almost as soon as Santana became mired in a long slump that he’s only recent freed himself of. While Santana was hitting .127 in April and .169 in May, Pasquantino busied himself building a strong case for promotion. He ended April with three homers, 17 RBIs, and a flashy .282/.398/.507 slash, then tore through May with 12 more homers, 35 more RBIs, and a .320/.393/.804 line.
He’s cooled a bit lately, but still had 18 homers, 67 RBIs and a .280 average, .372 OBP and .948 OPS when the callup came.
Pasquantino, who MLB Pipeline ranks as the organization’s third best prospect, should have been summoned to the majors before now. But the Royals clearly wanted to first resolve Santana’s situation—the veteran first baseman, who’s in his contract season and has made a career of hitting homers and finding every way he can to get on base, was simply in too deep a slump to be sufficiently marketable for the club to trade him for any appreciable value.
Fortunately, and as his June numbers prove (.357/.478/.554 in 17 games), Santana recently rediscovered how to hit, which opened the door for the Royals to move him and make room for Pasquantino. And that’s what happened today.
The KC Royals are getting two righthanded pitchers for Carlos Santana.
Coming to the Kansas City organization in the Santana deal are righty hurlers William Fleming and Wyatt Mills. Seattle chose Fleming in the 11th round of last year’s amateur draft and he went 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA in nine games (two starts and seven relief appearances) across Rookie ball and Low-A after signing. He’s 6-6, 4.92 in 14 starts at Low-A Modesto this season.
Mills, a third-round Seattle pick in the 2017 draft, made it to the big leagues last season and had a 9.95 ERA and no decisions in 11 relief appearances; he’s also pitched eight times for the Mariners this year and is 0-0, 4.15 in eight games out of the bullpen. But he also had a 1-0, 1.83 record Triple-A record when the Santana trade was announced, and has a 142-game career minor league record of 15-8 with a 3.30 ERA. All but one of those 142 appearances have been in relief.
What should KC Royals fans expect immediately from Vinnie Pasquantino?
How Pasquantino performs for Kansas City remains, of course, to be seen. It might be too much to expect immediate stardom but, much like Eric Hosmer, he arrives in the major leagues drenched with star potential. He established his hitting bona fides last year when, in 116 games spread across Double-A and triple-A, he clubbed 24 homers, drove in 84 runs and slashed .300/.394/.563. His 2022 numbers merely confirm he knows how to hit, and there’s little, if any, reason to believe he can’t succeed in The Show.
And he’ll hopefully be the long-term answer to the first base problem Hosmer created when he left for San Diego after the 2017 season.
But whatever it holds for him and the franchise, the Vinnie Pasquantino Era begins now.
Vinnie Pasquantino is a big leaguer.