September used to be an intriguing month for major league clubs. Races for playoff berths reached fever pitch for contenders and rosters expanded to 40 players for each club, meaning prospects were in the spotlight, especially for teams like the KC Royals who disappeared from the cream of the big league crop for 30 seasons after winning the 1985 World Series.
Sadly, September has lost some of its luster. Heated stretch run competitions remain, but clubs can now add only two players to their active rosters, rendering almost meaningless their ability to take late-season looks at prospects or players whose previous big league experience suggests they might have some of their old promise left. The drastic cutback hurts the Royals for obvious reasons.
Nevertheless, their disappointing season gives the Royals an extra opportunity to try several minor leaguers in The Show before the campaign ends. Because the club long ago forfeited any realistic postseason chances, it has nothing to lose by auditioning in the second half a few players from Triple-A Omaha whose futures with the organization may be uncertain.
And because pitching remains a sore spot, the Royals should give hurlers top priority.
(We don’t discuss Ángel Zerpa today—his future with the club seems secure, and he should be in the majors now, and not for just a look).
This pitcher the KC Royals might recall from Omaha has a familiar face.
We recently wrote about the comeback efforts of Eric Skoglund, who at the time was on Omaha’s Injured List after missing the 2021 season but had displayed encouraging signs during rehab assignments to the Arizona Complex League and High-A Quad Cities. Since then, he moved up to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where in six innings he gave up three runs but struck out six and walked only one before moving up to Omaha where, deemed fit for reactivation, he fanned two in a pair of scoreless innings Saturday.
So, don’t be surprised if the Royals test him again in the majors this season—he’s won only twice in 27 big league games, but they’ve always been high him.
Who else might the club check out?