KC Royals: 3 good candidates for 2 September callups

(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /
2 of 5
KC Royals, Austin Cox
(Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports) /

The KC Royals have some good pitching prospects. One needs a callup.

Because they can start carrying another pitcher Thursday, the Royals will add one to their troubled mix of hurlers. Don’t look for them to summon Asa Lacy or Frank Mozzicato, the latest pitchers they’ve taken in the first round of the draft. It’s far too early for 2021 pick Mozzicato, who’s working at Low-A Columbia, and Lacy’s well-chronicled early career struggles continue.

And KC doesn’t need to try Triple-A Omaha’s Gabe Speier, Ronald Bolaños, or Jackson Kowar. The former two are known quantities, the latter needs to finish his season removed from big league pressures as he toils to regain good form after a few brutal shots at the majors.

Austin Cox should be KC’s choice. A move we’ve floated before in this space, it’s a good time to see what he can do at the highest level, especially because the club faces a Rule 5 Draft decision on him this winter.

Cox won the first game of Omaha’s doubleheader Sunday, giving up four runs and striking out five in seven innings, and is 5-7 with a 4.57 ERA after going 4-1, 4.10 in a 2021 season split between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Omaha. It’s not a spectacular record, and he’s fallen out of MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 KC prospects rankings (he was 16th before Pipeline’s recent revisions), but because he’s 25 and in his fourth professional season, the Royals need to acquire a strong sense for how their fifth-round 2018 draft selection might handle big league bats.