3 hot prospects the KC Royals must check out before season's end

With the season lost, the Royals need to take the time to check out some prospects.
Lucas Boland/Caller Times / USA TODAY
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The KC Royals have a pitcher they need to squeeze into their rotation

Fans who keep a close eye on Omaha, the Royals' Triple-A affiliate, probably know what happened there Sunday evening. But for those who don't, a promising starting pitcher turned in an excellent performance.

Anthony Veneziano, a lefthander who's been in the Royals' system since they chose him in the 10th round of the 2019 amateur draft, started against St. Paul and held the Saints to a single run in the six innings he worked. He also struck out five and didn't walk anyone. But although the Storm Chasers won 3-1, Veneziano didn't get the win because that one run he gave up tied the game and the Chasers didn't score the eventual winner until after he'd left the contest.

The effort wasn't an outlier. Veneziano is now 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA in nine Omaha appearances (eight starts) after getting a mid-May bump up from Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he went 5-1, 2.13 with a 1.06 BB/9 and 10.2 K/9 in eight starts. His overall 9-1, 2.66 record is commanding attention.

And although he's striking out fewer batters (7.65 K/9) and walking more (4.46 BB/9) at Omaha, unsurprising results considering his move to a higher level, Veneziano is definitely a starter the Royals should fit into their rotation, at least for a look, before they conclude the season Oct. 1 against the Yankees. He's dominated opponents at the minors' two highest levels this year, making it time for Kansas City to check him out against big league hitters before the postseason deadline to set their 40-man rosters for Rule 5 purposes.

He just might be a hurler the club wants and needs to protect.

And then there's this infielder-outfielder...