3 KC Royals starters who'll begin 2024 in Triple-A, 2 who won't

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Chandler Champlain is an up-and-coming KC Royals prospect

When Kansas City traded Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees in 2022, they received minor league pitchers T.J. Sikkema, Beck Way, and Chandler Champlain in return. Since then, they lost Sikkema in December's minor league Rule 5 Draft and Way is struggling in the minors. But Champlain's is a name fans will often hear in the coming months.

MLB Pipeline rates Champlain as the organization's 11th-best prospect, which makes him its fourth highest-ranking pitching prospect. Drafted by the Yankees in 2021, he began his pro career at Single-A Tampa in 2022, where he went 2-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) before the Benintendi trade. He then gave up 35 runs in 32 innings for KC's Quad Cities High-A club.

Fortunately, he's improved quickly. He began last season at Quad Cities, started 11 games, had a 1.059 WHIP, lowered his ERA to 2.74, and was bumped up to Northwest Arkansas where, in 14 starts, he finished with a 3.82 ERA and 1.219 WHIP. He ended the season 11-8, 3.33.

He throws a cutter, a curve, and a slider. His GB% bounces between 40-50%, and his control is decent.

Expect Champlain to start this season back in Double-A, but get to Omaha quickly. And like Veneziano last year, he might even get a taste of the majors in 2024.

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