The Royals rarely have a pitcher skip Omaha en route to Kansas City. But if they need a hot arm to be a temporary addition to the rotation, they could do much worse than Alec Marsh.
The Royals selected Marsh 70th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft, and the 24-year-old righty has a solid case for the major league club. He pitched across both Double-A and Triple-A in 2022, with nearly 125 innings in 27 games. His 27 home runs allowed and 7.32 ERA at Double-A are concerning, especially adding in his 54 total walks. But Marsh's strikeout stuff is among the best in the Kansas City farm system, and that has continued to 2023.
Marsh has bounced back in Northwest Arkansas, sporting a 1.93 ERA while averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He only has three starts for the Naturals this season, never allowing more than two runs or walking more than two batters in a game. FanGraphs has positive projects for Marsh in the next few years if he joins the rotation in 2023. He is very hot right now for the Naturals and could benefit from the "Raid the Zone" mentality in the major leagues.
While Mayers or Cox are both more experienced and sensible pitching options for the Royals, Marsh's promotion would be exciting for Royals fans who want to see some younger pitching additions. Marsh is top-20 prospect, according to FanGraphs and MLB.com. Out of those pitchers ranked ahead of him, he is producing the best and looks major-league ready. Marsh would be a splashy and risky move for the Royals, but one they should consider at this juncture.