4 standout KC Royals prospects from first Omaha Storm Chasers series

Triple-A action started this past weekend and some prospects really performed well.

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA
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RHP Andrew Hoffman

If there is any trope about successful Royals starters, it is that they won't receive run support more often than not. That is exactly what starter Andrew Hoffman experienced in his 2024 debut, unfortunately, but don't let that overshadow him spinning a great start against the Cubs.

Hoffman was one inning shy of a quality start, allowing two runs and striking out five in five innings of work. The five hits he allowed were singles, so that is hardly a cause for concern personally. Five strikeouts to one walk is always a promising sign too, especially against an Iowa lineup loaded with talent. Omaha dropped the series final 2-0, but Hoffman did everything he could for Omaha to win.

The positive I am focused on is Hoffman's stuff or his pitching arsenal. I have not always been a believer in him since Kansas City acquired him and Waters back in 2022. But, the 2021 draftee is looking strong to start his Triple-A career. His impressive Sunday start came from his electric slider, inducing 17 called strikes and whiffs. That adds up to a 36% CSW on that lone pitch, playing well off a sinker and cutter.

Hoffman showed a legit five-pitch mix, even if his fastball leaves something to be desired. Royals fans should watch him enter the rotational conversation late this season or early in 2025.

LHP Walter Pennington

I have to throw lefty Walter Pennington in here. The former undrafted free agent could be another success story of a revitalized pitching development pipeline. His strong spring performance catapulted him into the lefty reliever conversation, after posting an amazing 0.19 FIP and 1.23 ERA across 7 1/3 innings. In that body of work, he struck out 16 batters while walking only two with five hits. That is an amazing mark.

Pennington has parlayed his strong spring into the Triple-A season, tossing 2 2/3 innings against the Cubs. His 16.88 K/9 and no runs allowed show he hasn't skipped a beat and can be an anchor in the Storm Chasers bullpen. Farm to Fountains' Preston Farr pointed out how great Pennington was on Sunday.

Pennington should make his MLB debut at some point this season. The question is when. Will Smith, Kansas City's primary lefty reliever, did not look great in his Royals debut against the Minnesota Twins. Pennington could emerge as a replacement option if Smith continues to struggle for some reason.

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