KC Royals announce barrage of minor-league pitching promotions on Monday

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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The KC Royals started the work week with a bang if you consider selecting veteran pitcher Dan Altavilla's contract from Triple-A Omaha a bang. The veteran righty has been solid for the Storm Chasers this season and now replenishes the bullpen at the expense of fellow righty Will Klein. Still, that was far from the only pitching promotion in Kansas City's organization. The Royals announced six other pitching promotions, ranging from Low-A to Triple-A.

Several KC Royals prospects took the next step in their professional careers Monday.

Starting at the top, 2019 draft pick Noah Murdock jumped to Triple-A for the first time in his career. The 25-year-old righty transitioned to the bullpen last season with little success for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He has rebounded nicely in 2024, posting a 2.22 ERA and 26 strikeouts across 24 1/3 innings. The Naturals reliever will have a steep learning curve in Triple-A, but now is the time to sink or swim.

Brandon Johnson may have one of the best collegiate resumes in the Royals organization, climaxing in a 2022 College World Series win and 12 saves in 24 appearances for the Ole Miss Rebels. This season, he has found the save stuff in the minors, striking out 34.6% of opposing batters while only walking 9.6% across 24 High-A innings. His 4.13 ERA may not turn heads, but he strands baserunners at an elite rate, and his 3.06 FIP offers promise.

Both former Low-A Columbia pitchers, Hunter Patteson and Chase Isbell, jump to Double-A after stellar starts in 2024. Patteson is a polished starter the Royals drafted out of Central Florida in 2022, and the 24-year-old lefty overwhelmed his competition this season. His 3.27 ERA and 56 strikeouts both rank third-best among all qualified Royals minor-leaguers.

Isbell made his professional debut last season but has been stellar in 22 2/3 innings this season. He is striking out an absurd 41.3% of opposing batters while maintaining a 0.79 ERA in 13 appearances. Expectations were never high for the 2023 15th-round pick, but he will turn heads if he continues dominating at the next level.

Lastly, righties Ismael Michel and Jesus Rios make the move from Arizona to Columbia, where they will make their introduction to most fans. Both are 22-year-old relievers, but Michel is the one to watch. He has been on fire in the ACL, allowing only one earned run across 10 1/3 innings this season. He is locating his pitches well, striking out 20 of the 41 batters he has faced this season.

Altavilla's promotion garners headlines, but rarely do we see this landslide of promotions in a single day. All players have differing expectations at their new home, while the big-league club prepares for the dog days of summer. Congratulations to all of these players for taking the next step in their professional careers!

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