Besides Ángel Zerpa, the KC Royals will have four pitchers working in the AFL
Kansas City is sending three righthanded hurlers, Beck Way, Jacob Wallace and Eric Cerantola, and a lefty, Ryan Kaufman, to Arizona.
An excellent fall will benefit Way, who may want to simply forget his 2023 season. Way, originally a Yankee after New York chose him in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, was 2-9 with a 6.67 ERA in 28 appearances (17 starts) at Northwest Arkansas, and is 14-20, 4.73 over three minor league campaigns. How the Royals choose to use him in the AFL — as a starter, reliever, or both — will be interesting.
Wallace's first season in the KC organization (he played previously in the Colorado and Boston systems) wasn't stellar. Utilized exclusively as a reliever, he went 1-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 49 games for Northwest Arkansas; that he walked 40 batters in 49.1 innings evidences his season-long struggle with control, but he also had a nice 10.40 K/9 and boasts a four-year minor league 12.19 K/9.
Like Wallace, Cerantola fought his control this season, issuing 46 walks in 76.1 innings (5.42 BB/9), and was 3-4 with a 3.66 ERA across 28 relief appearances and four starts during a campaign split between High-A and Double-A. But also like Wallace, the righty fanned plenty of hitters — 99 in those 76.1 innings, to be precise.
Kaufman is, other than Zerpa, the only lefty the Royals chose for this year's AFL work. He spent much of this season on the Injured List and, dividing time between the Arizona Complex League, High-A and Double-A, went 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA in 13 games (eight starts).
Check back with Kings of Kauffman for updates as the AFL campaign progresses.