Predicting the KC Royals Spring Breakout roster

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KC Royals Spring Breakout pitchers

Pitchers: Ben Kudrna, Frank Mozzicato, Noah Cameron, Hunter Owen, Henry Williams, Luinder Avila, Tyson Guerrero, Chazz Martinez, Steven Zobac, Cooper McKeehan

This is a long list, featuring 10 arms Royals fans need to know. Let's run through the pitching options Kansas City should feature in the Spring Breakout.

Ben Kudrna deserves to start against the Brewers, without a shadow of a doubt. The Blue Valley Southwest alum was Kansas City's top pitching prospect to end 2023, according to He posted 70 strikeouts across 68 1/3 Low-A innings, making him one of Kansas City's best strikeout artists. The transition to High-A was jarring for the 21-year-old, but another offseason of development should maintain his slow but steady development.

Frank Mozzicato was not a popular pick after the Royals drafted him seventh overall in the 2021 draft. But he has met expectations and remains the Royals fourth-best overall prospect. There are some issues in his game, namely control issues and needing to add muscle, but he has one of the prettiest curveballs you will ever see. The Royals front office should strategically use Mozzicato in the Spring Breakout as a testament to the pitching development staff.

Another Kansas City metro native, Noah Cameron, had some struggles in his Double-A debut but hopes to improve in 2024. He has great strikeout potential, posting 58 in 35 innings of high-a ball last year. That potential remains, thanks to his fastball location and changeup. He could make a successful move to the bullpen in the future, but Kansas City is rolling with him as a starter for now.

Hunter Owen is the biggest wild card in these pitching options, as he hasn't pitched in a game since the Royals drafted him. evaluators still give him three plus pitches as a starter, namely his fastball and slider. If he is healthy, Owen has the tools and stature to be an underrated starting prospect. Kansas City should deploy him against the Brewers this spring.

Henry Williams is a newcomer to the Royals organization, coming from the San Diego Padres in the Soctt Barlow trade. Health has been Williams' biggest issue in his professional career, but 17 total starts last year provide promise. He lacks control and a true get-out pitch, but he has the stature and talent to be in the Spring Breakout.

On the flip side, Luinder Avila has been the picture of durability since joining the Royals organization when he was 16 years old. The Venezuelan has progressed nicely since 2018, logging 223 2/3 innings since 2021. His fastball still has room for growth, but his true four-pitch mix keeps his starting potential high.

Tyson Guerrero is looking to build off a stellar 2023 season, his first full one since the Royals drafted him in 2021. He has electric strikeout stuff, thanks to his fastball/slider combo. He struck out opposing batters 30.9% of the time in 2023, across High-A and Double-A. He still needs another pitch to stick as a starter, but Guerrero should pitch at least an inning against Milwaukee.

Moving to true relievers, Chazz Martinez is a name to watch in 2024. He made 39 appearances for Quad Cities last year, striking out 86 batters in 64 innings of work. His 4.08 ERA is not perfect, but his 3.33 FIP is enticing with a knockout fastball from the left-hand side.

Steven Zobac made history for the Columbia Fireflies out of the bullpen last year but looks to become a starter in the Royals organization. Zobac has good control from the mound while still striking out enough to be a viable starter. I prefer him in the bullpen role, but Zobac's 3.48 FIP in 18 starts last year is hard to ignore.

Last but not least is my favorite relief prospect, Cooper McKeehan. I called him the best Royals prospect you have not heard of, and I stand by it. He led all Royals minor leaguers in groundball-to-flyball ratio with 3.89 last year, en route to being a Carolina League Post-Season All-Star. His 11 saves prove he can produce in high-leverage situations, and he should rocket up the Royals system.

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