Three potential starting pitchers the KC Royals could target in Pittsburgh

Kansas City needs to improve it's pitching, both now and in the future. Pittsburgh has a deep system of pitching talent but are in a bind due to injuries. Could they work out a deal that's beneficial to both?
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Anthony Solometo would be a smart trade for Kansas City.

The Pirates under-slotted with their first pick of the 2021 draft, allowing them to spend up on three high school pitchers with their next three picks. The first of those high schoolers was Anthony Solometo. Solometo is a 20-year-old, 6-foot-5-inch left-handed starting pitcher currently at Double-A Altoona in the Pirates system.

He is, as of December 2023, the Pirates' 4th-ranked prospect. As such, this is a pitching prospect that would require a significant investment from Kansas City. With that said, he could be ready for the majors by mid-2024 and certainly by Opening Day 2025, just in time for the Royals' competitive window to open.

What is there to like about Solometo? Much like Oviedo, he does a great job of keeping the baseball in the ballpark. He finished his 2023 minor league season by surrendering only eight home runs in 24 starts. His WHIP across High-A and Double-A was an incredible 1.19. Scouting reports suggest he has superior command and will likely do well locating in the majors. There's a pretty good chance Solometo could enjoy a short stint at Triple-A or even leap to the majors.

Solometo's delivery features an unusual arm motion, similar to Madison Bumgarner, which can deceive batters. He also employs a dramatic leg kick which adds to this deception. He is very good at replicating this motion from pitch to pitch, obscuring what he is throwing. His motion is important because he isn't relying on velocity.

His four-seam fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range but comes with some sink that will result in a high GB% in the majors. He throws a dramatic slider (82 mph) with hard-cutting action that is a very difficult pitch to hit and he is developing a circle change-up that should help to fool hitters sitting on his slower fastball. This pitch assortment, his deceptive technique, and the high groundball rate would fit right at home in Kauffman Stadium.

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