The Royals have placed closer Wade Davis on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain and selected the contract of right-hander Brooks Pounders to take his spot in the 25-man roster. In order to clear room for Pounders on the 40-man roster, Kansas City has designated left-hander Tyler Olson for assignment.
[Related: Updated Kansas City Royals depth chart]
Davis, 29, has once again been one of baseball’s most dominant relievers this season, firing 29 1/3 innings of 1.23 ERA ball, though he’s seen his strikeout and walk ratios trend in the wrong direction, averaging 8.6 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9. The Royals are fairly well equipped when it comes to replacing Davis, as fellow righty Kelvin Herrera has arguably been more dominant, hurling 38 2/3 innings with a 1.40 ERA with 11.4 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9. However, the overall relief corps will be thinned out by the loss of Davis. Joakim Soria, who has righted the ship since an ugly April, will presumably become the club’s top eighth-inning arm with Davis on the shelf, while Luke Hochevar seems likely to take on a larger role as well.
Pounders, 25, was a second-round pick of the Pirates back in 2009 and was acquired by the Royals in a seemingly minor 2011 trade that sent Yamaico Navarro to Pittsburgh. He’s steadily raised his stock in the Royals’ farm system and is having one of the best seasons of his career in 2016, having logged a 2.80 ERA with a 78-to-28 K/BB ratio in 64 1/3 innings. Pounders currently ranks 28th on MLB.com’s list of top 30 Royals prospects; Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis write that Pounders has a 91-94 mph fastball that can touch 97 mph in shorter relief stints as well as an inconsistent slider that looks like a plus pitch at times.
Olson, 26, has ridden the DFA carousel from the Mariners to the Dodgers to the Yankees to the Royals in the past calendar year. He owns a 4.81 ERA with a 23-to-10 K/BB ratio in 33 2/3 innings in Triple-A this season and a 4.60 ERA in 88 career innings at that level. While he’s yet to have much in the way of success at the MLB level or even in the upper-levels of the minors, Olson has yet to make it through waivers, as clubs continue to be intrigued enough by his arm to dedicate a 40-man roster spot. It’s possible, then, that he’ll soon land with his fifth organization since December.