In college, Royals prospect Josh Staumont was mostly just playing baseball for his scholarship, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star writes. Suddenly, though, Staumont started throwing with electrifying velocity, and he soon became the Royals’ 2015 second-round pick — and, later, one of their better prospects. “It was a way for me to get into the school and get a couple thousand dollars off the tuition. And that was literally all it came down to. I could play a sport that I loved and get an education,” he says. “Of course, as soon as I started throwing harder, that all changed.” During his first scrimmage at Azusa Pacific University, Staumont suddenly started generating 99-MPH radar gun readings that he initially thought were mistakes. His work with the Royals has included plenty more blistering fastballs, although he still has work to do on his control — last season between Class A+ Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he had a 4.23 ERA and an excellent 12.2 K/9, but with a very high 7.6 BB/9. Those numbers might suggest potential as a future reliever, but the Royals aren’t yet giving up on him as a possible rotation option. “It’s easy to look at him in the pen, only because he throws hard,” says assistant GM J.J. Picollo. “But in this climate, in this industry, it’s all about starting pitching.” Here’s more from the Central divisions.
- The Pirates are likely to replace Sean Rodriguez internally after the utilityman’s departure to the Braves, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Rodriguez hit .270/.349/.510 in 2016, and the Bucs will undoubtedly miss him. But they do have Adam Frazier, who posted a .356 OBP while playing second, third and all three outfield positions in an impressive rookie season last year. Also, middle infielder and former top prospect Alen Hanson is out of options and could make the big club as a backup at shortstop and second base.
- The Twins are telling potential trade partners they aren’t looking to deal Brian Dozier unless they get an excellent return, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets. Whatever their new front office’s actual intentions, it’s not surprising they would take that position — Dozier hit 42 homers last year and is signed to a reasonable deal through 2018, so his trade value should be quite high, and they could certainly wait to trade him if they wanted to. The Dodgers have reportedly had interest in Dozier recently, although a trade does not appear imminent between the two teams.