The Royals announced Tuesday that they’ve signed right-hander Braden Shipley to a minor league contract. The former first-rounder and top prospect will presumably be in Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets that he’ll make $600K if he cracks the MLB roster.
Now 28 years old, Shipley was the 15th overall pick by the D-backs in the 2013 draft and ranked among baseball’s 100 best prospects in each of his first three pro seasons, per Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus. But after strong showings up through the Double-A level, Shipley’s strikeout rate began to deteriorate while his walks increased. He received big league looks from the Diamondbacks each season from 2016-18 but scuffled in each showing, ultimately compiling a 5.49 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.71 HR/9 and a 42.9 percent ground-ball rate through an even 100 innings in the big leagues.
Shipley has worked both as a starter and a reliever during his pro career, showing greater velocity and swinging-strike tendencies when working out of the bullpen. He’ll give the Kansas City organization some depth in either role and will likely head to Triple-A Omaha to begin the season if he doesn’t crack the roster.