The Royals announced today that they’ve sent a player to be named later or cash to the Rays in exchange for unrestricted rights to Rule 5 pick Stephen Woods Jr. Such moves are only possible once a player first goes unclaimed on outright waivers. Normally, a Rule 5 pick is then offered back to his original club, but the Royals worked out a trade to keep Woods in the organization — and because he’s already cleared waivers, the right-hander won’t require a spot on the 40-man roster.
Woods, 25, missed the entire 2018 season due to shoulder surgery but returned in 2019 to throw 86 1/3 frames of 1.88 ERA ball with 8.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 53.4 percent ground-ball rate in Class-A Advanced. Pitching the majority of last season at age 24, Woods was a bit old for the level, but the results were obviously quite encouraging for a pitcher coming back from a major surgical procedure. The Kansas City organization was clearly enamored of the former eighth-round pick’s upside and will now be able to hang onto him for the foreseeable future.
Woods has a history of control struggles, but he’s also missed plenty of bats in both his NCAA and professional career. His velocity was down a bit from its previous levels in 2019, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen noted at the time of the Rule 5 Draft, but Woods also posted the lowest walk rate of his career in ’19.
let’s hope we got soler
seems like a solid piece to keep on hand
The Royals are quietly amassing a pool of talented youngsters. Asa Lacy could end up being the best overall player from the 2020 draft. They also have Bobby Witt, Jr., Brady Singer, Khalil Lee and many other highly rated prospects down in the farm. While it will take another 2-3 years for these kids to be ML ready, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel for the Royals rebuild.
The AL Central is going to be a really tough division in a couple of years. Detroit will be bringing up some promising talent soon, Minnesota already has great ML talent with more on the way, the ChiSox continue to build talent to supplement a great, young ML roster and Cleveland always finds a way to develop some of the best young pitchers in baseball. The Royals have another 1-2 years of tough sledding but if I were a Royals fan, I’d be really excited about their future. Why not add a relatively young piece like this to the puzzle?
I agree. The Royals are building a very talented minor league group. In 2-3 years, they will have the best starting rotation in all of MLB!! Their offense will be a top 15 offense, definitely good enough with the rotation that they will have. They will also have a top 10 bullpen. I definitely see another World Series in the future of the Royals!!