Royals right-hander Ronald Bolanos went unclaimed on outright waivers and was subsequently assigned to Triple-A Omaha, per a team announcement. Kansas City designated Bolanos for assignment last week upon trading Carlos Santana to the Mariners and selecting the contract of first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino from Omaha.
Originally signed out of Cuba for a bonus north of $2MM, Bolanos arrived in the Royals organization alongside Franchy Cordero in the 2020 trade that sent left-hander Tim Hill from Kansas City to San Diego. He received brief looks in 2020-21, but the Royals gave him their longest MLB audition yet in 2022, pitching him for 18 1/3 frames over the course of eight relief appearances. The 25-year-old pitched to a respectable 4.42 ERA with a strong 51.7% ground-ball rate, but Bolanos walked as many batters as he struck out (12) and plunked another three. He also saw a dip in fastball velocity; his heater averaged 95.2 mph in his brief looks with the Royals in 2020-21 but clocked in at an average of 93.6 mph in 2022.
Command issues have persisted for Bolanos throughout his minor league tenure, evidenced by untenable walk rates in both Double-A (10.6%) and Triple-A (13.4%). Still, the Royals are likely pleased to hang onto the righty, who was ranked 26th among Kansas City prospects by Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin over at FanGraphs as recently as late May. He’ll head back to Omaha for now and continue to work on refining his command while maintaining his typically strong ground-ball tendencies.