Many of the Royals’ best pitching prospects are returning from injury-shortened seasons, yet as MLB.com’s Anne Rogers writes, most of these young arms are back at the club’s minor league camp in good health. The most prominent of these names is Asa Lacy, the fourth overall pick of the 2020 draft and a consensus top-40 prospect heading into the 2021 season, though Lacy’s stock has dropped a bit after a rough debut year.
The left-hander posted a 5.19 ERA over 52 innings in high-A ball, with a strong 33.3% strikeout rate but also a garish 17.3% walk rate. Discomfort in his throwing shoulder sidelined Lacy for a good chunk of the season, though he felt well enough to pitch 7 2/3 more frames during Arizona Fall League action, with mixed results. Lacy delivered a 2.35 ERA and 15 strikeouts over that smaller sample size, but still issued six walks. It isn’t uncommon for players (even those without injury concerns) to have some trouble adjusting to their first taste of minor league ball, and both Lacy and the Royals are hopeful this was just a bump in the road of Lacy’s development.
Some other items from around the American League…
- The Yankees and manager Aaron Boone are still looking at candidates to become the club’s third hitting coach, Joel Sherman of The New York Post writes. When last we heard of the Yankees’ search, the Bronx Bombers were hoping to land a former MLB player in the role — neither hitting coach Dillon Lawson and assistant hitting coach Casey Dykes played pro ball. (Eric Chavez was initially hired for the job but then headed crosstown to become the Mets’ new hitting coach.) How close the Yankees might be to finding that new coach is unknown, as Sherman indicated that a hire could come this week, or the team might just stick with two hitting coaches if they can’t find a good fit for that third position. The hitting coach search is just of several topics broached within a wide-ranging interview with Boone about the manager’s tenure in the Bronx, the challenges of the lockout, and keeping the staff prepared for what might be a rushed Spring Training.
- Wilkel Hernandez threw his first bullpen session at the Tigers’ minor league minicamp Sunday, Evan Petzold of The Detroit Fress Press writes. The right-handed prospect hasn’t pitched since 2019 due to the canceled 2020 minor league season and then Tommy John surgery in October 2020. Even despite this missed time, Hernandez (who turns 23 in April) still has four years of pro experience, after joining the Angels as an international signing in 2015. Hernandez came to Detroit’s organization in December 2017, as one of two minors pitchers acquired from the Angels in exchange for Ian Kinsler.