Jake Odorizzi Jumps To Top Of Royals' Pitching List

BEST PLAYER: Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have been productive graduates of the Royals farm system. They will soon welcome a third potential run producer in Wil Myers, a 2009 third-round pick.

Myers, 21, started the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, hitting .343/.414/.731 with 13 home runs in 35 games. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A Omaha, where he hit .304/.378/.554 with 24 home runs and 79 RBIs in 99 games, and he was BA's Minor League Player of the Year.

"His run production has gone up tremendously," said J.J. Picollo, assistant general manager of scouting and player development. "He's matured into the power hitter we thought he would be."

BEST PITCHER: Jake Odorizzi, like Myers, began the season with the Naturals, going 4-2, 3.32 in seven starts. He and Myers were promoted the same day to the Storm Chasers. The 22-year-old Odorizzi, who came to Kansas City from the Brewers as part of the Zack Greinke deal, performed well in the Pacific Coast League, going 11-3, 2.93 in 107 innings, and won his first PCL playoff start.

"Last year we talked about being able to have confidence to throw offspeed pitches for strikes in the first pitch of an at-bat. He's done that," Picollo said.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Kyle Smith had an amazing first professional week. After signing late last year as a fourth-round pick and not pitching, Smith made his debut on June 19 for Rookie-level Idaho Falls and struck out 11 and walked one, while allowing three hits and one run in five innings against Orem. That earned him the Pioneer League pitcher of the week honors and a promotion to low Class A Kane County.

In his first start with Kane County, Smith threw six no-hit innings against Clinton. That produced a Midwest League pitcher of the week award. So on June 25, he was named the pitcher of the week for two different leagues. For the season, Smith went 5-3, 2.96 in 13 starts with 19 walks and 91 strikeouts.


• Steve Foster, who had been the Royals bullpen coach the past three seasons, has been switched to being the minor league pitching coordinator. He replaces Rick Knapp.

• Righthander Kyle Zimmer, the Royals' first-round pick this June, had surgery in August to remove fragments from his right elbow.