Royals' Pitching Depth Apparent At Wilmington
Six Royals pitching prospects who logged time at high Class A Wilmington in 2019 will be in big league camp this spring—and all six have a chance to reach Kansas City during the season.
Righthanders Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and lefthander Daniel Lynch, the trio of 2018 first-round picks from major college programs, opened last season in the Blue Rocks' rotation. Southpaws Daniel Tillo and Kris Bubic also spent most of the season at Wilmington, as did closer Tyler Zuber.
Teammates and College World Series champions at Florida, Singer and Kowar moved to Double-A Northwest Arkansas in June after making quick work of the Carolina League.
"Rightfully so,” Wilmington manager Scott Thorman said. "They really dominated the league and did exactly what they needed to do—and what we hoped they’d do. They moved on to Double-A and did well there.”
Lynch would have joined Singer and Kowar in the Texas League had he not suffered from a shoulder injury that took him out of commission for most of June and July.
"He got derailed a little bit, but he was just as effective as those other two guys," Thorman said.
Losing those three rotation stalwarts, plus Zuber to a promotion to Double-A, did not deter Wilmington from winning the Carolina League championship.
"That was incredible,” Thorman said. "Once those guys went up (to Double-A), we insert Kris Bubic, (righthander) Jonathan Bowlan and (lefthander) Austin Cox. Those kids came in and were unbelievable.
"Bowlan threw a no-hitter (July 15 against Carolina). Bubic took a no-hitter into the ninth (Aug. 16 against Lynchburg) and led the minors in strikeouts (185).”
Cox, a 2018 fifth-round pick out of Mercer, had a 1.94 ERA in his final 10 starts for the Blue Rocks.
"Austin Cox had some huge starts for us down the stretch,” Thorman said. "He was just an absolute bulldog—pounding the zone. A big, strong, physical lefty.”
That the Blue Rocks could so easily replace the departed talent speaks volumes about the Royals’ pitching depth, which was a focal point of the organization's 2018 draft class.
"There’s a lot to be excited about for sure,” Thorman said.
— Drew Saylor joins the Royals organization as minor league hitting coordinator. He spent last season as the manager and assistant hitting coordinator at low Class West Virginia in the Pirates’ organization. Prior to that, he spent three years managing the Dodgers' high Class A Rancho Cucamonga affiliate.
— The Royals hired Mike Tosar to be a special assignment hitting coach after serving as an international scout and special assignment hitting coach with the Dodgers from 2012 to 1209. He threw to former Royal Mike Moustakas in the 2017 Home Run Derby at Marlins Park.