Tyler Gentry: Royals 2022 Minor League Player Of The Year
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No team has received more at-bats from rookies this season than the Royals, whose list of first-year position players includes Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto, Michael Massey and others.
That list figures to grow after 23-year-old outfielder Tyler Gentry made his case with a breakout season at High-A Quad Cities and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
A 2020 third-round pick out of Alabama, Gentry played just 44 games for Quad Cities in 2021 when a knee injury forced him to the injured list. He hit when healthy, but a near 30% strikeout rate served to temper enthusiasm.
Returning to Quad Cities this spring, the righthanded-hitting Gentry was healthy for the first time since turning pro and earned a June 14 bump to Double-A. In 108 total games, Gentry hit .326/.422/.542 with 21 home runs, 10 stolen bases, 60 walks and 105 strikeouts in 108 games.
While being healthy helped, Gentry attributes swing changes he made coming into the season as being the biggest reason for improvement.
“I just simplified my load and my swing,” Gentry said. “Last year, I had a really long and slow load, kind of a longer swing, and it was getting me into trouble against guys with good velocity at the top of the zone.
"Now I just try to keep my head and feet as still and quiet as possible while loading, trying to have a nice compact swing, and that lets me see the ball as deep as possible.”
His progress this year has certainly not gone unnoticed.
“Tyler has been the model of consistency this season at the plate and on defense,” Royals farm director and field coordinate Mitch Maier said, “allowing him to have one of the best offensive seasons in the minor leagues . . .
"We're proud of the growth Tyler has made this year and is representative of how hard he works every day.”
More than 50 Royals minor league short season players and recent draft picks have been playing instructional league games against teams from other organizations. That number will increase significantly with more players joining the group after full-season leagues are completed.