With the midnight deadline for rosters to be completed on Thursday night looming, the KC Royals made a few moves to set their 40-man roster.
First, they acquired outfielder Reymond Fuentes (former Royal Carlos Beltran’s cousin) from the SD Padres for lefty reliever Kyle Bartsch. The Royals then added Fuentes to the 40-man roster.
Fuentes was once a sought after prospect, as the Padres acquired him from Boston for Adrian Gonzalez back in December of 2010. He reached the Major Leagues briefly with the Padres late in 2013 (5-for-33).
Fuentes spent parts of the last three seasons with Double-A San Antonio, hitting over .300 each time. However, he struggled in Triple-A. In 2014, he hit .261 with nine doubles, three triples, and a home run (out of his 41 hits). So he was basically a singles hitter. In 157 at-bats, he struck out 27 times to 17 walks. He stole 25 bases combined at two levels.
The Royals are looking to fill up on outfielders that could potentially win the right field job in 2015. Not sure Fuentes is the answer just yet.
Not only is Bartsch a great interview, he is also a dominant reliever. After some struggles to start his first full season (he was drafted in 2013), he stepped up down the stretch for High-A Wilmington when they lost their All-Star closer (Mark Peterson) to a promotion. In the second half, he allowed a total six earned run over 31 innings, while striking out 27 (compared to just for walks). Opponents hit just .193 against Bartsch in the second half.
Bartsch was absolutely filthy in August, when the Blue Rocks were fighting for a playoff spot. Over his last ten appearances (totaling 14 innings), he allowed just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out 14.
Though I am sad to see Bartsch go, in all honesty, this is a great move for him. The Padres are young and he could (and should) move quickly in their farm system. Plus, their upper level minor league affiliates are closer to his home in Texas.
Their Double-A team plays in San Antonio (Texas League) and their Triple-A affiliate is the El Paso Chihuahuas (Pacific Coast League). El Paso brought in HUGE crowds in their debut season (average of 7,901) and the Missions just updated their logos and uniforms. Plus, he will get to see his former teammates during the regular season (as NWA and Omaha play in the same leagues).
You can also still check out Bartsch during spring training, as the Padres train in Peoria, maybe 15 minutes from Surprise.
The Royals were said to have been kicking around a bunch of names to add to their 40-man roster and protect from the Rule V Draft that will be held at the end of the winter meetings in early December. They only protected two of their eligible players.
They are outfielder Jorge Bonifacio and shortstop Orlando Calixte. Their roster now stands at 38.
After having a solid 2013 season and being promoted to Double-A, Bonifacio took a HUGE step back in 2014. He returned to NW Arkansas, but hit just .230 with 20 doubles, four triples, and four home runs. He drove in 51 in 132 games.
Once seen as the Royals future right fielder, I am not sure that he will be that. He has yet to show much power (which the Royals desperately need) and his numbers were down in a hitter’s league. Plus, he has had trouble staying healthy (he only played a few games this winter for Licey in the Dominican Winter League).
Calixte was also back with the Naturals in 2014 and got a late start to the season due to a visa issue. He hit just .241 in 96 games with 15 doubles, a triple, and 11 home runs. He hit just .225 in the second half, after being named a Texas League All-Star (.273 in the first half).
The interesting omission is utility fielder Whit Merrifield, who proved in 2014 that he can play all over the diamond, while hitting .340 at the Triple-A level. Many were disappointed he did not receive a September callup and I really could see a another big league team taking a chance on him.
Others the Royals could lose include infielder Ramon Torres, outfielders Brian Fletcher and Brett Eibner, and pitchers Malcom Culver, Andy Ferguson, and Ali Williams.