The KC Royals did not select (or lose) a player in last Thursday’s Rule V Draft, but they did acquire one. The Royals made a deal with Boston, acquiring right-hander Jandel Gustave, who the Red Sox selected from Houston with the sixth pick in the Rule V Draft.
Gustave has to stay on the Royals 25-man roster (though he could be on the DL, but must be on the big league roster for at least 90 days) or be offered back to the Astros for $25,000. With the current depth of the Royals bullpen, he could stick and be hidden. However, the writers at Baseball America believe Gustave’s chances of sticking in the big leagues with the Royals to be low.
I have not seen Gustave pitch in person, so I needed to search around the Internet for scouting reports on him. His 2014 numbers with Quad Cities in the Midwest League (his first full season of pro ball) were not encouraging, at least as a starter.
In 14 starts, opponents hit .321 against him with 25 walks (and were hit 11 times) in 56 innings. He did strike out 62 batters.
As a reliever (nine appearances), things were much different. He had two saves and a miniscule 0.78 ERA. In 23 innings, Gustave walked four to 20 strikeouts, while opponents hit just .195 against him with zero home runs.
Now to the scouting reports…
Triple-digit heat, relatively clean delivery. Has made a lot of progress throwing strikes over career…But offspeeds are very raw and so he gets hit more than you’d think.
Jay Blue of Grading on the Curve provided a first-hand report on Gustave from the beginning of the 2014 season. He showed better control, but not as much command in the strike zone. Gustave registered 98 mph several times (on the players’ charting pitches guns) and sat comfortably at 95-97 mph. However, the fastball was up in the zone and straight.
Gustave’s slider sat around 87 mph with nice depth and sharpness. He threw it to both sides of the plate, but after the first inning, hitters were not fooled and sat on the fastball.
Mechanically he “can rush his delivery at times and has a lot of head movement…” Blue wrote.
Baseball America reviewed last week’s Rule V Draft and provided a scouting report on Gustave. As a reliever, he can scrap his below-average changeup for just his fastball and slider. “Gustave has at least a chance to go from below-average low Class A starter to a pitcher who can blow-and-go for a few batters at a time in the big leagues.”
Gustave seems to be an interesting arm to keep an eye on. He is 22 years old, but is very raw with very little professional experience (outside of four seasons of rookie ball, two years of Dominican Summer League action).