The KC Royals announced the six players that they will be sending to this year’s Arizona Fall League (the Surprise Saguaros). All six spent some time with the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Right-handed reliever Andrew Edwards is the lone representative that has spent the entire season with the Blue Rocks. He is 0-2 with a 4.12 ERA in 27 games, though he missed a month with an ankle injury and usually only pitches once every five days (like everyone else in the bullpen). Edwards’ last five appearances have been scoreless (8.1IP, 3H, 2BB, 5K).
Centerfielder Bubba Starling only spent 12 games with Wilmington (.386 with four doubles, two home runs, and 12 RBIs) before his promotion to Double-A NW Arkansas. While he has had his moments at the plate with the Naturals, it has been a struggle of late. Starling is currently hitting .261 with 18 doubles, four triples, and eight homers. He has scored 48 runs and driven in 30. Starling has walked 28 times compared to 83 strikeouts in 310 at-bats. It will be his second straight season in the AFL.
Catcher Zane Evans returned to Wilmington to start the season, but spent a little over a month there before being promoted to NWA (.271 with eight doubles, four home runs, and 15 RBIs). With the Naturals, Evans is hitting .245 with 13 doubles and six homers. He has driven in 38, but has just six walks compared to 60 strikeouts in 220 at-bats.
Infielder Ramon Torres was a midseason Carolina League All-Star and hit .257 in 71 games with Wilmington. He was also a late game hero on many occasions in the first half. Torres is currently hitting .273 with seven doubles, a triple, and four home runs with NWA. He has proven to be a valuable top of the order hitter, as he has walked 17 times compared to 21 strikeouts in 165 at-bats (.344 on-base percentage).
Brooks Pounders made just two starts before his promotion to Double-A. Coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2013 and a lat injury this spring training, Pounders is coming into form at the right time (the Naturals are playing in the postseason). He is currently 3-3 with a 2.48 ERA in six starts with NWA (he is starting tonight). Over 36.1 innings, opponents are hitting .233 against him. He has walked 14 and struck out 27.
Right-handed reliever Kevin McCarthy started the season with Low-A Lexington (1.50 ERA in 12 innings) and was promoted to Wilmington at the beginning of May. With the Blue Rocks, he was 3-3 with a 1.64 ERA in 16 games (4-for-5 in save opportunities). He walked five while striking out 23 in 33 innings. McCarthy was promoted to NWA on August 1st and he currently has a 5.40 ERA in nine games.
The AFL begins on October 13th. The Saguaros will be managed by Carlos Sobero of the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Former Royal Jose Rosado (NYY) and current Royals minor league pitching coach Carlos Reyes will serve as pitching coaches. The team will consist of players from the Royals, Texas, Brewers, Yankees, and St. Louis.