During most minor league seasons there are a few Royals bullpen pieces that start to shine. Â Some of the reason for this is that since GMDM and his crew took over they have made a concerted effort to add hard throwing college arms in the draft. Â Despite a change in the draft rules the Royals stayed with that strategy in 2012 adding some college arms that could make a leap forward in the bullpen during the 2013 season.
Andrew Triggs – I’ve told this story before but when I went to Kyle Zimmer’s first start the thing that stood out to me most besides Kyle’s ridiculous moving fastball was the movement Triggs puts on all of his pitches. Â Attacking from below a 3/4 arm slot Triggs throws three capable pitches in short stints with tons of movement. Â His radar numbers aren’t going to jump off the charts as he works in the low 90’s with his fastball but the movement, arm slot and consistency should have him zipping through Wilmington. Â I would expect plenty of AA time for the Royals 18th Round selection with a possibility of reaching AAA. Â Working against him is the current depth in the pen along with the fact that he is a Louis Coleman type 6-7th inning match up type guy as opposed to a back-end dominator like Holland, Herrera.
Stat Fact – Triggs 7.7% LD rate ranks 2nd to only Collin Rodgers among Royals pitchers who faced over 100 batters in 2012.
John Walter -Â Big body at 6’5 and 220 lbs Walter looks the part of a major league relief pitcher. Â On top of that the Penn State right-handerÂ has an arsenal that could take off in the minor leagues with a mid 90’s fastball, 12-6 curve that his college pitching coach called his best pitch and a low 80’s cutter that the Royals will likely have him cut back on if not eliminate all together. Â That arsenal helped dominate the Rookie Appy League as their closer ranking 12th in the league in WHip and K/9 while also leading the league with 9 saves. Â The numbers were solid but when a big righty takes that fastball combined with some college experience to the Appy league he should dominate. Â He’ll likely get a bigger test in the South Atlantic League this season and I would expect him to get through that level to Wilmington in 2013.
Stat Fact – Walter’s 33.3% K rate trailed just Sam Selman’s Â 36.3% among Royals pitchers in the organization across all levels last year.
Zeb Sneed – While the other two pitchers in the article had outstanding 2013 campaigns Sneed’s numbers were less than desirable for the Chukars in 2012. Â Some of those problems may be due to the fact that he was being used as a starter as opposed to the pen where he profiles longterm. Â The 6’4 right-hander has a split finger fastball with so much downward movement that his college coach told me he wasn’t able to throw it much because the catchers couldn’t handle it. Â If that is true then Sneed’s mid 90’s fastball combined with that pitch should be enough to dominate in the minor leagues in a bullpen role. Â In the past the split finger fastball hasn’t been a pitch that the Royals have used in the minors so it will be interesting to see if the FO and pitching instructors allow Sneed to feature it. Â A move to the pen and use of his best pitch could allow Sneed to move through the midwest league quickly IF he can throw strikes.
More info on Sneed hereÂ video of his spectacular bullpen fu manchu which the Royals should make as a bullpen must.