Prior to the roster deadline today, the Royals have added three players to their 40-man roster, to protect them from being eligible for the rule 5 draft. Those players are right handed pitchers Josh Staumont, Scott Blewett, and Arnaldo Hernandez.
At 25 years old, Staumont is somewhere among the Royals top 20 or so prospects, depending on what you make of him, his stuff, and his future (which is dependent on the first two). Armed with a fastball that clocked 103 MPH in college (likely on a gun that ran hot) and a big curveball, Staumont might convince you he pitches with his eyes closed sometimes. He has yet to pair his strong stuff with command, walking 15% of the batters he faced in 2018. On the plus side, he struck out a crazy amount of them at 30%, but a 2:1 strikeout ratio for a reliever is a bit lacking. Notice the role in that sentence too. The Royals held out Staumont as a starter for several years before finally moving him to the pen officially. This was always his most likely outcome, so now Staumont should see time in the MLB bullpen at some point to see if the higher up coaches can hone in his stuff.
Blewett, 23, was a 2nd round pick in 2014 out of up state New York (an area not tapped often early in drafts). Picked at 56th overall, Blewett was ranked the 51st best draft prospect that year. Like Staumont, Blewett ranks somewhere in the top 20 as well, where a case as high as 8ish could be made. It’s been a slow climb up the proverbial organizational ladder for him, spending two years in A-Ball before making full year stops at A+ and AA. He has a solid pitchers body, a good fastball, and fine curveball, but the changeup and command are semi-lacking. He’s been up to 95 MPH this fall. It’s likely the org keeps him as a starter but could break him in in the bullpen.
Hernandez, 23 and from Venezuela, is a guy the Royals really like and have been impressed with. Joining the organization way back in 2012, the Royals feel like he made a lot of strides in 2018 and liked what he brought to the Omaha roster. He’s a two-pitch guy mostly, with a mid-90s fastball and a changeup that varies from average to below depending on the day. He is a zone pounder, and fits the Royals mold in that facet.
The Royals left off the 40-man a few notable names:
1st round pick RHP Foster Griffin
1st round pick C/1B Chase Vallot
1B Frank Schwindel
SS DJ Burt
OF Donnie Dewees
OF Elier Hernandez, who received a large bonus as an amateur
LHP Elvis Luciano
RHP Bryan Brickhouse