The Royals have called up pitcher Heath Fillmyer from AAA Omaha to replace Kelvin Herrera, who was traded on Monday to the Washington Nationals for three prospects. The 24-year old right-hander was acquired over the off-season with pitcher Jesse Hahn from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Brandon Moss and pitcher Ryan Buchter. Fillmyer had a 5.75 ERA in 13 starts with Omaha with 47 strikeouts and 28 walks in 67 1⁄3 innings.
Fillmyer fared better last year in AA with the A’s organization with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts for Midland. He has never been much of a strikeout pitcher, instead getting a ground ball rate of around 40%. His walk rate has also been pretty high during his minor league career. Patrick Brennan at Royals Farm Report gave this scouting report of him:
Fillmyer works with a pretty slow, straight-forward, over-the-top delivery. Doesn’t feature a lot of moving parts and it seems easy to repeat. The arm speed looks really good, allowing for a sneaky mid-90s fastball that holds some good sinking action....
Fillmyer also possesses some good secondaries. The curveball has a nice look to it, high spinning and working inside with a lot of movement. The changeup made strides last year, adding deception and fade. I like both of these secondaries and I think they both can mix well with his fastball.
Perhaps he could increase his velocity and whiff rate as a reliever, but the upside here isn’t terribly high. He could be here just until Jason Adam or Scott Barlow are eligible to be recalled after spending the requisite ten days in the minors. Fillmyer was ranked as the 23rd-best prospect in the system by MLB Pipeline.