Royals manager Mike Matheny announced that the club will call up and start left-hander Angel Zerpa on Thursday against the Indians. Zerpa, who turned 22 years old on Monday, has had a meteoric rise through the minors this year. He began the year in High-A Quad Cities, making eight starts, before being promoted to Double-A to make 13 starts for Northwest Arkansas. He even pitched 1 1⁄3 innings for Triple-A Omaha last weekend before getting the call to the big leagues. Overall he has a 4.58 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 28 walks in 88 1⁄3 innings pitched.
MLB Pipeline ranked Zerpa the #19 prospect in the system this year, writing:
A natural strike-thrower, Zerpa can generate weak contact with his fastball, which now sits 94-96 — up significantly from previous years. He has a breaking ball that’s more of a slider shape, one that’s hard and lands sharply, and commands the pitch well. His mid-80s changeup has good drop and plays well off the fastball. Zerpa’s delivery is from a lower arm slot, which makes it hard for hitters to pick the ball out of his hand.
The Royals originally signed him for $10,000 out of Venezuela. He was added to the 40-man roster last winter. The Royals’ rotation has become plagued with injuries to the end the year. Brad Keller and Mike Minor were already out with injuries, and Brady Singer left yesterday’s game with upper arm discomfort, and will be placed on the Injured List. Zerpa becomes the sixth Royals pitcher to make his MLB debut this year, joining Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Jake Brentz, Dylan Coleman, and Jon Heasley.