One of the common topics of discussion around the 2022 Kansas City Royals is whether the team is as bad now as it was during the mid-aughts. One way in which they appear to be vastly superior is in terms of minor league talent; if the 2006 Royals had had ten guys decide they’d rather take an unpaid vacation than do their jobs for a weekend, the team would have been forced to call up Justin Huber, Kerry Robinson, Shane Costa, Paul Phillips, Matt Tupman, Ricky Bell, Mike Aviles, Andres Blanco, Runelvys Hernandez, Kyle Middleton, and Bobby Keppel. You’ve probably never heard of most of those guys and wish you hadn’t heard of the rest.
Side note: Pat Mahomes pitched for the Omaha Royals that year as he tried to make a comeback. Unfortunately, he accrued only a 5.60 ERA in five starts and two relief appearances.
The 2022 Kansas City Royals have to fill their lineup with guys who would otherwise by in AAA right now, but at least their guys for whom we can get excited about their futures like Nick Pratto, Nate Eaton, and Michael Massey. Speaking of Massey, he and Freddy Fermin will make their first major league starts this afternoon as part of a lineup that will see six rookie starters.
Daniel Lynch will take the mound today. While he isn’t considered a rookie, having passed the 50-inning threshold last season, he still has fewer than a year’s worth of big league starts under his belt. Lynch has had something of an up-and-down season for Kansas City this year, but he’s gone three starts since his last disaster so either he’s progressing or he’s due for an awful game. He did make a start against Toronto back in early June and allowed six runs in 5.2 innings so if you leaned toward the latter I wouldn’t blame you. As for me, I’m going to hope for the former all the same.
The Blue Jays will counter the Royals with a lineup in which their batter with the fewest major league home runs this season still has more than every hitter in the Royals’ lineup not named Bobby Witt Jr. Their starting pitcher will be Max Castillo. Max is a rookie right-hander who will be making only his second major league start after debuting out of the bullpen. He has a 2.30 ERA on the season but his lone start was Sunday against the Mariners and saw him give up three total runs while striking out only three in 4.1 innings. It’s hard to make any predictions based on his very limited major league appearances so far but he had a stunning 0.66 ERA in AAA before the Jays recalled him earlier this summer. Still, he does not appear to have been much of a prospect before that as FanGraphs doesn’t have the rookie tool ratings they usually provide for players they expect to reach the majors soon-ish. For context, they do have them for Massey, Eaton, Maikel Garcia, Brewer Hicklen, and Pratto but not Freddy Fermin.