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Michael Massey, Sebastian Rivero join the roster

Angel Zerpa heads to the 60-day IL.

Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

The Royals have called up infielder Michael Massey and catcher Sebastian Rivero to the active roster to replace Whit Merrifield and Cam Gallagher, who were traded yesterday. Massey was added to the 40-man roster as well, and to make room for him the Royals placed pitcher Angel Zerpa on the 60-day Injured List.

The 24-year-old Massey had been up before, playing in Toronto when the Royals had ten players on the restricted list due to vaccination status. He was allowed to circumvent 40-man roster rules at that time since he was replacing players on the restricted list. In three games against the Blue Jays, he went 3-for-8 (.375).

Massey is one of the top hitting prospects in the upper levels Royals organization with Baseball America ranking him #8 among prospects in the organization, Fangraphs ranking him #18, and MLB Pipeline ranking him #21. The left-handed hitter has improved his performance this year, hitting .312/.371/.532 with 16 home runs and 13 steals in 87 games split between Double-A and Triple-A this year. MLB Pipeline writes:

Finally healthy, Massey tapped into his power after working with the Royals hitting development program, but he didn’t lose the contact skills that got him drafted...He employs a sweet swing from the left side and makes hard contact to all parts of the field.

Fangraphs examines his power.

Not all of the visual and underlying statistical evidence corroborates Massey’s 2021 line. While he has some hitterish elements (the short-levered Massey is adept at catching fastballs on the inner third), his swing is relatively grooved, he tends to be vulnerable to back-foot breaking balls, and he’s a fairly aggressive swinger. His peak exit velocities aren’t what you’d expect from someone who just hit 20 bombs, resting comfortably below average, and the same is true of his barrel rate. His swing is so geared for lift, however, that even if he doesn’t have big raw, Massey seems likely to hit for in-game power by virtue of how often he hits the ball in the air.

Massey also won a Minor League Gold Glove at second base. He has appeared in a few games at third, but most observers think he slots best at second base, where the Royals may have an opening now with Merrifield having been traded to Toronto.

Rivero has been up parts of the last two seasons with the Royals and is hitting .135/.211/.173 in 24 games. The 23-year-old was hitting .212/.281/.384 with four home runs in 39 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Massey will be in the starting lineup for this afternoon’s game against the White Sox at second base, hitting seventh.