The Royals Most Impactful Deadline Move Might Not Even Cost Them a Player

Kansas City should claim RHP Noah Song off the waiver wire

With Aroldis Chapman already in Texas, Scott Barlow scuffling to a 5.35 ERA (and a 1.552 WHIP), and Nicky Lopez traded for waiver wire fodder, and Jose Cuas for a AAA outfielder, the Royals don’t appear to have a ton of trade chips left that will either bolster the MLB team or restock the minor league system. Maybe, the best acquisition the Royals could make at the wouldn’t cost them a player at all? Kansas City should take a flier on Noah Song.

Noah Song’s career to this point has been a series of starts and stops. The 6’4", 200 pound right hand pitcher was drafted out of Navy in the 4th round by the Red Sox. After a brief (but promising) stint at low A, Song went back to the Navy to serve out the rest of his commitment. He was released early from his military duties in the Fall of 2022 when the Phillies shockingly drafted him in the major league portion of the Rule V draft. Song had only pitched 17 innings of professional baseball when he was picked – and those innings were in 2019. Song’s ramp up period for his attempt at a movie-worthy jump to MLB ended in a back injury that landed him on the 60 day IL. His recent rehab assignment produced mixed results:

  • 4.2 innings of four hit work at High A Clearwater
  • 2 appearances for a total of 3 innings of below average performance at AA Reading
  • 2 outings of a largely regrettable performance at AAA Lehigh Valley that ended with a 2.7 WHIP and 13.1 hits per nine.

Most concerning was Song’s lack of ability to find the strike zone. In three levels of minor league ball (11 total innings), Song walked 11 batters, uncorked two wild pitches, and hit another batter. It might be safe to say that he looked a little rusty on the mound. He already sounds perfect for a Royals uniform!!

The 11 innings that Song threw in his rehab outings brought his total number of minor league frames up to 28 total – all for a player who is trying to make the case for a major league roster spot!! Because of his Rule V Draft status, Song would have to remain on the Royals roster (in Kansas City) for the rest of the season in order to not be returned to the Boston Red Sox.

Because of that, Noah Song is the perfect player for the Royals to take a chance on for the remainder of the year.

Kansas City is going nowhere this year (have you seen their 32-75 record?) and there haven’t been too many bright spots of players making big progressions at the major league level. There is no risk to making a claim on Noah Song – mostly because there are no players lost in this transaction (unlike a trade), AND we get to see what pitching coach Brian Sweeny and Zach Bove can do with a pitcher who is untainted by the player development process of the Royals minor league system.

Fangraphs listed Song as the Phillies #21 prospect on April 6. They gave him a 35+ future value with his fastball sitting 93-95 and topping at 99. His heater was given a 60 future value grade with the prediction that Song would end up in the bullpen. Song uses three additional pitches – a slider (55 FV), curve ball (55 FV), and a changeup (45 FV). Song could focus on his two pitches for the rest of the season in the Royals bullpen in order to build confidence and regain his feel for pitching. Next spring, Kansas City could stretch him out as a potential starter before making the decision if he belongs in the bullpen or not. The silver lining about Song is that if he makes it the rest of the season on the Kansas City major league roster, he can be demoted to the minors next year for further development! He could be an in-house prospect for next season whose cost to acquire is minimal!

In looking at Fangraphs rankings of the Royals minor league system, both Austin Cox and Angel Zerpa were given 35+ grades. Let’s face it – players like Nick Wittgren, Collin Snyder, and Dylan Coleman are not going to be a long-term option for KC, but they could have a young, fresh controllable prospect in that role for the rest of the season for nothing but a waiver claim. Additionally, Cox and Zerpa have already made their major league debuts and shown some level of promise.

Kansas City would need to make a 40 man move if they were to make a claim (or trade) for Song. There are multiple candidates to DFA – the aforementioned Dylan Coleman, Nick Wittgren, and Collin Synder. The list could be expanded to include Jackson Kowar, Jonathan Heasley, and James MacArthur. None of these players would be a hot commodity on the waiver wire and could be candidates to be outrighted to Omaha and retained in the system.

The Royals are going to have to get creative if they are going to retool for their next contention window. The development process in the minor league system has failed to this point. While there are some pitchers who are making some strides in the low minors, it is imperative to add more talent - quickly. Noah Song gives them someone fresh (and with potential) to take a look at for the last 56 games of the season. In what looks to be a very meh trade deadline for the Royals, they have an opportunity to acquire a no risk player who is a long-term, upside play.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.