The Kansas City Royals announced on Wednesday they have reassigned nine players to minor league camp. Those players include 2016 Storm Chasers pitchers Jonathan Dziedzic and Luke Farrell. In addition, right-hander Kyle Zimmer was optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
The left-handed Dziedzic led Omaha in most statistical categories, including games started, innings pitched, earned-run average and strikeouts. He posted a 5-10 record and 4.05 ERA (63 ER/140.0 IP), adding 107 punchouts in 26 appearances (25 starts). The southpaw earned Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week honors from the time span between April 7-17 after recording a 1-1 mark while yielding two unearned runs and fanning 14 over 12.0 innings of work in two starts. Dziedzic did not surrender a run over three appearances (4.0 IP) with the Royals during Spring Training, adding three punchouts.
Farrell finished the 2016 campaign on a strong note, tallying a 4-1 clip and 2.65 ERA (11 ER/37.1 IP) over his final eight appearances (four starts). As a starter he compiled a 5-3 record and 3.72 ERA (32 ER/77.1 IP) in 14 outings, adding 65 punchouts. His best start came on July 16 versus Salt Lake, scattering two hits over seven shutout frames, in addition to punching out nine. Farrell in four Spring Training outings with Kansas City this year did not allow a run over four outings (4.0 IP), along with two walks and three strikeouts.
Both Dziedzic and Farrell are likely to return to the Omaha rotation to start the 2017 season.
Among the other players reassigned who could impact the Storm Chasers roster this year is the Royals' top prospect in right-hander Josh Staumont. Considered Kansas City's top prospect by Baseball America, the 23-year-old features a blazing triple-digit fastball that the publication also rates as the best in the organization.
He split last year between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas and finished second among all minor league pitchers with 167 strikeouts. Kansas City selected Staumont in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Azusa Pacific in California. He totaled one earned run allowed over two outings (one start) in three frames, along with two walks and three strikeouts.
Another to watch who could potentially wear an Omaha uniform is lefty Eric Skoglund. The 24-year-old pitched the entire 2016 season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, pacing the Texas League in strikeouts (134) and innings pitched (156.1), in addition to tied for first in games started, third in batting average against (.230) and WHIP (1.11) and seventh in earned-run average (3.45).
The Florida native is rated the fourth-best prospect in the Royals organization by Baseball America, and possesses the "Best Control" in the Kansas City system per the publication. He was selected by the Royals in the third round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Central Florida. The lefty did not appear in a Spring Training contest for the Royals in 2017 before being reassigned.
Infielder Corey Toups is also likely to see time at Werner Park at some point this season. Between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas he accumulated a .268 average (132-493), adding 82 runs, 35 doubles, seven triples, 12 homers and 49 RBI, and has earned MiLB.com Organization All-Star honors following each of the past three seasons.
Toups is considered the 25th-best farmhand in the Royals organization according to MLBPipeline.com. Kansas City selected the 24-year-old in the 15th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Sam Houston State, where he was teammates with fellow Royals prospect Ryan O'Hearn. Toups collected one hit, a double, in four at-bats and scored a run in three games played for Kansas City in 2017 Cactus League play.
Following the Royals' announced transactions, Kansas City now has 55 players remaining in Big League camp, including 16 non-roster invitees. Of those 55 players still in camp, 31 have worn an Omaha uniform at some point in their careers.