Eight Omaha Storm Chasers alums are among the 19 players invited to attend Major League Spring Training camp as non-roster invitees, as announced by the Kansas City Royals on Friday afternoon. Those eight include pitcher Kevin Lenik , Seth Maness and Josh Staumont , catcher Parker Morin , infielders Jack Lopez , Ryan O'Hearn and Frank Schwindel , as well as outfielder Terrance Gore .
Lenik, 26, was outstanding after joining the Storm Chasers in mid-July, accumulating a 1-1 record and 1.88 ERA (5 ER/24.0 IP) in 12 relief appearances, adding 24 strikeouts. He totaled a 0.79 WHIP, while opponents managed just a .134 batting average against him. It is the first time Lenik has been invited to a Big League Spring Training camp after being signed by the Royals as a minor league free agent on June 15, 2017.
Maness, 29, is set for his second season in the Royals organization after splitting 2017 between Omaha and Kansas City. In 24 appearances with the Storm Chasers he tallied a 2-2 record and 6.13 ERA (32 ER/47.0 IP) with two saves. In his return to the Major Leagues after undergoing experimental "primary repair" surgery he posted a 1-0 clip and 3.72 ERA (4 ER/9.2 IP) in eight relief outings. The right-hander was originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
Staumont, 24, began the 2017 campaign with Omaha as the top prospect in the Kansas City Royals system, compiling a 3-8 record and 6.28 ERA (53 ER/76.0 IP) with 93 strikeouts over 16 appearances (15 starts). He finished last year with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, recording a 3-4 mark and 4.44 ERA (24 ER/48.2 IP) with 45 strikeouts in ten starts. The right-hander, who was also invited to Big League camp last year, was a second round selection by the Royals in the 2015 MLB Draft.
2018 will mark the fourth Major League Spring Training camp for Morin, 26, as a non-roster invitee. The backstop has played for Omaha during each of the past two seasons, in addition to the 2014 campaign, combining for a .178 average (55-309) with 25 runs, 11 doubles, one triple, two homers and 32 RBI in 100 career contests with the Storm Chasers. He was selected by the Royals in the 14th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of Utah.
Lopez, 25, spent the majority of last season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, though he did appear in 18 contests with the Storm Chasers, and earned his first Big League Spring Training invite. Over 95 contests with the Naturals he tallied a .281 average (102-363) with 42 runs, 12 doubles, two triples, five homers and 29 RBI, adding 19 steals in 26 attempts. The Royals selected Lopez in the 16th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Deltona High School in Florida.
O'Hearn, 24, finished second on the Storm Chasers in home runs (18) and third in RBI (53) in 2017, batting .252 (104-413) with 48 runs, 26 doubles, and one triple as well in 114 contests. His 45 walks drawn were also second on the club in that category. 2018 will be O'Hearn's first Major League Spring Training camp, with the left-handed slugger an eighth round selection by Kansas City in the 2014 MLB Draft out of Sam Houston State.
Schwindel, 25, earned his first Major League Spring Training invite after being named Omaha Player of the Year in 2017. He led the Storm Chasers in many offensive categories, batting .321 (126-392) with 51 runs, 30 doubles, 17 homers and 72 RBI over 99 contests, while compiling three separate hit streaks of ten or more games with Omaha. He finished the 2017 campaign with knocks in 47 of his last 50 tilts with the Storm Chasers. Schwindel was an 18th round pick by Kansas City in 2013 out of St. John's University.
Gore, 26, has attended Major League Spring Training in each of his last two seasons while being on the club's 40-man roster. The outfielder in 65 games with Omaha in 2017 recorded a .247 average (41-166), adding 29 runs, three doubles, three triples, one homer and ten RBI, as well as 13 steals in 16 tries. The speedster was selected by the Royals in the 20th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Gulf Coast Community College.
In addition to the eight players listed above, the remainder of the Royals' Spring Training Non-Roster Invitees includes pitchers Mike Broadway , Foster Griffin , Richard Lovelady and Glenn Sparkman , as well as catchers Nicholas Dini and Chase Vallot , infielders Humberto Arteaga , Cody Asche , Nicky Lopez and Erick Mejia , and outfielder Donnie Dewees. In addition to the eight former Storm Chasers players who are non-roster invitees, 23 members of the Royals' 40-man roster have worn a Storm Chasers uniform at some point in their career.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.