Royals Arizona Fall League updates

October 26th, 2019

Eight Royals prospects participated in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Left-hander Daniel Lynch (No. 3, MLB No. 69), outfielders Kyle Isbel (No. 8) and Brewer Hicklen (No. 15), second baseman Gabriel Cancel (No. 29), left-hander Daniel Tillo (No. 30) and right-handers Trevor Oaks and Tad Ratliff are playing for the Surprise Saguaros, and catcher Freddy Fermin was added to the Salt River Rafters roster on Oct. 7. Cancel was added to the Saguaros' roster on Oct. 8 when first baseman Travis Jones was removed.

Here’s a day-by-day look at how Kansas City's AFL contingent fared:

Oct. 26: Salt River 5, Surprise 1
Daniel Lynch tied a bow on his Fall League campaign with a dominant start for Surprise in Saturday’s Championship Game, though it wasn’t enough to keep the Saguaros from falling to Salt River, 5-1. The Royals’ No. 3 prospect allowed one hit, hit one batter and struck three en route to completing three scoreless frames. Lynch’s fastball topped out at 97.7 mph and average 95.8 mph in the outing, but it was the left-hander’s secondary pitches that netted him the strikeouts, as he recorded two swinging strikeouts via his slider and used his changeup for the other. He also generated four groundouts in the outing and threw 27 of 36 pitches for strikes. 

Lynch posted a 3.86 ERA during the regular season in four starts for the Saguaros. He worked 14 innings, posting 19 strikeouts against four walks, and also struck out two of the three batters he faced as the West’s starting pitcher in the Fall Stars Game. 

Kyle Isbel’s eighth-inning double to right field represented Surprise’s only extra-base hit on Saturday. He also drew a walk in the contest, finishing 1-for-3 from the leadoff spot. The Royals’ No. 8 prospect was Surprise’s top hitter in the AFL, slashing .315/.429/.438 with 16 RBIs and six steals across 21 games. 

Daniel Tillo pitched around a pair of hits to complete a scoreless seventh inning out of the Saguaros’ bullpen. The 6-foot-5 lefty ran his fastball up to 97.9 mph and averaged 95.9 in the outing. Tad Ratliff allowed two hits and a walk but escaped the eighth inning unscathed, thanks in part to a slick defensive play by shortstop Luis Garcia. He threw 20 pitches (13 strikes), striking out one.

Oct. 25: Glendale 5, Surprise 3
Kyle Isbel drew a walk and flew out to center before being lifted after three innings. Isbel hit well in Arizona, batting .315 over 21 games. Gabriel Cancel went 0-for-3 in the finale and hit under .100 in Arizona. Trevor Oaks gave up two runs (one earned) over three innings in his final start of the Fall League. Oaks, who also struck out two, pitched to a 4.50 ERA over seven AFL appearances.

Oct. 24: Surprise 10, Scottsdale 2
Kyle Isbel was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning after going 0-for-3 with an RBI walk. Despite the hitless performance, the Royals’ No. 8 prospect carries a .319/.427/.444 line into the final day of the Fall League’s regular season. Catching for Salt River, Freddy Fermin recorded a single in a 1-for-4 showing.

Oct. 23: Mesa 2, Surprise 0
Southpaw Daniel Tillo continued his strong run over the past two weeks by delivering a scoreless frame of relief for Surprise on Wednesday. Gabriel Cancel’s Fall League woes continued after going 0-for-3 while hitting in the No. 3 spot in the order. Cancel is just 3-for-29 (.103) during his time with the Saguaros.

Oct. 22: Scheduled off day for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 21: Mesa 4, Surprise 0
Kyle Isbel was held hitless for just the second time in the last 10 games on Monday, going 0-for-4 from the leadoff spot for Surprise. The Royals’ No. 8 prospect has been a standout in the Fall League, slashing .333/.435/.464 with six extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and six steals in 19 games. Gabriel Cancel went 1-for-3 with one of the Saguaros’ three hits. He’s gone 3-for-26 at the plate through seven games since being added to Surprise’s roster. Trevor Oaks pitched around a pair of hits during a scoreless inning of relief for Surprise. He hasn’t allowed a run in three straight appearances after giving up at least one run in each of his first three outings in the Fall League.

Oct. 20: Salt River 2, Surprise 1
Gabriel Cancel hit out of the fifth spot in the Surprise order and finished 0-for-4, dropping his average to .087. Freddy Fermin, who is playing as a member of the Salt River Rafters, picked up an RBI single against his Kansas City teammates that would prove to be one of only three runs scored in the contest. He committed a throwing error in the first that led to run, but nabbed a crucial potential base-stealer in the eighth to keep game tied. Tad Ratliff tossed a clean inning of relief, allowing a hit and picking up a strikeout. He’s pitched to a 1.23 ERA in eight appearances this fall.

Oct. 19: Salt River 8, Surprise 1
Daniel Lynch struggled for the first time in four Fall League starts as he allowed five runs on seven hits in three innings against Salt River. The Royals’ No. 3 prospect issued one walk and struck out two in the outing while throwing 40 of 59 pitches for strikes. Lynch’s ERA jumped from 0.82 to 3.86 with the performance -- the first time this fall that he’s given up more than one earned run -- and he’s now compiled 19 strikeouts against four walks in 14 innings. 

Kyle Isbel and Gabriel Cancel recorded three of the Saguaros’ four hits on Saturday. Isbel went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot, improving his Fall League average to .354, while Cancel connected on his first AFL homer (solo shot) in the fourth inning before finishing 1-for-4. Brewer Hicklen’s average dropped to .149 with his 0-for-3, three-strikeout performance.

Oct. 18: Surprise 3, Glendale 1
Kyle Isbel went 0-for-2 but worked a pair of walks and scored a run from the top spot in Surprise’s lineup. Despite going hitless, the Royals’ No. 8 prospect still owns a .344/.455/.492 batting line with six extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and six steals through 17 games in the Fall League.

Daniel Tillo was the first man out of the bullpen for the Saguaros and he worked 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, walking two and striking out one. The southpaw was the beneficiary of a slick double play behind him in the sixth, before retiring the first two batters that he faced in the seventh. After a rocky start in the Fall League, Tillo has reeled off three straight scoreless outings.

Oct. 17: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 16: Glendale 8, Surprise 4
Brewer Hicklen went 0-for-2 for Surprise, though he did draw two walks, stole a base and scored a run. He’s batting .159 with four steals through 15 games. Gabriel Cancel, a mid-season addition to Surprise’s roster, is now 1-for-15 after an 0-for-4 performance. Trevor Oaks posted a pair scoreless frames with three strikeouts out of the Saguaros’ bullpen. It was the 26-year-old right-hander’s second straight scoreless appearance with at least two strikeouts. Tad Ratliff recorded the final out of the eighth inning, escaping bases-loaded jam. Freddy Fermin, playing in his second game for Salt River, picked up his first Fall League hit, going 1-for-4 from the bottom of the Rafters’ lineup.

Oct. 15: Surprise 3, Peoria 0
Kyle Isbel hit a single in his first at-bat and then provided Surprise with key insurance runs in the eighth via a two-run triple. The Royals’ No. 8 prospect finished 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot, improving his Fall League average to .356. He also picked up his fifth stolen base, which is good for third in the circuit.

Oct. 14: Surprise 1, Peoria 0
Kyle Isbel set the tone for Surprise in its victory, leading off the game with a single. He was plunked with a pitch in the seventh, setting the stage for him swiping his fourth bag of the Fall League. Kansas City’s No. 8 prospect also preserved the lead with a diving catch to open the top of the eighth. Through 15 games, he has hit .345 with a .922 OPS.

Tad Ratliff retired all three batters that he faced to notch his second save of the Fall League. He began and ended the frame with a called third strike, giving him seven punchouts over six frames with Surprise. Daniel Tillo made quick work of his three-batter outing Monday, getting the first two batters that he faced to go down looking before getting the third hitter swinging. It’s been a tough go of it for Tillo during the fall, but the Royals’ No. 30 prospect has now posted back-to-back scoreless outings. Gabriel Cancel recorded his first hit since arriving in Arizona, an opposite-field knock in the sixth. The 22-year-old also drew a walk, finishing as one of three Saguaros to reach base multiple times. Brewer Hicklen’s fall malaise continued, as he struck out twice during an 0-for-4 performance. He has one hit in his last 16 at-bats.

Oct. 13: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 12: East 4, West 2
Here's how every player performed in the Fall Stars Game. More »

Oct. 11: Surprise 2, Scottsdale 0
Gabriel Cancel, the Royals’ No. 29 prospect, went 0-for-3 for Surprise in his second game since being added to the team’s roster. Trevor Oaks worked a perfect fifth inning, striking out two.

Oct. 10: Surprise 3, Scottsdale 1
Kyle Isbel went 1-for-3 out of the leadoff spot in Surprise’s order, driving in two runs to power the squad's win. Brewer Hicklen struck out three times in his three at-bats, lowering his fall average to .184. Daniel Tillo, the Royals’ No. 30 prospect, pitched around a leadoff double and a walk as he completed a scoreless seventh inning out of Surprise’s bullpen. The left-hander’s heater sat at 96-98 mph in the frame, and his 86-88 mph slider showed good bite. Tad Ratliff earned his second hold of the fall pitching the eighth inning, allowing one run on two hits with two strikeouts. Freddy Fermin, who is playing for Salt River, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his AFL debut as the Rafters lost 9-3 against Mesa.

Oct. 9: Surprise 12, Mesa 10
Kyle Isbel opened the scoring for Surprise with a solo homer in the first inning and drove in three runs to bring his Fall League total to 11, finishing 2-for-4. He came around to score twice in the contest and also drew a walk. The 2018 third-round Draft pick out of UNLV hit seven blasts in 59 games this season playing both for Class A Advanced Wilmington and in rehab appearances with the Rookie-level Arizona League Royals squad.

Brewer Hicklen (No. 15) went 1-for-5 in the affair, while Gabriel Cancel, the Royals’ No. 29 prospect walked once in his six plate appearances.

Oct. 8: Surprise 6, Mesa 1
Trevor Oaks entered Tuesday’s matchup for the seventh inning and allowed a solo home run to Indians’ top prospect Nolan Jones before retiring the side. The 26-year-old right-hander struck out one in his frame.

Oct. 7: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 6: Salt River 6, Surprise 4
Daniel Lynch gave up his first run of the Fall League season but still put together an impressive outing for Surprise. The left-hander threw 39 of his 60 pitches for strikes and gave up four hits over four innings. Lynch gave up two runs (one earned) and struck out five, including each of the final three batters he faced. Overall, the Royals' No. 3 prospect has pitched to a 0.82 ERA through three starts in Arizona and has struck out 17 over 11 innings.

Daniel Tillo had a rough outing as he gave up four runs, including a two-run homer, and four hits in his lone inning of work. Tad Ratliff kept his scoreless streak in tact and has yet to surrender a run in the AFL. The right-hander, who threw nine of his 14 pitches for strikes, struck out one and has given up just one hit over four games (four innings). Kyle Isbel has hits in six of his past seven games, including four multihit efforts, after his 3-for-5 performance Sunday. The 22-year-old, a third-round pick from last year’s Draft, also drove in a run and is now hitting .333. Travis Jones, who is hitting .200 in the AFL, went 0-for-2, but did draw a walk and score a run.

Oct. 5: Glendale 2, Surprise 0
Kyle Isbel went 0-for-2, lowering his AFL batting average to an even .300 through 11 games.

Oct. 4: Surprise 7, Glendale 6
Kyle Isbel hit leadoff for Surprise and collected a pair of singles, finishing 2-for-5 and raising his batting average to .316. The Royals’ No. 8 prospect has collected a hit in five consecutive games. Brewer Hicklen delivered a feast or famine performance in Surprise’s defeat, notching an RBI single in the 11th to keep the team afloat, in addition to drawing a walk earlier in the contest. But he also struck out on a trio of occasions, giving him 12 whiffs in 26 fall at-bats. His on-base percentage sits at .394 through seven contests. Similarly, Travis Jones, who hit behind Hicklen in the lineup, continued to walk (twice), while striking out twice. Jones has drawn eight walks in the AFL while racking up 18 punchouts. His lone hit kept the line moving during an 11th-inning rally. Trevor Oaks made his second AFL appearance, working two innings and allowing three runs on four hits and one walk. Oaks, 26, made his big league debut last season, but is attempting to right the ship with Surprise after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip that kept him from pitching during the 2019 regular season. Daniel Tillo rebounded to deliver a scoreless frame, retiring all three batters that he faced.

Oct. 3: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams

Oct. 2: Surprise 8, Mesa 7
Travis Jones has hit safely in only four of his 10 AFL games, but three of those have been multihit showings, including a two-hit day for the Saguaros on Wednesday. The University of Texas product capped a three-run first inning with an RBI single, then scored a run in the third inning. Kyle Isbel stole his third base of the Fall League season and finished 1-for-5 with an RBI single in the third inning. Brewer Hicklen finished 1-for-4 with a walk as Surprise’s DH. Tad Ratliff struck out one and gave up one hit in a scoreless inning of relief.

Oct. 1: Peoria 3, Surprise 1
Kyle Isbel collected Surprise’s only extra-base hit on Tuesday, tallying a double from the leadoff spot, but struck out in his other three at-bats to finish 1-for-4. He’s batting .321 with four doubles in the AFL. Travis Jones is batting .161 after an 0-for-3, three-strikeout game.

Sept. 30: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 29: Surprise 11, Peoria 4
Left-hander Daniel Lynch (No. 3, MLB No. 70) started for Surprise and tossed four scoreless innings, yielding two hits, walking two and striking out eight. It was the second straight scoreless start for Lynch. The 34th overall pick in the 2018 Draft posted a 2.99 ERA across three levels in 2019. Center fielder Kyle Isbel (No. 8) had a big night at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a double, RBI and a run scored. Right fielder Brewer Hicklen (No. 15) went 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and a run scored. Travis Jones played third base and went 2-for-4 with a double, walk, RBI and a run scored. Left-hander Daniel Tillo (No. 30) surrendered four runs on three hits, walking three and fanning two over two-thirds of an inning.

Sept. 28: Scottsdale 2, Surprise 0
Travis Jones’ AFL average dipped to .125 after the first baseman went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts for Surprise on Saturday. Right-hander Trevor Oaks took the loss for the Saguaros after he gave up one run on three hits in two relief innings.

Sept. 27: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 3
Kyle Isbel hit a pair of weak groundouts in his first two at-bats before delivering a double and a single, both of which plated a run, in his next two trips to the plate. The Royals’ No. 8 prospect flied out to the center-field wall in his final at-bat to finish 2-for-5 for Surprise.

Travis Jones, who batted fifth as the Saguaros’ DH on Friday, was held hitless, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Tad Ratliff allowed no hits in the ninth inning to nail down his first AFL save.

Sept. 26: Thursday's game between Surprise and Mesa was rained out and will not be made up.

Sept. 25: Surprise 6, Peoria 2
Brewer Hicklen scored three of Surprise’s six runs on Wednesday night. The Royals’ No. 15 prospect went 1-for-2 with a walk and a pair of stolen bases, which comes after Hicklen swiped 39 bags for Class A Advanced Wilmington in 2019. Kyle Isbel went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and a stolen base out of the leadoff spot while first baseman Travis Jones finished 0-for-3 with a walk.

Sept. 24: Surprise 6, Peoria 4
Daniel Tillo struck out two batters and gave up just one hit as he blanked Peoria in two scoreless innings.

Travis Jones walked twice, scored a run and went 0-for-2 at the plate.

Sept. 23: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 22: Surprise 2, Peoria 1
No. 3 prospect (No. 70 in MLB) Daniel Lynch is in Arizona making up for some lost innings after he missed over a month of the regular season. Working quickly, the left-hander tossed three shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out four while not walking a batter.

No. 15 prospect Brewer Hicklen picked a good time to collect his first hit of the AFL season. He had gone 0 for his first 10 until he gave Surprise what ended up being a 2-1 win with a one-out home run in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday. First baseman Travis Jones played first and hit sixth and went 1-for-4 with his first stolen base of the fall.

Sept. 21: Surprise 12, Salt River 0
Tad Ratliff made quick work of the Rafters in the ninth inning Saturday night. Ratliff struck out the first batter he faced and retired the side in order. Kyle Isbel finished 0-for-3, but he did draw a pair of walks and scored two runs.

Sept. 20: Surprise 4, Salt River 1
Daniel Tillo pitched two innings out of the Surprise bullpen and gave up one run on two hits. He also walked one and struck out one. Brewer Hicklen finished 0-for-2 at the plate. He reached once after he was hit by a pitch, but was promptly caught stealing. Kyle Isbel reached in his final two plate appearances. After striking out in his first two at-bats, Isbel finished 1-for-3 with a walk. Defensively, he added an assist, throwing a runner out at the plate from center field.

Sept. 19: Scottsdale 8, Surprise 6
No. 8 prospect Kyle Isbel got the start in center, batting third for Surprise, and delivered with two RBIs and a double on a 1-for-4 night. Over 59 games between the Rookie-level Arizona League and Class A Advanced Carolina League this season, the third-round pick from the 2018 Draft hit .233 with seven home runs and a .693 OPS. Travis Jones slotted in right behind Isbel in the lineup and went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts while No. 15 prospect Brewer Hicklen, batting leadoff, went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.

Sept. 18: Surprise 4, Glendale 2
Travis Jones started the AFL opener for Surprise at first base on Wednesday and reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of walks. The 23-year-old spent the majority of his 2019 season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he hit .262 with three home runs and a .713 OPS over 59 games.

Reliever Daniel Tillo, a third-round pick in the 2017 Draft, picked up a quick save by recording the final out of the game. The lefty posted a 3.72 ERA over 130 2/3 innings this season split between Class A Advanced and Double-A.