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Q&A: No. 1 prospect Singer talks pitching, food

MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Brady Singer, the Royals' No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, got his first taste of professional baseball at the team's instructional league camp this past month.

Singer, who signed for $4.25 million after being selected 18th overall in the 2018 Draft, did not pitch this summer in Rookie ball after pitching 113 innings last season for Florida, which advanced to the College World Series.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Brady Singer, the Royals' No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, got his first taste of professional baseball at the team's instructional league camp this past month.

Singer, who signed for $4.25 million after being selected 18th overall in the 2018 Draft, did not pitch this summer in Rookie ball after pitching 113 innings last season for Florida, which advanced to the College World Series.

Instructional league, therefore, provided an opportunity for Singer and the Royals to become better acquainted, and for him to refine his delivery in preparation for Spring Training.

MLB.com sat down with Singer for a quick Q&A after a recent workout:

What are the things you are working on down here?
Singer: Just working on a changeup and my four-seamer. I think I got a little two-seam heavy in college, so I really wanted to work on that four-seamer and work on a better changeup. But really, just working on repeating my delivery and getting out here competing again. I have been throwing in some games here, which is fun. A lot of bullpens. It's been all good.

Did you have a pitch count down here?
Singer: Two innings basically, 30-40 pitches.

Any plans on playing winter ball?
Singer: No. Once I'm done here, I'll go back home and start working out there and get ready for Spring Training.

You told the Royals you needed a little break after the college season ended, correct?
Singer: Yeah, I just had a long three years in college. I threw over 100 innings the last two years. I just felt like I was using the arm a lot the last three years, and we needed a little break. I think it helped out. I got out here and felt pretty fresh.

Video: Brady Singer wins the 2018 Dick Howser Award

The Royals had you visit some of the Minor League teams anyway, just to get acclimated. How was that?
Singer: Oh, it was great. I went to [Class A] Lexington, and that was awesome. Great team. Met all the guys there. Then went over to [Rookie League] Idaho [Falls] and met the pitching coach, Jeff Suppan. He's an awesome guy. The coaches were great, teammates were great. It was fun to get around and meet all the guys and see what pro ball is like.

OK, it's silly question time: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Singer: My favorite player growing up was obviously Chipper Jones. But being a pitcher, my favorite pitcher -- kind of old school here but it would be Nolan Ryan. My dad would tell me stories about how hard Nolan Ryan competed. I got a picture on my wall of Nolan Ryan all bloody after getting hit in the face with a comebacker. It's pretty cool.

Favorite baseball movie?
Singer: "For Love of the Game." Absolutely. I always think of that part when he's on the mound and the fans are getting on him and it's loud, and he just says, 'Clear the mechanism.' And then it's all quiet. I kind of still say that to myself when I'm out of the mound. Just clear all the noise from the stands and everywhere else and totally focus.

Favorite movie, any genre?
Singer: Well, to keep it PG, I'd still say "For Love of the Game."

Any must-see TV for you?
Singer: Not a big TV watcher. I'm more of an outdoors type -- hunting and fishing.

Favorite music?
Singer: Definitely country. Eric Church.

Best friend so far in the Royals organization?
Singer: Got to be Jackson [Kowar, whom the Royals drafted 33rd overall in 2018]. Fellow Gator. I think at times we're kind of the opposite. But we like the same kind of music. He likes to dress up more than I do. He's more of a fashion guy.

Favorite pig-out food?
Singer: Oh. That's barbecue. Mac and cheese. Big brisket. Stuff like that. Should fit in with Kansas City pretty well, right?

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals

Pipeline names Royals' Prospects of the Year

Matias powers 31 homers for Player of the Year honor, Lovelady's stellar ERA earns Pitcher of the Year title
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- When Royals power-hitting prospect Seuly Matias was in Kansas City near the end of the season to be recognized alongside other organizational Minor League award winners, he scanned the spacious dimensions of Kauffman Stadium.

As Matias did so, he was asked if he would have any problem hitting home runs in such a huge ballpark.

KANSAS CITY -- When Royals power-hitting prospect Seuly Matias was in Kansas City near the end of the season to be recognized alongside other organizational Minor League award winners, he scanned the spacious dimensions of Kauffman Stadium.

As Matias did so, he was asked if he would have any problem hitting home runs in such a huge ballpark.

"Nah, I don't think so," Matias said, smiling.:: Complete prospect coverage ::

It would be hard to doubt him. Matias, 20, belted 31 home runs in just 338 at-bats at Class A Lexington this season. Clearly, no ballpark can contain him.

And that's why Matias, the Royals' No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has been named MLB Pipeline's Royals Minor League Player of the Year. Left-hander Richard Lovelady, the club's No. 13 prospect, was named MLB Pipeline's Pitcher of the Year in the organization.

"He's just a kid with tremendous talent," Royals assistant general manager of player personnel J.J. Picollo said by phone. "Very toolsy. Obviously, tremendous power, and he can run and he may have the best outfield arm in the system."

Video: WLD@USA: Matias puts the World on the board with a HR

Matias' season was cut short by a freak accident in August, when he suffered a deep gash on his right thumb after it got caught on exposed metal while he was loading his luggage into the team bus' storage compartment. The injury has healed 100 percent, and Matias is now in the Royals' instructional league in Arizona.

"He's one of those players who really is eager to learn," Picollo said. "It's interesting that when he takes batting practice, he'll always instruct the thrower to throw as many breaking balls as possible just because he wants to identify the spin.

"There obviously is a very high ceiling with him. There are things he can work on. We'd like for him to cut down his strikeouts (131 this season) -- not in half, or anything, but just cut them down. Like a lot of young hitters, he needs to know the situation, like man on third and less than two out, he's got to get the ball in play and drive in runs. He's a run producer. That's his job."

Matias, who had an .853 OPS, is also a player that Picollo believes can run well enough to steal 20 bases a year. It is a skill set similar to and perhaps a cross between Jermaine Dye and Jorge Soler.

"Just a really good athlete," Picollo said.

Lovelady, 23, had another dominant Minor League season, posting a 2.47 ERA in a career-high 46 games. He struck out 71 in 73 innings and walked just 21 in his full season spent at Triple-A Omaha. The lefty was also named the Storm Chasers' Pitcher of the Year this season.

Video: CLE@KC: Schwindel and Lovelady on Triple-A season

Lovelady, who could project as a closer at the big league level, has a fastball that can touch 96-97 mph, but usually sits around 93-94. He complements it with a slider that Picollo said hitters cannot ignore.

"He hasn't needed a changeup at the Minor League level," Picollo said. "But that's a pitch he is working on. Right now, he would project as a late-inning guy. We've been trying to use him at the Minor League level on back-to-back days, much like you would at the Major League level. He just continues to improve."

Lovelady does not have to go on the 40-man roster this fall to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, but one could assume that Lovelady will get a long look in Spring Training and have a taste of the big leagues next season.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals

Former 1st-rounder Zimmer making progress

New training regimen has improved Royals pitching prospect's health, confidence
MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- These days, you can't keep a smile off Kyle Zimmer's face.

"It feels like I've been given a new life," Zimmer told MLB.com as he walked off the field at the Royals' instructional league camp on Wednesday.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- These days, you can't keep a smile off Kyle Zimmer's face.

"It feels like I've been given a new life," Zimmer told MLB.com as he walked off the field at the Royals' instructional league camp on Wednesday.

Royals fans know Zimmer's story well: The right-hander was the team's first-round pick in 2012, but his career has been derailed by a seemingly never-ending series of arm and shoulder injuries. Zimmer last pitched in the Minor Leagues in 2017.

But last spring, Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo suggested Zimmer try the revolutionary Driveline Baseball training program in Seattle that focuses on weighted baseballs to strengthen muscles and improve mechanics.

Zimmer, 27, knew it was likely his last chance. He was all in, and now he reports he is pain-free throwing a baseball, perhaps for the first time since he was drafted.

"J.J. brought it up, and I was on board immediately," Zimmer said. "We just had to break the cycle and try something new. I kept breaking down every year, and that was through no fault of the Royals. It was just me."

As a procedural move, Zimmer was designated for assignment to remove him from the 40-man roster because, by design, he was going to miss the entire season. He then immediately re-signed with the Royals and arrived in Seattle at the Driveline Baseball facility on May 4. He left there Tuesday and came straight to Arizona.

"I couldn't even make it through the first few hours," he said. "I was hurting that bad."

But before long, Zimmer was enduring the grueling daily regimen, and, to his surprise, progressing.

"It was a long stretch before I felt good," Zimmer said. "A lot of hard work. The core of the program is based around weighted baseball training, but it's kind of all-encompassing: strengthening, weight training, agility. ... It's basically starting over from scratch. I needed that."

Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer is generally recognized as the biggest name to champion Driveline's strategy.

"Trevor was one of the first guys to really have success with it, and that's obvious now," Zimmer said. "But a lot of pro guys are going there now. At least one guy from every team.

Video: Bauer on training at Driveline facility in offseason

"It's not for everyone, because as they say, 'If it's not broke, don't fix it'. But for me, I just needed to jumpstart something. It was one-on-one training, five or six hours a day, every day for six months. You leave dripping sweat every day. It's remapping everything mechanically, just rebuilding from the ground up."

The first tangible breakthrough came in late August, when Zimmer fired a baseball over 100 mph.

"That was with some pull-downs and step-behinds and throwing into a net," Zimmer said, grinning. "But yeah, it felt great. It felt great just to get my body moving like that again. To be that athletic again throwing a baseball, that was the most exciting thing."

And over the last month, Zimmer has returned to throwing off the mound.

"I've been throwing three or four times a week off the mound for about three weeks," Zimmer said. "I'm having no issues at all. It's really crazy, because in the past, if I threw one time off the mound, I'd be blown up for days. Now, it's no soreness at all. No pain. None."

And his present velocity?

"I've been at 93-94 [mph] off the mound and still building," he said. "I have a lot of time until Spring Training. Just to be comfortable again while throwing is pretty exciting. I'm throwing all my pitches, too."

The next step is to finish the instructional league in Surprise, Ariz., next week, then he'll resume his normal maintenance training until Spring Training.

Zimmer said he can look back now and think about how close he came to packing it in.

"I would never quit, because I'm too stubborn," he said, "But every single day for five years it was like, 'How do I keep going? Why?' I just spent so much time down here [in Surprise] alone, trying to recover. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't considering [quitting].

"But I just have to thank the Royals. I don't think any team has given someone so many chances. I'm grateful."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals

Schwindel looking to stick with Royals in '19

First baseman hoping to be in lineup with good friend O'Hearn
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Frank Schwindel, who is the Royals organization's Triple-A Omaha Player of the Year, admits he had mixed feelings in late July when his good friend and fellow first baseman Ryan O'Hearn got the call to the big leagues while he didn't.

Schwindel, who was the club's George Brett Minor League Player of the Year last season, put together another solid campaign in 2018, hitting .286 with a career-high 24 home runs, 38 doubles and 93 RBIs.

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KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Frank Schwindel, who is the Royals organization's Triple-A Omaha Player of the Year, admits he had mixed feelings in late July when his good friend and fellow first baseman Ryan O'Hearn got the call to the big leagues while he didn't.

Schwindel, who was the club's George Brett Minor League Player of the Year last season, put together another solid campaign in 2018, hitting .286 with a career-high 24 home runs, 38 doubles and 93 RBIs.

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But when the time came for the Royals to promote a first baseman, it was O'Hearn, not Schwindel.

"It's great for him," Schwindel said. "He's done really well since he's been here. I'd rather us both be in the lineup, but it's great to see him doing what he's doing.

"But it was tough, obviously. Might have been coincidence, but I got really hot after [O'Hearn got called up]. Hopefully next year we're in the same lineup wearing the same uniform."

Video: KC@CLE: Schwindel doubles in Merrifield to pad lead

Royals officials and Schwindel's agent explained the situation, telling Schwindel, 26, they simply didn't have room to open up another 40-man roster spot at the time, and to keep working hard and improving his game at Omaha. Schwindel's time would come, they said.

"It was explained to me," Schwindel said. "It was obviously a disappointment. But things happen for a reason, too."

Schwindel was right: He did get hot after O'Hearn's callup, going on a 13-game hitting streak. All in all, after a slow start, he had another excellent season offensively.

"I think April was terrible for me," Schwindel said. "But I got through that bad patch and you just stick to the basics, and it went really well after that."

Tweet from @Royals: Up and coming #Royals! 👏 #FuturesNight #RaisedRoyal pic.twitter.com/clcgFz1MwD

Schwindel will head to the Dominican Republic for winter ball soon and said he plans to play some third base and outfield to increase his versatility. There's still improvement he can make at the plate, too.

"I get in trouble when I swing at bad pitches," he said. "I need to cut down on the strikeouts [71 this season] and increase the walks [34]. Just work on a better overall approach at the plate."

And after that, Schwindel will head into Spring Training again hoping once more to impress the coaching staff and crack the roster.

"Absolutely," Schwindel said. "Just come in and keep doing what I've been doing the past two years, and hope for the best."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Ryan O'Hearn

Royals hand out Minor League awards

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- For the second straight season, first baseman/DH Frank Schwindel was named Triple-A Omaha's Player of the Year Award winner by the Royals organization.

The Royals also announced that left-hander Richard Lovelady was Omaha's Pitcher of the Year Award winner. Lovelady is the Royals' No. 13 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

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CINCINNATI -- For the second straight season, first baseman/DH Frank Schwindel was named Triple-A Omaha's Player of the Year Award winner by the Royals organization.

The Royals also announced that left-hander Richard Lovelady was Omaha's Pitcher of the Year Award winner. Lovelady is the Royals' No. 13 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

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The Royals will name their George Brett Minor League Hitter of the Year and their Paul Splittorff Minor League Pitcher of the Year during the offseason.

Schwindel, 26, hit .286/.336/.506 with a career-high 24 home runs and 93 RBIs. Also, his 38 doubles set a new single-season franchise record at Omaha.

Opponents hit just .204 against Lovelady this season. He went 3-3 with a 2.47 ERA in 46 relief outings.

Other organizational winners:

Double-A Northwest Arkansas

Infielder Jecksson Flores, 24, was named Player of the Year after winning the Texas League batting title with a .314 average. Flores also led the team with 31 doubles.

Right-hander Jake Newberry, 23, was named the Pitcher of the Year. In 25 relief outings, Newberry had a 2.12 ERA. He was later promoted to the big league club in August.

Class A Advanced Wilmington

Infielder D.J. Burt, 22, the Royals' No. 28 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was the Player of the Year. Burt had a .367 on-base percentage and led the Carolina League with 32 steals.

Right-hander Gerson Garabito, 23, was the Pitcher of the Year, leading the Carolina League with a 3.16 ERA among starters.

Class A Lexington

Outfielder Seuly Matias, 20, and catcher MJ Melendez, 19, were named co-Players of the Year. Matias, the Royals' No. 3 prospect, hit 31 home runs in just 94 games. His season ended in early August when he sustained a deep gash to his thumb knuckle while loading his luggage on the team bus. Melendez, the No. 5 prospect, slugged .492 with 19 home runs.

Right-hander Carlos Hernandez, 21, was the Pitcher of the Year. Hernandez, the Royals' No. 12 prospect, went 6-5 with a 3.29 ERA (29 ER in 79 1/3 IP), with 82 strikeouts (9.3 K/9) and just 23 walks (2.6 BB/9).

Rookie League Idaho Falls

Infielder/outfielder Nathan Eaton, 21, was the Player of the Year, slashing .354/.427/.581 with 19 stolen bases. Left-hander J.C. Cloney, 24, was Pitcher of the Year, posting a 1.93 ERA with just 10 walks in 56 innings.

Rookie League Burlington

Infielder Jose Marquez, 20, was the Player of the Year, slashing .301/.355/.498 with 35 RBIs in 59 games. Left-hander Marcelo Martinez, 22, was the Pitcher of the Year, going 5-3 in 10 starts with a 2.68 ERA.

Rookie League Surprise

Infielder Rubendy Jaquez, 18, was the Player of the Year, with an OPS of .838 with 27 RBIs in 46 games. Right-hander Yohanse Morel, 18, was the Pitcher of the Year, posting a 3.71 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings.

Rookie League Dominican 1

Infielder Enrique Valdez, 18, was the Player of the Year, hitting .264 in 27 games. Right-hander Heribert Garcia, 18, was the Pitcher of the Year, posting a 0.94 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts).

Rookie League Dominican 2

Outfielder Neyfi Marinez, 18, was the Player of the Year, hitting .269 with six triples in 59 games. Right-hander Daury Caberera, 17, was the Pitcher of the Year, posting a 1.23 ERA in nine outings.

All these players will be at Kauffman Stadium prior to Friday's game against Cleveland.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals

Royals tab Lopez to start, send Smith to 'pen

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals announced after Tuesday night's 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays that right-hander Jorge Lopez would be recalled from Triple-A Omaha and start Wednesday's game at Kauffman Stadium.

Lopez, 25, was acquired along with outfielder Brett Phillips from the Brewers in the Mike Moustakas deal before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals announced after Tuesday night's 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays that right-hander Jorge Lopez would be recalled from Triple-A Omaha and start Wednesday's game at Kauffman Stadium.

Lopez, 25, was acquired along with outfielder Brett Phillips from the Brewers in the Mike Moustakas deal before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

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Royals manager Ned Yost said a corresponding move to make room for Lopez on the 25-man roster would be made before Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays.

Lopez posted a 5.26 ERA in 26 outings at Triple-A this year between the Royals' and Brewers' organizations. In Lopez's last outing with Omaha, he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings while giving up three hits and striking out seven against Salt Lake City.

"We got six weeks left [to the season]," Yost said. "He made a start the other day that was as good as he's had down there. We've got six weeks left and we want to look at him."

Right-hander Burch Smith, who had been in the rotation and was scheduled to start on Wednesday, will move back to the bullpen.

"I told Burch over the weekend that he was going back to the bullpen," Yost said. "He's been preparing for that. Tonight was his first night in the 'pen."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Jorge Lopez, Burch Smith

Moore, Yost eager to see Phillips in KC

Outfielder rated Royals' No. 8 prospect; RHP Lopez also acquired
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Royals' rebuild marches on with two more prospects acquired in the Mike Moustakas trade late Friday, both of whom general manager Dayton Moore believes will be a big part of the team's future.

The Royals acquired outfielder Brett Phillips and right-hander Jorge Lopez from the Brewers for Moustakas, whose contract was expiring this year.

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NEW YORK -- The Royals' rebuild marches on with two more prospects acquired in the Mike Moustakas trade late Friday, both of whom general manager Dayton Moore believes will be a big part of the team's future.

The Royals acquired outfielder Brett Phillips and right-hander Jorge Lopez from the Brewers for Moustakas, whose contract was expiring this year.

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Phillips, who is 24 and is ranked as the Royals' No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was Houston's sixth-round Draft pick in 2012. He is a left-handed hitter with an above-average arm. At Triple-A Colorado Springs, Phillips had six homers and 25 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Last year at Triple-A, he posted a .944 OPS.

Phillips was expected to join the Royals on Saturday for the nightcap of the doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.

"Brett Phillips is somebody who can play all three outfield positions," Moore said. "He has a tremendous arm. He's got some gap-to-gap power. He plays with a lot of energy; he's a tremendous makeup guy, a lot of character, a lot of the things that we feel are really important for clubhouse chemistry."

Royals manager Ned Yost said he got a good scouting report on Phillips from his son, Ned, who is a coach for Colorado Springs.

"Really good defender," Yost said. "Ned's report is he can play all three positions but finds himself in right field due to [a plus] arm. He said, 'I've seen him hit with power and for average.' He said it was more last year than this year, been kind of a struggle for him this year. But a phenomenal, tremendous off-the-chart makeup. Loves to play the game, plays the game with energy and just hustles his [behind] off."

Tweet from @Royals: We have acquired OF Brett Phillips and RHP Jorge Lopez in exchange for 3B Mike Moustakas. pic.twitter.com/ikdijqrLFy

Yost said he doesn't know how Philips' arrival will affect Jorge Bonifacio, the primary right fielder now.

"I haven't decided where I'm going to play him," Yost said. "He's not even here yet. Let me look at him and see. ... In case you haven't noticed I've got a very vast overabundance of outfielders right now. I got to figure out where I'm going to play him.

"He's going to mix in. I'm not planning on playing him every day in center field, or planning on playing him every day in right field."

Lopez, 25, moved to the bullpen in 2017. He has shuttled between the big leagues and the Minors six times this season while posting a 2.75 ERA in 10 appearances.

Lopez will be assigned to Triple-A Omaha, and Moore said he isn't sure if Lopez will be a starter or a bullpen arm.

"We feel like that he'll be at least one of 12 for us at some point in time, either this year or next year, on our pitching staff," Moore said.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Jorge Lopez, Brett Phillips

Singer jumps into Top 100 Prospects at No. 67

First-round pick is Royals' new No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- After a lengthy absence, the Royals again are represented on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, which was re-ranked on Thursday. Right-hander Brady Singer jumped in at No. 67.

Singer, the Royals' top pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and No. 18 overall, also is now the team's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

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NEW YORK -- After a lengthy absence, the Royals again are represented on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, which was re-ranked on Thursday. Right-hander Brady Singer jumped in at No. 67.

Singer, the Royals' top pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and No. 18 overall, also is now the team's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

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Singer, who helped the Florida Gators to the College World Series, signed for $4.25 million, which was above the slot value of $3,349,300.

Video: CLE@KC: Singer on agreeing to a deal with the Royals

The new Royals' Top 30 list featured a newcomer -- outfielder Brewer Hicklen checks in at No. 21, thus representing the biggest jump of any previous Royals prospect. Left-hander Foster Griffin had the biggest drop, going from No. 10 to No. 29.

Hicklin was hitting .288 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs through 74 games combined at Class A Lexington and Class A Advanced Wilmington.

Here's what MLB Pipeline said of the Royals' farm system: "This system is on the upswing. The Royals started the year with an interesting nucleus of young position players in outfielders Khalil Lee and Seuly Matias, catcher MJ Melendez and first baseman Nick Pratto. Then they focused on college pitching in the Draft, beginning with spending three first-rounders on right-handers Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar plus left-hander Daniel Lynch."

Big rookie test
Royals manager Ned Yost is eager to see how his three rookie starters -- Brad Keller, Heath Fillmyer and Burch Smith -- will perform over the next three days, as all three make their first starts at Yankee Stadium.

"It's Yankee Stadium and a great lineup," Yost said. "That's the challenge.

"I don't know if they're going to be nervous. But it's Yankee Stadium and a special place to play baseball. You're in New York, playing the Yankees. It was special to me.

"It will be interesting to see how they do. It's not going to be make or break for them. It's just part of the learning process."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals

Royals sign 16-year-old pitcher Kaito Yuki

MLB.com

The Kansas City Royals today announced the signing of Japanese 16-year old pitcher Kaito Yuki. The Osaka, Japan, native just completed his junior high season in May and chose to sign a professional contract with the Royals over attending high school. Yuki, is a 6-2, 170 lb. right-handed pitcher who was born on May 12, 2002.

"We are excited to add Kaito Yuki to our Organization," said Rene Francisco, Royals Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Major League and International Operations. "We are very much looking forward to seeing him get started in Professional Baseball next year. I'd like to thank and congratulate our Pacific Rim coordinator Phil Dale and our scout in Japan Hiro Oya for the tremendous work in identifying and signing this young man."

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The Kansas City Royals today announced the signing of Japanese 16-year old pitcher Kaito Yuki. The Osaka, Japan, native just completed his junior high season in May and chose to sign a professional contract with the Royals over attending high school. Yuki, is a 6-2, 170 lb. right-handed pitcher who was born on May 12, 2002.

"We are excited to add Kaito Yuki to our Organization," said Rene Francisco, Royals Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Major League and International Operations. "We are very much looking forward to seeing him get started in Professional Baseball next year. I'd like to thank and congratulate our Pacific Rim coordinator Phil Dale and our scout in Japan Hiro Oya for the tremendous work in identifying and signing this young man."

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The announcement of Yuki's signing took place earlier today in his hometown of Osaka. In a quote provided by the Kyodo News, Yuki stated, "I wanted to play in the United States as soon as possible, rather than playing high school ball at Koshien Stadium (in Japan's iconic national championship)."

Kansas City Royals

Royals sign, introduce first-round pick Singer

Competitiveness on the mound impressed Royals
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The fiery video is widespread now, and Royals first-round Draft pick right-hander Brady Singer seemingly knew a question about it was coming as he was introduced to the Kansas City media after being signed Tuesday afternoon.

So, Brady, where does that competitiveness come from?

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KANSAS CITY -- The fiery video is widespread now, and Royals first-round Draft pick right-hander Brady Singer seemingly knew a question about it was coming as he was introduced to the Kansas City media after being signed Tuesday afternoon.

So, Brady, where does that competitiveness come from?

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"The woman in the front row," Singer said, pointing to his mother, Jacquelyn, who was seated in the first row along with Singer's father, Brett, at the press conference inside Kauffman Stadium. "She's extremely competitive and it comes right to me."

Jacquelyn immediately blushed, but later told MLB.com, "I guess I just don't like to quit, so he gets that from me."

The video shows Singer infuriated and beside himself as the tarp comes onto the field when he was pitching for the University of Florida. Singer was angered because the rain delay meant he would not pitch again that day.

Tweet from @ColinDeaverTV: I couldn't stop watching. pic.twitter.com/arq0Sr15Ei

But it was partly that competitive nature that lured scouts to grade him so highly out of Florida, which ultimately led to the Royals taking him with their first selection at No. 18 overall. Singer signed for $4.25 million, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, above the slotted amount of $3,349,300.

"That's just something that -- did I mean [for] it to happen? No," Singer said. "Did it happen? Yeah, it did. That's my emotion, that's my competitiveness. I don't think I'm ever going to go away from that."

Royals area scout Jim Buckley, who began scouting Singer in high school, said Singer was "probably the most competitive I've seen on the mound."

Of course, there was plenty of talent in Singer's right arm that wowed scouts as well. He was named the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy winner as the top player in college baseball. This season, as a junior, he went 12-3 with a 2.55 ERA.

Here are a few more highlights from the press conference:

What's next for Singer?

Royals general manager Dayton Moore: "We're going to sit down and talk about that together. We certainly want to get Brady's input on that as well. The most important thing is we transition in the right manner, to give him the best chance to get going in his professional career. "

What impressed you most about Singer?

Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg: "The pedigree, the track record. Obviously, you're looking at a pitcher that has performed on one of the highest stages. He was the player of the year, SEC pitcher of the year. College World Series champion. You don't get to do all those things if you don't do things really well. Brady's always been able to fill up the strike zone, he's able to throw both breaking pitches behind in the count. He does all the little things -- holds runners, fields his position."

On Singer's friendship with Jackson Kowar, his Florida teammate who signed with the Royals on Monday:

Singer: "Well, obviously, I've got a buddy on the team. He's been my roommate for three years. We were sitting in the dugout when the Draft was happening, and he walked up to me and said, 'You can't get rid of me yet. I just got picked by the Royals.' We were extremely happy. It's something really cool. We actually got to see some of our older guys do that the year before, or two years before. Just being able to play with him again, and hanging out with him and obviously both of us trying to help out the team as much as we can, it's a really cool thing."

What scouting report would you give on yourself?

Singer: "I feel like I fill up the strike zone. But I think the main thing is, I'm going to go out there and compete. I think that you've got to match the competitiveness in the box. I obviously sink the ball -- that's my main goal, to keep the ball on the ground. Main goal is to just try to get you out."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals

Royals sign their 2nd overall Draft pick Kowar

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals signed their second overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, right-hander Jackson Kowar out of Florida, who was the club's first-round compensation selection and 33rd overall.

A source told MLB.com that Kowar signed for slightly over the slot value of $2,118,700, with a bonus of $2,147,500 and a $2,500 contingent bonus.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals signed their second overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, right-hander Jackson Kowar out of Florida, who was the club's first-round compensation selection and 33rd overall.

A source told MLB.com that Kowar signed for slightly over the slot value of $2,118,700, with a bonus of $2,147,500 and a $2,500 contingent bonus.

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Royals Draft Tracker

The Royals' top pick, right-hander Brady Singer, also out of Florida, remains unsigned. His slot value is $3,349,300. The club has until Friday to sign Singer.

Kowar, 21, posted a 10-5 record with a 3.04 ERA during his junior season with the Gators.

Kowar's final collegiate game was an elimination game in the College World Series -- the 6-foot-5 pitcher struck out a career-high 13 in a 6-1 win over Texas.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals

Royals trade Herrera to Nats for 3 prospects

No. 8 INF Gutierrez, No. 15 OF Perkins, RHP Morel come to KC
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals continued their quest to restock the farm system as they traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals prior to Monday night's game against the Rangers.

In exchange, the Royals acquired three Minor Leaguers: infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, who was ranked as the Nationals' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, outfielder Blake Perkins, the No. 11 prospect, and right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals continued their quest to restock the farm system as they traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals prior to Monday night's game against the Rangers.

In exchange, the Royals acquired three Minor Leaguers: infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, who was ranked as the Nationals' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, outfielder Blake Perkins, the No. 11 prospect, and right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel.

Gutierrez, who is now ranked as the Royals' No. 8 prospect, will be optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Perkins, now the club's No. 15 prospect, will be assigned to Class A Advanced Wilmington and Morel will join the Surprise Royals (Rookie).

Herrera, who is eligible to be a free agent after this season, was believed by many to be the Royals' top trade asset as he had a 1.05 ERA with 14 saves.

"Kelvin, he's family," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "We've known Kelvin since he signed with us, since he was 16 years old. He's one of the very best competitors that I've ever been around, probably this organization has seen, truthfully. Without him, there's no way we can ever make it to a World Series, win a World Series.

"Just like I told him and [manager Ned Yost] told him, he's about winning championships, and he's got a chance to go over to Washington and compete to win a division and be in the playoffs, and win a World Series. Once we articulated that to him, he kind of perked up a little bit, and you could see his juices getting going a little bit."

Herrera took the news hard at first, he said.

"This is a moment that was painful, even though they've been talking about it a lot in media and social media," Herrera said. "This is a moment that I never wanted to see.

Tweet from @KelvinHerrera40: Thank you @Royals for everything these past 12 years, from the Glass family, to the FO, to my coaching staff, to my teammates, to every employee who made me feel family. I���m also very thankful for all our fans, you guys are the best and I���m gonna miss you all #ForeverRoyal pic.twitter.com/qmcKW7KmQi

"I've been playing with [Danny Duffy], [Mike Moustakas], [Salvador Perez], [Eric Hosmer] since I was 18 years old. Then we came here together, made me feel better. Then after that, we went to the World Series. Winning one of them was the best experience ever."

Video: TEX@KC: Broadcasters chat about the Herrera trade

Moore now has traded two assets, Jon Jay and Herrera, well before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"We'd like to be holding on to our players longer," Moore said, "but where we are in the standings and what we're faced with, how we're playing, if we can get the right deals, it's important to move ...

"[The three guys we got] we obviously like. We spent a great deal of time over the last couple weeks trying to find the right fits. I believe that we found three really high-quality guys. Gutierrez and Perkins are both elite-type defenders with upside with the bat. Makeup is very good."

Video: Moore, Yost talk Kelvin Herrera trade

Gutierrez, 23, hit .274 (63-for-230) with six doubles, three triples, five homers and 36 runs scored in 58 games for Double-A Harrisburg this season. He was also 10-for-11 in stolen-base attempts. He was added to the 40-man roster last fall.

MLB Pipeline wrote of Gutierrez: "The Nationals view Gutierrez as one of the better pure hitters in their system. He has a relatively simple inside-out stroke from the right side of the plate that produces hard contact across the whole field and fuels his projection as an above-average hitter. And while he hasn't yet figured out how to apply his raw power during games, club officials do expect him to clear more fences once he becomes more comfortable firing his barrel and turning on the ball."

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

Perkins, a 21-year-old switch-hitting outfielder, was selected in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He hit .234/.344/.290 (59-for-252) with 11 doubles, a homer and 39 runs scored in 65 games with Class A Advanced Potomac.

Wrote MLB Pipeline of Perkins: "The Nationals helped Perkins become a switch-hitter upon entering the pro ranks, and the club is thrilled with his early returns from both sides of the plate. He made huge strides as a lefty in 2017, collecting 25 of his 39 extra-base hits including all eight of his home runs from that side. ... Perkins' plus speed translated to 31 steals in his first full season, and he should continue to swipe bags with ease thanks to his strong on-base skills."

Morel, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher from Samana, Dominican Republic, is in his first professional season after signing as a non-drafted free agent last July.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Kelvin Gutierrez, Kelvin Herrera

Royals place Soler on DL in flurry of moves

Mondesi, R. Herrera, Peralta recalled from Triple-A Omaha
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals made several roster moves prior to Sunday's game against the Astros, starting with the expected one, placing outfielder Jorge Soler on the 10-day disabled list because of a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot which will sideline him at least six weeks.

The club also selected the contract of right-hander Wily Peralta from Triple-A Omaha, and recalled outfielder Rosell Herrera and infielder Adalberto Mondesi from Omaha as well. To make room, the Royals optioned infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow to Omaha.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals made several roster moves prior to Sunday's game against the Astros, starting with the expected one, placing outfielder Jorge Soler on the 10-day disabled list because of a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot which will sideline him at least six weeks.

The club also selected the contract of right-hander Wily Peralta from Triple-A Omaha, and recalled outfielder Rosell Herrera and infielder Adalberto Mondesi from Omaha as well. To make room, the Royals optioned infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow to Omaha.

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"We wanted Barlow back throwing, and Torres back playing regularly," manager Ned Yost said. "Simple. Our whole goal was to get [reliever Brandon Maurer] and Peralta throwing well again, and that has been the case. We wanted Mondesi to be playing healthy again, and that has happened.

"Just wanted to get some younger kids up here, the guys we're going forward with."

The Royals claimed Herrera off waivers recently from the Reds. A 25-year-old switch-hitter, Herrera hit .278 at Omaha in 10 games with three doubles, two triples and a home run.

"He can play multiple positions," Yost said. "Plays all three outfield spots and third base. Going to be interesting to see him play."

Mondesi, 22, battled a hamstring injury in Spring Training and has played in 29 games at Omaha, hitting .250 with eight doubles, three triples and five home runs. He was 10-for-10 in stolen bases there.

Mondesi hit .181 in 72 games with the Royals the past two seasons entering Sunday's series finale at Kauffman Stadium.

"Gonna work him in easily," Yost said. "Play him 3-4 times a week. Get him into the flow and the mix. He's never had success up here, so we'll just pace him. Let him get his feet on the ground. Just ease into it."

Peralta, 29, was signed as a free agent from the Brewers in the offseason, but he struggled in Spring Training and was designated for assignment. He was re-signed and had a 4.37 ERA at Omaha in 18 games.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Rosell Herrera, Adalberto Mondesi, Wily Peralta, Jorge Soler

KC's No. 1 pick Singer wins Howser Trophy

Florida right-hander drafted No. 18 overall by Royals
MLB.com

The Royals' top Draft pick, Florida right-hander Brady Singer, was honored Friday as the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy recipient, an award given annually to the top college baseball player in the nation.

Singer, who was the 18th overall pick on June 4, was a first-team All-America selection and 2018 SEC Pitcher of the Year as a junior. He's gone 12-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings this season. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound hurler completed at least seven innings in 11 of 15 starts -- including his first career shutout on May 4 at Texas A&M -- and led the SEC in wins and ERA during the regular season.

The Royals' top Draft pick, Florida right-hander Brady Singer, was honored Friday as the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy recipient, an award given annually to the top college baseball player in the nation.

Singer, who was the 18th overall pick on June 4, was a first-team All-America selection and 2018 SEC Pitcher of the Year as a junior. He's gone 12-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings this season. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound hurler completed at least seven innings in 11 of 15 starts -- including his first career shutout on May 4 at Texas A&M -- and led the SEC in wins and ERA during the regular season.

Singer, 21, was ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects list. He was previously drafted by the Blue Jays out of high school at No. 56 overall in 2015, but he did not sign, opting to honor his commitment to Florida.

"We were obviously very surprised [Singer was available], but our guys did a heck of a job lining up the board, staying in communication with each other, players' families, etc.," Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. "Our scout had Brady, and he had him in high school, so that really helped. So we felt very fortunate we didn't have to do a lot of digging at that point. We were very well aware of the makeup of who we were talking about. So, obviously, very excited that Brady fell there."

Video: Draft 2018: Royals draft RHP Brady Singer No. 18

Kansas City also selected Singer's teammate, right-hander Jackson Kowar -- MLB Pipeline's No. 15 Draft prospect -- with its 33rd overall pick, which was compensation for losing Lorenzo Cain to Milwaukee in free agency. Both Royals draftees are playing for the Gators in the College World Series this weekend, as Florida looks to repeat as champion. The Gators open play in Omaha on Sunday against Texas Tech.

Singer helped Florida punch its ticket to a fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament with a strong performance in the school's Super Regional win over Auburn on Monday. He outdueled Casey Mize, whom the Detroit Tigers drafted No. 1 overall last week, holding Auburn to two runs and striking out nine batters in 6 2/3 innings.

Singer won't be the only player in Kansas City's organization with a Dick Howser Trophy on his resume. Longtime Royals outfielder Alex Gordon won the award in 2005 as a junior at Nebraska. The trophy's namesake managed Kansas City from 1981-86, winning the World Series in '85.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Kansas City Royals

Royals' Draft adds polished pitching to system

KC pairs college arms with existing crop of position players
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' farm system was in need of polished, experienced talent. After the conclusion of Day 3 of the 2018 Draft, it's clear that need has been addressed.

Draft Tracker: Every Royals pick

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' farm system was in need of polished, experienced talent. After the conclusion of Day 3 of the 2018 Draft, it's clear that need has been addressed.

Draft Tracker: Every Royals pick

Of Kansas City's 43 picks, 34 came from the college ranks. After drafting 12 high schoolers in 2017 -- including three in the first five rounds -- the Royals selected just nine this year, most of them in the late rounds.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

By drafting players further along in their development, Kansas City aligned this year's crop of prospects with the timeline of its existing Minor League talent.

"I think they're gonna fit in really nice with the group that we have, players that we have in our system, especially the group in Lexington and Wilmington," scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. "This group should mesh in well."

The top five players on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Royals Prospects list all play at the Class A or Class A Advanced level and they are all position players -- Khalil Lee, Nick Pratto, Seuly Matias, MJ Melendez and Michael Gigliotti -- which may have spurred the club to spend its first five picks in this year's Draft on college pitchers.

"We wanted to make a concerted effort on getting some college pitching that we felt had high ceilings, and that could move quickly," general manager Dayton Moore said.

Aligning the timelines of its top prospects may set up the club in a similar position to a few years ago, when several blue-chippers such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Danny Duffy rose through the Minors together en route to a 2015 World Series title. Working together as prospects, they were able to develop chemistry from the get-go, and understand how to play as a team before even making it to the Majors.

Royals take college pitchers with first 5 picks

Video: Dayton Moore on Royals' first day Draft picks

"Several of these players that we've selected, they've obviously been in college baseball and they've been in programs that they've had to compete and have success at," Goldberg said. "They've played at high levels, and against obviously good competition."

While college players bring an element of poise and polish as prospects, the consensus opinion, in most cases, is that high school players present more potential because they are younger and have fewer innings on their arms. But Goldberg doesn't think that's the case with the Royals' 2018 selections.

"The one thing that I think is important, we didn't try to give up any ceiling," Goldberg said. "I know that it's been mentioned that college players don't have (as high of a) ceiling, but these guys that we've talked about, there's things that they do, and there's things that we also think that we can make a fix and work. When you put good players in a good competitive environment, they're just going to challenge each other. So there's still ceiling with the group we selected."

KC goes back to college on Day 2 of Draft

Video: Draft 2018: Angels draft RHP Aaron Hernandez No. 93

The Royals struck gold in that department with their first pick, as an early run on position players allowed Florida right-hander Brady Singer -- ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects -- to fall to the Royals at 18th overall.

Singer's slide was especially convenient for the Royals, who have the largest bonus pool of any club and are best equipped to sign the high-profile Gators ace. They didn't expect him to be available, but they were thrilled he fell into their lap.

Son of Royals' assistant GM drafted by Mets

"We felt very fortunate we didn't have to do a lot of digging at that point," Goldberg said. "We were very well-aware of the makeup of who we were taking. ... Very excited that Brady fell there."

With their next selection, the Royals grabbed Singer's teammate, Gators right-hander Jackson Kowar, with the 33rd overall pick and Virginia lefty Daniel Lynch at No. 34. Stanford left-hander Kris Bubic (No. 40) and Memphis righty Jonathan Bowlan (No. 58) rounded out the club's Day 1 selections.

The Royals took four college pitchers and four college outfielders among their nine picks on Day 2 in Rounds 3-10. Of the team's 43 picks overall, 26 were pitchers.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals