With their Triple-A team eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs the Royals have called up pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi for his first taste of the big leagues.
Odorizzi was the Brewers’ first-round pick in 2007 and was traded to the Royals as part of the haul for Zack Greinke. He rated among Baseball America‘s top 100 prospects both this season and last season, and increased his stock this year with a very nice performance between Double-A and Triple-A.
In 145 total innings Odorizzi posted a 3.03 ERA and 135/50 K/BB ratio at age 22.
He’ll eventually be in the rotation, but Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals will likely have Odorizzi get his feet wet with some bullpen work before potentially making a start or two.
Odorizzi is the last of the four players acquired for Greinke to arrive in Kansas City, joining Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Jeremy Jeffress on the Royals’ roster.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.