Class A Advanced Wilmington's doubleheader Wednesday turned into an encouraging day for two of the Royals' top prospects.
In the opener, left-hander Sean Manaea struck out 10 batters in five innings in a 9-4 win over the Carolina Mudcats. Manaea, the Royals' No. 4 prospect, picked up the win to improve to 2-2 despite allowing three runs on six hits and three walks.
The Royals selected the 22-year-old lefty with the 34th overall pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft. Manaea hasn't posted overwhelming numbers in his first Minor League season. He owns a 5.40 ERA and opponents have hit .301 against him, but he's struck out 48 batters and only walked 13 in 31 2/3 innings over eight starts as he eases his way into professional baseball following hip surgery.
Meanwhile, scuffling outfield prospect Bubba Starling extended his hitting streak to 10 games with Wilmington. It's been a tough season for Starling, the Royals' No. 7 prospect, who was picked fifth overall in the 2011 Draft. He's still batting just .190 with two homers and 49 strikeouts in 41 games. After the first game of the day, his on-base percentage stood at .299 and his slugging percentage was even lower, at .282.
But Wednesday represented another step in the right direction, and he capped it off with a walk-off, two-run triple, leading the Blue Rocks to a 3-2 victory.
During his 10-game hitting streak, Starling has hit .343 (12-for-35) with a double, triple, nine RBIs, 10 runs, three stolen bases, five walks and seven strikeouts.
Wilson, Stewart to represent Royals at Draft
KANSAS CITY -- Two Royals Hall of Famers, swift outfielder Willie Wilson and super scout Art Stewart, will be the club's representatives at the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on June 5 at MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J.
Stewart and Wilson will announce the Royals' selections in the first phase of the Draft, which will be televised on MLB Network and MLB.com.
The Royals will have four selections in the first 68 picks -- Nos. 17 and 28 in the first round, as well as Nos. 40 and 56.
Wilson was a Royals outfielder from 1976-90, winning the American League batting championship in 1982 with a .332 mark. In his 15 years with the Royals, he stole 612 bases, with a club record 83 in 1979. In 1980, he became just the second player in baseball history to record 100 hits from each side of the plate in one season. Wilson was an American League All-Star in 1982-83.
Stewart joined the Royals as a scout after their inaugural season of 1969 and has been with them ever since. He was the Royals' director of scouting from1984-96 and since 1997 has served the club as a senior advisor. He's been an integral part of the Royals' Draft every year and is credited with bringing them such players as Bo Jackson, Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 5 p.m. CT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 11:30 a.m. ET on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Moustakas continues to look for ways out slump
KANSAS CITY -- While Danny Valencia mans third base, the work goes on to bring Mike Moustakas out of his hitting swoon.
Royals hitting coach Pedro Grifol is on the case, as Moustakas sits with a .140 aveage.
"Same thing we do every day," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's the first one in the clubhouse and in the cage with Pedro. They've got their drills that they work on tirelessly. He takes more swings than anybody on this team."
Yost broke his third-base platoon by putting Valencia in the lineup on Tuesday night against a right-handed pitcher, and Valencia came through with a 2-for-3 game, with a walk and two RBIs, in a 7-6 loss to the White Sox.
"I thought he did a nice job," Yost said. "He gave us the lead with a nice two-run double to the opposite-field gap, ended up getting another base hit, got a nice walk. I thought he did a good job."
Oddly, even though Moustakas doesn't usually fare well against left-handed pitchers, his career numbers against Wednesday's White Sox lefty starter, Jose Quintana, were 8-for-19 (.421), with two home runs. Even so, Valencia was in the starting lineup.
Yost confident close games, rivalries will turn
KANSAS CITY -- Last season, the Royals had a good record in one-run games at 31-25, the most wins in the American League. They were also strong within their own division, 44-32, second only to AL Central champion Detroit's 47-29.
This season, going into Wednesday night's Central game against the White Sox, they were just 4-11 in one-run games and 5-15 against the Central Division.
Yet, the Royals were just one game under .500 at 22-23.
Manager Ned Yost believes those negative numbers will improve as the team tries to better last season's finish, which put it 10 games over .500 at 86-76.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Yost said. "That's why you don't see anybody panicking or going crazy. They just keep working. We're not happy we're one game under .500, but it could be a lot worse the way things have gone."