It was announced on Thursday that five minor leaguers were re-signed by the KC Royals.
First baseman Matt Fields was signed early in the summer and assigned to High-A Wilmington (where he spent the entire 2012 season). He provided the Blue Rocks with some much-needed pop (17 homeruns and 41 RBIs). Fields also played a great first base. However, he struggled down the stretch and into the playoffs (in which the Blue Rocks lost in the divisional series). For all the struggles, he is a great guy and a great interview. With a promotion, his power should shine more (getting out of the pitcher’s ballpark and league).
Catcher/DH Max Ramirez hit .300 for Triple-A Omaha in 2012 (his first season affiliated with the Royals). There, he hit 17 homeruns and drove in 77 in 110 games. He is currently playing winter ball in Venezuela (3-for-7 with four runs scored in two games). It will be interesting to see if Ramirez gets a shot at being the backup to Salvador Perez in the big leagues in 2013.
Right-hander Juan Gutierrez signed with the Royals this past offseason after missing 2011 due to a shoulder injury. He only pitched in 19 games across three levels and struggled to a combined 10.45 ERA, though it was good just to get back out on the field. He is currently pitching in winter ball in Venezuela. Gutierrez should add depth to the already solid Royals bullpen in 2013.
Right-handed pitcher Devon Lowery hasn’t pitched in two seasons, but the Royals re-signed him to a minor league deal. He served this past season as a coach with Low-A Kane County.
Outfielder Nick Van Stratten started the season in Double-A NW Arkansas, but was demoted to Wilmington in August. In 21 games with the Blue Rocks, he was a spark plug. He hit .366 with 13 RBIs (.400 in his final ten games prior to the postseason). Van Stratten has spent the last two seasons splitting between the Naturals and the Blue Rocks.