Kansas City Royals, MLB

Kansas City Royals: Asa Lacy could be the ace of the future

The Kansas City Royals selected left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy as a #4 overall pick of the 2020 MLB Draft, adding a potential first starter in an already promising young rotation.

Texas A&M’s Asa Lacy is widely considered as the most promising pitcher of the entire 2020 MLB Draft class, which meant the Kansas City Royals leapt at the chance to get him with the No. 4 pick on Wednesday, boosting a team that’s still on the early stages of a rebuild but taking the steps towards a bright future.

As a starter, Lacy put up impressive numbers in his frist two years with the Aggies, racking up 178 strikeouts in just 128 innings. In 2020 he got three wins in four starts with an astonishing 46 Ks in 24 innings before the season was ended by the coronavirus pandemic. Even with such a small sample size, there is a trend towards a more dominating performance, which has earned him rapturous praise from analysts.

The young slinger has characteristics that are very attractive to scouts and experts; he is listed at 6’4″ and 215 pounds, and he uses his size to his advantage both in terms of speed and unpredictability, as hitters have a hard time anticipating his pitches when he uses his massive frame to create a downhill plane.

Even more remarkable are his off-speed pitches, which include a pronounced curve, a rarely-used but definitely above-average changeup, and one of the deadliest, nastiest sliders college baseball has seen in a while. His slider oscillates in the low to mid 80s, but considering Lacy’s size and the length of his stride (listed at 6’9), it is a nightmare for any batter.

This is the full package when it comes to a potential ace, especially coming from a pitcher this young, that can still spend a little while in the minors to improve. Lacy does have to refine his control though; he issues a total 68 walks in the 152 total innings of his Aggies career, which is not a big number but can become a problem if he doesn’t finish his development process adequately. However, he seems to be moving in the right direction, as his BB/9 went down from 4.4 in 2019 to 3.0 this year.

The addition of Lacy to the Royals organization is part of an ongoing tendency within the team to add big young arms, as he joins pitchers like Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar and Kris Bubic, which are coming up through the minors and showing lots of promise.

If everything goes right for them, the Royals may have one of the strongest pitching rotations in MLB in a few years. They are still early in their rebuilding effort, but they are heavily investing in the future, and could become really competitive sooner than we expect, especially in such a hard-to-predict AL Central Division.

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