Kansas City Royals Deep Sleepers: 4 Late-Round Pitching Fliers

The Kansas City Royals have four pitchers that will be available late in your drafts with deep sleeper potential, plus one value corner infielder to target on draft day.
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Deep Sleeper: SP Brady Singer

After getting drafted 18th overall in 2018 by the Kansas City Royals, Singer dominated for at High A (1.87 ERA and 53 Ks over 57.2 innings) while holding his own at AA (7-3 with a 3.47 ERA and 85 Ks over 90.2 innings).

Over his final two seasons in college, he went 21-8 with a 2.90 ERA and 243 strikeouts over 239 innings. His walk rate (2.4) in the minors is favorable while striking out 8.4 batters per nine.

Singer offers a low-90s fastball with movement and a plus slider. His next step is developing his changeup in the minors.

He should start the year at AAA while being a couple of months away from Kansas City. His ADP (732) in the early draft season in the high-stakes market, places him as a waiver wire in all redraft leagues. Must follow in June to see if the Royals will give him a chance in the majors over the summer.

READ MORE: Royals Season Preview

Deep Sleeper: SP Jackson Kowar

Kowar came into the pros a couple of steps behind Brady Singer in draft value and college resume (25-6 with a 3.53 ERA and 243 strikeouts over 255 innings) while also ranking behind on the depth chart at Florida.

His record (22-6) in 2017 and 2018 in college was impressive, but his walk rate (3.6) needed work while flashing some strikeout ability (8.6).

Last year Kowar matched Singer in starts (26) in innings pitched (148.1), but he lost the battle in ERA (3.52) and WHIP (1.240). I have a soft spot for pitchers with an elite changeup, which Kowar brings to the majors and a fastball that can reach the upper 90s.

Once his command improves, and a pitching coach unlocks a winning breaking pitch, Kowar will offer ace upside. I expect him to pitch in the majors, but his command may lead to some up and down starts. I’m very interested in seeing his progress in the minors in 2020.

Deep Sleeper: SP Kris Bubic

The Royals hit on a fourth starter in the 2018 draft class with Bubic. Kansas City added him in the first round (40th selection) in 2018 after two successful seasons at Stanford (15-7 with a 2.71 ERA and 197 Ks over 176.1 innings). He finished his last year in college with strength in his strikeout rate (10.6) while still needing growth in his walk rate (3.3).

Bubic aced the 2019 season (11-5 with a 2.23 ERA and 185 Ks over 149.1 innings) while pitching at A Ball and High A. His fastball sits in the low-90s while offering an upside changeup. If he builds on his improved walk rate (2.5) in 2019, Bubic will have follow-through at AA this season. Another intriguing lefty to follow in early 2020.

Deep Sleeper: SP Daniel Lynch

Based on his college resume (12-12 with 4.56 ERA and 186 Ks over 205.1), Lynch didn’t appear to offer first-round talent.

His command made a massive forward in 2018 at Virginia, leading to a low walk rate (2.4) and an impressive strikeout rate (10.7).

The Royals added him as well in the first round of the 2018 drafts with the 34th pick.

Over two seasons in the minors, he went 11-3 with a 2.50 ERA and 157 Ks over 147.2 innings. In 2019, he made 15 of his 20 starts at High A, which suggests he’s trailing the top two arms in Kansas City by about a year.

This big lefty now offers a high-90s fastball with a swing and miss slider. Lynch needs to add more length to his starts while developing his changeup. Last year he did miss some development time with a left shoulder injury. Possible fast mover while starting 2020 at AA.

Value: 3B Maikel Franco

The Phillies lost interest in Franco in 2019, which came after three production seasons (.250 with 71 HRs and 232 RBI over 1,589 at-bats).

His bat had success in April (.252 with seven HRs and 22 RBI over 103 at-bats), but a slump in May (.215 with one HR and eight RBI over 88 at-bats) led to minimal playing time after the All-Star break (.250 with four HRs and 15 RBI over 120 at-bats) and a trip back to AAA (.175 with two HRs and six RBI over 40 at-bats).

Franco has a low strikeout rate (14.3) with a career-best in his walk rate (8.4). His HR/FB rate (12.8) is trending down, and he has a league-average hard-hit rate (38.1). Franco has an average hit rate (1.747) high enough to deliver 30-plus home runs, but his CTBA (.277) suggests minimal upside in batting average.

To take a step forward on offense, he needs to hit the ball harder rather than have a defensive approach when behind in the count. With an ADP of 477, Franco should be a viable DH option in deep leagues.

With 550 at-bats, his floor should be a 75/25/75 season. I don’t view him as a significant liability in batting average. The Royals should have him in their starting lineup every day.

READ MORE: 2020 Kansas City Royals Fantasy Team Preview