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Seuly Matias and Multiple Others Elect Free Agency

Kansas City loses a total of nine players from its minor league system to free agency.

The 2022 offseason is critical for the Kansas City Royals not only at the major league level, but the club has some things to sort out in its minor league ranks as well. Some of those decisions have already been made, as a group of nine players headlined by outfield prospect Seuly Matias has elected free agency. MiLB Transactions first had the full list: 

The following Royals minor leaguers have elected free agency:

RHP Andres Sotillet
RHP Stephen Woods Jr.
RHP Jace Vines
C Gavin Stupienski
C Jakson Reetz
C Jose Briceno
2B Gabriel Cancel
SS Ivan Castillo
OF Seuly Matias

- MiLB-Transactions (@tombaseball29) on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:06 a.m. CST

Matias, who once peaked back in 2018 as the No. 3 prospect in the entire Royals system, used to be a hot name in the prospect world. That year, he clubbed a whopping 31 home runs in just 94 games in Class-A ball and posted a scorching 138 wRC+ while flashing his immense raw power. At one point, the future appeared to be extremely bright for him.

Despite having a couple of respectable outputs at High-A and Double-A in 2021, though, Matias slashed .225/.330/.424 in 99 games with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2022 and saw his wRC+ decline to 92 after being 100 at the same stop the year prior. Now 24 years old, Matias will take his power and prospect profiles to the open market. If he can find ways to stay healthy and cut down on strikeouts — two massive question marks for him — there may be something there for a club to cash in on. 

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Elsewhere for Kansas City, the trio of Sotillet, Woods and Reetz is intriguing. In Sotillet's age-25 season, the righty carved up Triple-A hitters to the tune of a 1.70 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 37 innings of work. Woods spent almost the entire year in Double-A, posting a 4.50 ERA across 58 innings of work while averaging more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Unfortunately for him, he also walked a staggering 49 batters during his time with the Naturals. Reetz joined the Royals organization late in the summer and was the Southern League MVP this year. The 26-year-old had a 121 wRC+ in 21 games with Triple-A Omaha to close out the year.

Players can become minor league free agents after the season when either their organizations opt against renewing their contracts or they reach the six-year mark of playing in the minors. Over the next handful of days, weeks or possibly months, the aforementioned group of players will be on the move but also has the option to re-sign with Kansas City should both sides choose to reunite in the future.

Read More: Michael A. Taylor Dubbed Royals’ Best Trade Chip