More On The Royals: Aaron Brooks
Another camp standout: Aaron Brooks
Brooks doesn’t have a big prospect pedigree. He was a 2011 ninth-round pick out of Cal State San Bernardino, an NCAA Division II program that has yet to produce a big leaguer. Since signing for $90,000 he has put up middling numbers in three seasons while reaching Double-A: 24-24, 4.56, 303 strikeouts in 393 1/3 innings.
A finesse right-hander, Brooks throws a ton of strikes but has little margin for error. The 23-year-old ranked seventh in the Minors last year with an average of 1.2 walks per nine innings but also surrendered 173 hits (including 17 homers) in 160 innings.
The Royals gave Brooks a nonroster invitation to big league camp, where he made a positive impression on manager Ned Yost and his coaches. After sending him back to the minor league side, they asked him back for a Friday start against the Angels.
Brooks gave up four runs in two innings against the Angels, three on a homer by Chris Iannetta. He showed some mettle by getting out of the first inning by inducing Albert Pujols to ground into a double play. Don’t be surprised if Brooks makes his Major League debut at some point this year.
“People talk about our starting pitching but Aaron Brooks has flown under the radar,” Kansas City assistant GM for scouting and player development J.J. Picollo said. “I remember Scott Groot, who’s now scouting with the Dodgers, said, ‘I don’t care where we get this guy but he can pitch.’ One Aaron got his emotions in check, he started moving quickly. He has four pitches — fastball, curveball, slider, changeup — a traditional guy. His velocity has crept up to where he tops out at 95 mph and pitches at 91-92.”