A close look at Royals prospects

Updated: March 11, 2011, 10:41 AM ET
By Keith Law

Split-squad games aren't always great for fans hoping to see major-league players when they head to Arizona for spring training*, but they're great for me because it typically means a few more prospects get to play, which was the case on Thursday for Kansas City's split squad against Oakland.

(* I'm told there are, in fact, spring training locations outside of Arizona, although for the life of me I can't figure out why.)

The Royals ran out four arms from their farm system in this game, led by Will Smith, acquired last July from the Angels for Alberto Callaspo. Smith is a finesse lefty, hiding the ball very well and working around the fringes of the zone, but his stuff is very ordinary, with an 87-91 MPH fastball that hitters square up very easily once they pick it up out of his hand. Neither his curveball nor his cutter is an above-average pitch and he'll have to try to trick hitters by changing speeds or relying on deception, a formula that probably won't work that well in the American League.