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Royals RHP Miguel Almonte, stretch run promotion?

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Miguel Almonte
Miguel Almonte
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

From the Minor League Ball Mailbag:

"Do you think the Royals will promote Miguel Almonte for the stretch run, or at least give him a chance next year? I've kept him on my farm roster. His ERAs are up over 4.00 but I trust the Royals with young pitching."---A.B., Fresno, California

I have not heard anything specific about a September promotion for Miguel Almonte. He is not on the 40-man roster at present, so a promotion this year would require some roster shuffling by the Royals. In any event, he will need to be added to the 40-man roster this fall to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Given his position as one of KC's better prospects, I doubt they would leave him exposed.

It is plausible they could add him to the roster some time in the next six weeks and give him a September cup of coffee since they will need to do so anyhow, but it is also possible that they may let the brew percolate further with a 2016 trial on the menu instead.

As for Almonte's performance, yes his ERAs have been over 4.00 for some time now: 4.49 last year in High-A, 4.03 in 17 starts in Double-A this year, and 4.68 in six starts since moving up to Triple-A last month. However, the FIPs are better (3.92, 4.00, 3.76) and he has maintained a solid strikeout pace, fanning 93 in 100 combined innings this year with 38 in 33 innings for Omaha. His overall K/BB is acceptable at 93/38.

Scouting reports continue to emphasize Almonte's low-90s fastball and impressive change-up. His breaking ball, which sometimes looks like a curve and sometimes a slider, has reportedly improved a bit this year. It is still a third pitch for him but progressed enough for the Royals to promote him to Omaha. He's still just 22 years old.

Long-term he still looks like a candidate to be a mid-rotation arm, although I could also see him becoming a very good reliever.