On Monday evening the Kansas City Royals traded relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals for three prospects: third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel, and outfielder Blake Perkins. Here’s a quick look at the newest members of the Royals system.
Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B: The Nationals originally signed Gutierrez out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. Originally a shortstop, he switched to third base over the last couple of seasons and has emerged as an above-average, even excellent, defender at the position.
Age 23, Gutierrez was hitting .274/.321/.391 this season in 230 at-bats for Double-A Harrisburg. He has some untapped power in his bat but will need to make more progress either finding that power or boosting his on-base skills. He rated as a Grade C+ prospect pre-season and that hasn’t changed.
Yohanse Morel, RHP Morel is just getting started; he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2017 and has pitched in just one pro game. He’s raw and there’s little to go on at this point, but he does have a good arm, Baseball America reporting a fastball up to 95 MPH. He is years away but could have the most long-term upside of the three prospects.
Blake Perkins, OF: A second round pick in 2015 from high school in Arizona, Perkins stands out for his notable defensive ability in the outfield and his overall athleticism. With the bat he’s shown a knack for drawing walks, but lacks home run power at this point. He was hitting .234/.344/.290 with 12 steals, 42 walks, 67 strikeouts, and just one home run in 252 at-bats for High-A Potomac.
A switch-hitter, Perkins is just 21 years old and still has a shot at adding some pop to his game. If that doesn’t happen he projects as a reserve outfielder. He rated as a Grade C+ pre-season and still holds that ranking.