Getting To Know: Heath Fillmyer: Is There Upside In The Royals’ Newest Prospect?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Kansas City Royals are clearly a team in rebuilding mode, so it made sense to ship out Brandon Moss (you can argue Ryan Buchter, but he was unlikely to factor into a ninth inning role).  In return they obtained Jesse Hahn, a 28-year old who will challenge for a spot in the rotation (though holds little upside) and Heath Fillmyer.  Who is Fillmyer, the one prospect exchanged in the trade?  Let’s take a look and get to know him:

Rotoprofessor Rankings – Unranked

Throws – Right-Handed

Age – 23

2017 Statistics:
Double-A – 149.2 IP, 3.49 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6.92 K/9, 3.07 BB/9

What Others Have Said:
Fillmyer has a quick arm and typically throws his fastball in the 92-96 mph range with good sinking action that nets him ground-ball outs and results in few home runs. He has a pair of above-average secondary offerings in a curveball, which he throws with tight spin and late bite, and a changeup, a pitch he made big strides with last season. Improved feel for repeating his delivery has led to him throwing more strikes, though he regressed with both his control and command in his first full Double-A campaign. – MLB.com

Thoughts:
Control is the biggest question, with a minor league career 3.5 BB/9, but you can argue that he doesn’t own any one true carrying skill.  The strikeout rate isn’t going to catch your attention, and while a 10.2% SwStr% and his repertoire gives hope that there’s a little bit more upside he’s never going to be a strikeout per inning pitcher.

The scouting report also talks about groundballs and limiting home runs, but look at the groundball rates over the past few seasons:

  • 2015 – 42.0%
  • 2016 – 43.1%
  • 2017 – 44.1%

Maybe he can fill a role at the back of an MLB rotation, but it appears more likely that he’s best suited for the bullpen long-term.  Maybe his stuff will play up better in that role, and that makes him worth monitoring, but for now he’s a prospect that’s best left to be ignored.

Current Grade – C

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

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