The Kansas City Royals will be well represented during the 2023 Arizona Fall League.
On Friday, the club revealed a list of eight players who will take part in the AFL. They’ll play for the Surprise Saguaros during the upcoming fall season.
The Royals are sending infielder Nick Loftin and reliever Angel Zerpa to Arizona, as well as minor-leaguers Gavin Cross, Peyton Wilson, Eric Cerantola, Rylan Kaufman, Jacob Wallace and Beck Way.
The Saguaros’ roster is made up of players from the Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers organizations.
Royals minor-league coach Bijan Rademacher is also set to join the Saguaros staff. He spent this season as the Omaha Storm Chasers’ hitting coach.
“I’m very fortunate the Royals allowed me to go and play in the (Arizona) Fall League to get some more at-bats from the time missed earlier in the season,” Loftin said.
Loftin was originally slated to play in winter ball. However, he was given the chance to play this fall due to his wife’s impending pregnancy. It will be an easier commute, as he resides in Arizona.
“I’m going to be able to stay at my house, play more baseball and be able to help my wife out,” Loftin said. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity and for the Royals to be able to manage that one for me.”
Loftin has appeared in 13 games this season. He is hitting .372 with six extra-base hits and eight RBIs.
The Royals hope Zerpa can also log more innings. He missed 91 games this season due to left-shoulder tendinopathy.
Zerpa returned to action on Aug. 2 against the New York Mets. He has posted a 4.82 ERA in 13 appearances.
“He missed a lot of time this year,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “So, we feel we need to get innings on him this year so we feel comfortable building him up next year in a responsible way.”
The Royals also want to get an extended look at a few minor-leaguers.
Cross, the KC organization’s No. 6 prospect, played in 96 games between High-A Quad Cities and Double-A Northwest Arkansas this year. He hit .203 with 12 home runs, 58 RBIs and 23 stolen bases across both levels, but he also dealt with an illness this season and has not played since Aug. 9.
Wilson, the Royals’ No. 26-ranked prospect, gets an opportunity to build upon his strong 2023 campaign. He hit .286 with six home runs and 65 RBIs for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Four pitchers have a chance to impress. Way is a name to watch as he tries to rebound from a down year. He posted a 6.67 ERA in 79 2/3 innings with Northwest Arkansas.
The Arizona Fall League will afford each player a chance to build momentum ahead of the 2024 season. League play begins Oct. 2 and runs through Nov. 11.