So far, we’ve profiled 10 players on the Royals 40-man roster. Today, it’s Aaron Brooks. Hey, they all can’t be sexy.
You may remember Brooks from his cameo performance against the Tigers on May 3 where he turned a three run deficit into a nine run hole. That featured a three-run home run from Torii Hunter. Wham, bam, thank you, Brooks. Back to Omaha you go.
He actually turned in a decent month after taking the I-29 north. In 25 innings for the Storm Chasers in May, Brooks had a 2.14 ERA with a gaudy 54 percent ground ball rate. With Yordano Ventura shelved with elbow inflammation late in the month, the Royals decided it would be a good idea to give Brooks a second look on the back of his encouraging month in Triple-A.
It was a bad idea.
Brooks was brutalized by the Blue Jays, failing to make it out of the first inning. His final line: 0.2 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 3 BB. A Game Score of 11 for his troubles. Thank you very much.
(I seem to remember this game being the FOX Game of the Week. Or am I crazy? I do remember watching this game. Because you don’t forget carnage like that. Oh, and that game was also the debut of Marcus Stroman who held the Royals to five hits and one run through six innings. Nothing like a seven run cushion to ease the pressure, right?)
Brooks was drafted in the ninth round of the 2011 draft out of California State University – San Bernadino. He’s not on the prospect radar because his college pedigree and minor league performance fail to justify such status.
|2013||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||4.28||26||26||160.0||173||79||76||17||22||110||1.219||9.7||1.0||1.2||6.2||5.00|
Brooks features fastball, slider, change and will show a curve from time to time. None of his pitches would be classified as a “plus” pitch by the prospect hounds. He works his fastball in the low 90s, but can tickle 95 mph on occasion. As you can see from the table above, his calling card is his command – he has a walk rate of 1.4 BB/9 in his minor league career, which I don’t have to tell you is exceptional. Without a “plus” pitch, he’s missed fewer bats as he’s progressed through the system and his strikeout rate has dropped at almost every stop. Last year in Omaha, Brooks posted a 1.6 BB/9 and his whiff rate rebounded to a modest 6.3 SO/9.
Going back to his major league start last May, was it nerves? For a guy who is known as a “strike thrower” his implosion against the Blue Jays was totally against the grain. Three walks? Then he started grooving pitches. And ballgame.
He picked up a non-roster invite to camp last spring and showed enough that he planted himself on the Royals radar. This year, Brooks makes his return only this time as a member of the 40-man roster. With the Royals rotation and bullpen set, he figures to return to Omaha for an encore performance. Although could you blame him if he was chomping at the bit for a third chance? You work your entire life to get to the majors and drop a pair of performances like that?
Brooks will have to be patient for a return trip to the bigs. Depth is necessary, yet the universal hope is it won’t be called upon. Guys like Brooks are necessary, though, for the occasional spot start to protect the true prospects. Just hope that if you want to see him, you’ll be buying a ticket to a game in Omaha and not in Kansas City.