The Royals announced Wednesday that they’ve selected the contract of second baseman Michael Massey and recalled catcher Sebastian Rivero from Triple-A Omaha. Massey will take Whit Merrifield’s spot on the active roster, while Rivero is up in place of backup Cam Gallagher. Both Merrifield and Gallagher were traded prior to yesterday’s deadline. Lefty Angel Zerpa was moved to the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Massey.
Massey, the Royals’ fourth-round pick in 2019, is in enjoying an outstanding season in the minors, posting a combined .312/.371/.532 with 16 home runs, 28 doubles and 13 steals through 391 plate appearances. That includes a massive .325/.392/.595 batting line (158 wRC+) in 143 trips to the plate at the Triple-A level. Baseball America tabbed him eighth among Kansas City prospects on their midseason ranking of the system, giving him above-average grades for his hit tool, power and glove at second base.
With Merrifield traded, there’s a clear opening for the 24-year-old Massey to join Bobby Witt Jr. as a staple in the Kansas City infield. He’s certainly not as ballyhooed a prospect as Witt was prior to his debut, but Massey was selected with the 109th overall draft pick not long ago and has done nothing but hit since making his professional debut. For a 41-63 Royals club that is clearly playing for the future for the remainder of the current season, Massey is just the type of promising youngster who ought to command everyday at-bats in hopes of seizing a spot on next year’s roster.
As for the 23-year-old Rivero, he’ll give Kansas City a third catching option behind Salvador Perez and MJ Melendez. With that duo on the roster for the foreseeable future, it’ll be tough for Rivero to carve out much of a role, but he has a minor league option remaining beyond the current season. Rivero hasn’t hit in a tiny sample of 58 big league plate appearances, but he has a .266/.322/.380 line in 171 Triple-A plate appearances that’s at least passable for a catcher, particularly an organization’s No. 3 catcher on the 40-man roster.
Zerpa, 22, is one of the organization’s more promising pitching prospects, but a move to the 60-day injured list could very well mean the end of his season. The Royals placed him on the 15-day injured list due to a right knee injury last week but have yet to provide more details surrounding today’s shift to the 60-day IL.