- SP Greg Billo (2010 Chukar) is dominating the Midwest League after struggling in the homer-happy Pioneer League. Just one year removed from a 5.17 ERA campaign in Idaho Falls, Billo leads all of minor league baseball with a 1.38 ERA with the Royals’ Low-A affiliate, the Kane County Cougars. The next closest pitcher is the Brewers’ Tyler Thornburg with a 1.89 ERA between the Midwest League and the High-A Florida State League. Part of Billo’s success comes from a bump in his average fastball to 88 to 92 mph. He’s topped out at 94. In his last 10 appearances, he’s allowed more than one run just once. And on the season, he’s averaging 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
While Major League Baseball’s opening day was a full week ago, opening day for the full-season minor league clubs kicks off today around the country. And it kicks off with ex-Chukars dotting the rosters of the Royals’ affiliates.
In Triple-A, eight ex-Chukars are on the 24-man roster. In AA, it’s more than half, as 15 of the 26 players played in Idaho Falls. And in A-ball, it’s 11 of 28 in High-A and 12 of 25 in Low-A.