Minor details: Christian Binford pitching well at Class A-Advanced Wilmington

05/17/2014 8:38 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

The Royals knew what they were getting when they spent big on a 30th-round pick in the 2011 draft.

Right-hander Christian Binford had Tommy John surgery as junior in high school, and he was committed to the University of Virginia. But old draft rules allowed the Royals to splurge, and they gave Binford $575,000 to skip college.

“From the day he’s signed, he’s always thrown strikes and commanded his fastball exceptionally well,” said J.J. Picollo, the Royals assistant general manager for scouting and player development.

After striking out 130 batters in 135 innings with a 2.67 ERA at Class A Lexington last year, the Royals bumped the 21-year-old up to Class A-Advanced Wilmington this season.

Picollo said Binford’s fastball, which sat between 86 and 91 mph when he signed, is up to the 88 to 93 mph range, and he’s touched 94.

“What’s really improved is his velocity and his ability to use his breaking ball,” Picollo said. “He throws a curveball and a slider, and he’s developing a change-up.

“He really mixes all four pitches well. He’s really a good example of how when you get ahead of hitters you can throw a lot of different things and really stymie an offense. He did that last year at Lexington, and he’s off to a good start at Wilmington.”

Binford is 2-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 40 1/3 innings for the Blue Rocks. He’s allowed 32 hits with seven walks and 48 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting a mere .211 against Binford, who has allowed more than two earned runs only once in his seven starts.

The Star’s Top 15 Prospect List

1. Kyle Zimmer, P, Class AA Northwest Arkansas

Hasn’t pitched yet

2. Raul Mondesi, SS, Class A-Adv. Wilmington

.252, 6 doubles, 1 home run, 10 RBIs, 7 stolen bases

3. Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Northwest Arkansas

.252, 8 doubles, 2 home runs, 29 RBIs

4. Sean Manaea, LHP, Wilmington

1-2, 5.40 ERA, 38 SO, 10 BB, 26 2/3 IP

5. Hunter Dozier, 3B, Wilmington

.230, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 19 RBIs, 5 stolen bases

6. Miguel Almonte, RHP, Wilmington

2-1, 5.21 ERA, 36 SO, 12 BB, 38 IP

7. Orlando Calixte, 3B, Northwest Arkansas

.208, 2 home runs, 2 RBIs, 6 games

8. Bubba Starling, OF, Wilmington

.169, 9 doubles, 2 home runs, 13 RBIs, 6 stolen bases

9. Christian Binford, RHP, Wilmington

2-2, 2.23 ERA, 48 SO, 7 BB, 40 1/3 IP

10. Jason Adam, RHP, Northwest Arkansas

0-4, 6.37 ERA, 29 SO, 15 BB, 35 1/3 IP

11. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Northwest Arkansas

.257, 3 doubles, 5 home runs, 16 RBIs

12. Elier Hernandez, OF, Class A Lexington

.222, 6 doubles, 4 home runs, 12 RBIs

13. Sam Selman, LHP, Northwest Arkansas

2-3, 3.90 ERA, 26 SO, 20 BB, 32 1/3 IP

14. Christian Colon, SS, Class AAA Omaha

.284, 8 doubles, 3 home runs, 19 RBIs, 5 stolen bases

15. Sugar Ray Marimon, RHP, Omaha

3-2, 2.41 ERA, 36 SO, 11 BB, 41 IP

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff

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