KC's Pounders named AFL Pitcher of the Week

Royals prospect struck out seven in stellar four-inning start to earn honor

KC's Pounders named AFL Pitcher of the Week

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kansas City Royals pitching prospect Brooks Pounders of the Surprise Saguaros was named the Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Week.

"It's a huge honor," Pounders said. "You look at the players around this league, and it's just a huge honor."

On Oct. 21, Pounders posted the league's best start to date, allowing only two hits over four innings with seven strikeouts and no walks against the Scottsdale Scorpions.

"It was just one of those days when everything was clicking," Pounders said. "It's been a long year. I struggled with an injury, but I've been able to bounce back."

This past year, during Spring Training, Pounders tore a latissimus dorsi muscle. The right-hander had already had Tommy John surgery in 2013, so the injury to the muscle in his back was a significant setback. But he has been able to regain his stride during his time so far in the AFL.

"I'm feeling comfortable with all of my pitches," Pounders said. "Everything is firing on all cylinders. I'm just trying to be consistent and get consistent starts while I'm out here."

Pounders said he still feels he has some room for improvement and areas to work on before his pitching is completely back to where it was prior to his recent injury, but his stats so far show some early success and great strides of improvement.

The Royals prospect has not allowed a run in seven innings in two AFL starts so far, allowing only four hits and no walks with 10 strikeouts. He also leads the league in fewest baserunners per nine innings ratio (5.14) and ranks third in WHIP (0.57).

"I'm just trying to show the Royals and everyone else what I got," Pounders said. "Obviously the ultimate goal is to get to the big leagues. I'm just trying to put myself in the best position I can to do that."

Rebecca Winn is a journalism master's student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.