Isbel received an invitation Friday to Kansas City's major-league spring training. The 23-year-old spent 2020 at the Royals' alternate training site and will be at big-league camp for the second straight season. Isbel had an impressive spring training before things were shut down last year, and he could make his major-league debut in 2021 if he puts together another strong spring performance.
Isbel will be a part of the Royals' 60-man player pool this season, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports. Isbel is one of the Royals' top position player prospects and turned heads in the Arizona Fall League in 2019 and in spring training this year. However, he has never played at Double-A or Triple-A, so he is unlikely to fill a major role with the big club in 2020.
Isbel was one of the most impressive Royals players during spring training, Alec Lewis of The Athletic reports. Lewis notes that Isbel wasn't just impressive by prospect standards, but that he was simply one of the best overall players in camp. He made a couple highlight reel catches and hit .241 with two home runs, a triple, two doubles and a 6:1 K:BB in 30 plate appearances. Hamstring troubles and a fractured hamate bone cut his 2019 season short, but he hit .315/.429/.438 in 21 games in the Arizona Fall League. One big-league coach said Isbel looked like a big leaguer already, despite the fact that he has never played at Double-A or Triple-A. He may open the year at Double-A, but it seems like he is firmly on the fast track to the big leagues.
Isbel was invited to the Royals' big-league spring training Monday, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. Isbell will get to work with the Royals' big-league coaching staff for a few weeks, though he's not particularly close to joining them for good. In 52 games for High-A Wilmington last year, the highest level he's reached, he hit just .216/.282/.361.
Isbel (wrist) was activated from the 7-day injured list with High-A Wilmington. He hit .360/.407/.680 with two home runs and three steals in seven rehab games in the AZL. Isbel has been outstanding in a 13-game sample for the Blue Rocks this season, and he could shoot up prospect rankings if he picks up where he left off after missing almost three months with a wrist injury.