It was about three weeks ago now that the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball snatched up Missoulian Riley King in the 2013 MLB first-year player draft.
The 19-year-old outfielder quickly chose baseball over returning to the hoops program at Carroll College, signing to play in the Royals’ minor league system and jetting off to Arizona and Kansas City’s extended spring training facility in Surprise. That was the last time we’d heard from the Missoula Sentinel graduate.
Well now an update: King will remain in Arizona, at least for now, with the Royals’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League this season.
King boarded a plane for the southwest on June 11, two days after finishing his pro paperwork. All of the recently signed draftees from the organization would be there before getting divvied up along the minor-league ladder.
When the Arizona Royals opened their season on June 20, the 24th-rounder from Missoula was in the starting lineup batting fifth.
He hasn’t had the success that fans of the Missoula Mavericks had come to expect on a daily basis, but then again this isn’t exactly Montana American Legion pitching he’s facing either. King has a .208 batting average through six games and is still looking for his first extra base hit.
Still, he’s nothing if not consistent. King opened the season on a three-game hitting streak and has hits in five of the Royals’ first six games. He’s also one of only seven position players on the team who hasn’t committed an error yet. None of the other six has played in more than five games either.
We’ll keep you up to speed on any happenings related to Missoula’s recently drafted baseball star throughout the summer. Should King get the call up to advanced rookie, one step up in the minor league system, his destination will be Idaho Falls and the Chukars of the Pioneer League.
Missoula plays two series against the Chukars this summer, once at home July 13-15 and once on the road July 20-23. King will have to play some inspired ball in Arizona to make the jump in the next two weeks for a trip back to Missoula.
Until that call finally comes, he’ll have to start trying to enjoy that broiling Arizona sunshine.