On Tuesday afternoon the Kansas City Royals announced they had acquired 24-year old pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth in a trade with the Oakland Athletics for disgruntled first basemen Kila Ka`aihue. For Ka`aihue he receives a fresh start, while the Royals receive a back end of the rotation guy who will likely provide minor league depth, with the potential to join the major league bullpen at some point.
Hollingsworth features five pitches on the mound, a sinker, four-seam fastball, and slider. He also throws a curve and changeup. His speeds vary from the high 80's to low 90's. Back in March he was ranked the 36th best prospect in the A's system according to Scout.com.
Originally a fourth-round selection of the Rockies in 2008, Hollingsworth is a 6'2" 200 lb right-hander who pitched predominately with AA Midland in the Texas League (same league as Northwest Arkansas), but did appear in two games at the end of the year with the AAA Sacramento River Cats. Over his four years in the minors, Hollingsworth is 31-29 with a 4.21 ERA in nearly 500 innings pitched. He strikes out nearly a batter an inning, while producing 3.67 strikeouts for every one batter he walks.
He pitched in one start against the Naturals this season, going 5.1 innings and allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits. He also pitched out of the bullpen against Omaha in the playoffs on September 14th, allowing two runs on three hits in 2.1 innings pitched.
While the chances that the trade amounts to much is likely slim, Ka`iahue clearly didn't fit into the future of the Royals with Eric Hosmer at first base. The Royals were able to acquire an arm that is younger than the player they gave up, as Ka`aihue is 27.