KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Every Kansas City Monarchs player has the same goal: to make it to the highest level of baseball. For pitcher Jackson McClelland, that goal just got a whole lot closer.
McClelland’s contract has been transferred to the Kansas City Royals organization, the Monarchs announced Thursday.
“I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come to Kansas City,” McClelland said. “I have so much gratitude to everyone in the Monarchs organization, from Joe, to the rest of the coaching staff, the trainers, the front office. Without everyone at the Monarchs, this never would have happened.”
“We’re incredibly excited for Jackson,” Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra said. “His stuff is great, his makeup is plus-plus. We can’t wait to see him make the most of this opportunity.”
Since January 1, 2017 (the year Calfapietra arrived) 40 Kansas City players have been signed by MLB organizations, the most in the American Association. 18 different MLB teams have signed Monarchs/T-Bones players over that span.
A former Blue Jays and Cubs prospect, McClelland did not pitch in 2022, opting to wait for an opportunity to catch on with an affiliated club. He signed with the Monarchs on February 21, 2023.
On Tuesday, McClelland and several of his teammates threw in a simulated game at Kansas City’s Urban Youth Academy. Royals scout Terry Wetzel was on hand, and liked what he saw.
“The life on his fastball, the bite on his slider, it’s all good,” Wetzel said. “He’s an impressive young guy.”
Wetzel says he stopped by the workout because he knew the talent the Monarchs had to offer.
“Joe [Calfapietra] and I have a great relationship,” Wetzel said. “He does an outstanding job, and he really cares about his players. And he gets good players.”
“Jackson was the guy that got signed on that particular day, but there were a lot of guys that had an opportunity to be seen, and a lot of guys showed really well,” Calfapietra said. “That’s going to go a long way for a lot of our guys.”
For McClelland, Tuesday was the start of the next chapter of his baseball career.
“Hopefully he does well with this chance, another chance to get back to an affiliated organization,” Wetzel said. “And if he does well, he definitely has a shot to get to the big leagues.”
“You get to keep chasing the dream,” McClelland said. “That’s what everybody’s after.”
The Monarchs open their season Friday in Sioux City at 7:05 p.m. Their home opener is set for Friday. May 19 at 7 p.m. against Sioux Falls.