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Former Illini Michael Massey called up to Kansas City Royals

Welcome to the show.

Former Fighting Illini baseball standout Michael Massey is getting his first crack at the major leagues. Massey, a fourth-round draft pick in 2019, was called up to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

Massey played in 159 games for Illinois (2017-19), finishing his career with 209 hits, a .324 batting average, .367 on-base percentage, and .485 slugging percentage. Massey was a stellar defender, as well, recording a .989 fielding percentage, including a streak of 60 consecutive errorless games.

The 20th-ranked prospect in the Royals’ organization per MLB Pipeline, Massey spent the 2021 season with the Quad Cities River Bandits. In 99 games he slashed .289/.351/.531 with 21 home runs and 87 RBIs, helping lead the team to a Class A-Advanced Central League championship, while also playing Gold Glove defense at second base.

Massey, 24, has hit .317 with 15 HRs and 73 RBIs through 78 minor league games this season. The three-time All-Big Ten honoree hit .305 with nine home runs in 54 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, before being promoted to Triple-A Omaha, where he was batting .348 with six homers in 24 games.

Massey’s big league stint may be shortlived for now, as 10 Royals were placed on the Restricted List prior to their upcoming series in Toronto due to not being vaccinated against COVID-19 (Canada has a vaccine mandate to enter the country). But with Kansas City out of contention this season, Massey has a chance to earn a long-term spot on the major league roster following the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

He’s the second Illini to make it to the majors this season. Right-handed pitcher Cody Sedlock made his MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles in late May.

Welcome to the show, Michael!