Jeremy Jeffress Sent to Double A


To this point, the Royals haven’t gotten a lot (at the big league level) out of the players they received in December’s trade of Zack Greinke.  Alcides Escobar has played some excellent defense for Kansas City, but he’s been the only regular at the big league level.

Jeremy Jeffress began the season with the big league club, but he was shipped down to Omaha to work on his control.  The Royals even toyed with the idea of giving him regular work as a starter.

Now, he’s being moved down another level to pitch for Northwest Arkansas in Double A.

The biggest weakness of Jeffress’s game is control.  If he’s around the strike zone, he can be filthy.  With a fastball that regularly hits the high 90s and a sharp 12-to-6 curve, he has the stuff you’d look for in a future closer.

Unfortunately, he’s not around the strike zone often enough for his stuff to be effective.

In 15.1 innings with the Royals, Jeffress walked 11 batters.  Combined with his innings with the Brewers last year, he’s walked 6 batters per nine innings.  In Omaha, he’s put up a 7.12 ERA and a 1.875 WHIP.  A 24/18 K/BB ratio over 24 innings just isn’t going to do it.

A trip to Double A may take some pressure off of him, but he has to perform.  With a bullpen packed with 20-somethings who are getting big leaguers out, and with minor league relievers like Patrick Keating and Kelvin Herrera making their way up the ladder, he’s not irreplaceable, especially if he doesn’t get his command in line.

Jeffress was our #15 prospect coming into 2011.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Jeremy Jeffress Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals

  • jim fetterolf

    Escobar is probably a fair trade for Geinke at the moment, Odorizzi is looking good, Cain is just a trade away, unfortunately blocked by 3 outfielders having relatively great years. Jeffress looks like he’ll be a throw-in on a trade as he seems to have the Kyle Farnsworth virus, throwing for the radar gun and not the strike zone. I think he’ld be better dialing back a little for command and movement. He wasn’t a long-tosser, was he?

  • royal_in_cincinnati

    I am confused about your first line in this one. Escobar has been SS Jesus to this point, and has been hitting about .305/.340/.450 since the beginning of June. Odorizzi pitched so well in High A that he was promoted to AA. He has only made a couple of starts there, but I think he will be fine. Cain is hitting very well in AAA, but is blocked until a Cabrera or Francoeur trade. I read somewhere that they are going to continue trying Jeffress as a starter in AA. If that’s the case, I see no problem sending him down. He has nasty stuff, but is a tweak or so away from getting the control down.

  • michael.allen.engel

    @royal_in_cincinnati I mean more along the lines of the big league team. Apologies for the confusion. The Royals won the trade – unless Greinke leads the Brewers to the World Series. Long term they win it anyway though.

  • michael.allen.engel

    @jim fetterolf I haven’t heard anything about Jeffress being a long toss guy.

    A big reason for his use as a reliever by the Brewers was to keep him ready to pitch every day. Jeffress’s …issues… off the field have been well discussed before…and while his off the field, um, habits, have been addressed by both Milwaukee and KC, the Brewers at least felt it’d keep him focused to be in the pen ready every night rather than having four idle days.

    If he works out as a starter though…fantastic!

  • jim fetterolf

    Michael, good point on ‘issues’, keep the young man busy. One possibility is to have him start every couple of days for one or two innings, then stretch him a little. He’s a high-effort guy, so need to take him slow. As much as anything, the demotion may be a wake up call, majors to AA to AA in one year and will give him a chance to hang with Odorizzi and Herrera and his 100 mph fastball, show him what happens when you throw strikes and keep your head on straight. I think Jeffress gets thrown in on a trade before next season, but we can hope. When he hits the zone he’s tough.