KC Royals Received a Solid Debut From Kris Medlen


There are times when statistics do not tell the full story. While quite a bit can be gleaned from the numbers that permeate our favorite sport, there is usually a bit more than what those statistics can show. Such was the case with Kris Medlen‘s KC Royals debut last night.

On the surface, Medlen’s outing was a mixed bag in terms of success. Brought in to essentially save the bullpen after Yordano Ventura failed to enter the fifth inning, Medlen allowed four runs in his 3.1 innings of work. Obviously, that is not the type of result that the Royals would have been hoping for, however, for a pitcher who had not appeared in a major league game since 2013 and was coming off his second Tommy John surgery, some rust was to be expected.

There were also a few positives from last night as well. Medlen struck out four batters without allowing a walk. Of the batters he faced, Medlen allowed only two line drives. Granted, he gave up a home run and a double, but for the most part, Medlen was able to generate ground balls while exhibiting his typically excellent control. In fact, of the 52 pitches Medlen threw, only 15 were balls.

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Kris Medlen also displayed slightly more velocity than he had at any other point during his career. His 91.79 MPH average with his fastball would be a career high for any season if he can sustain that for the rest of 2015. However, Medlen’s change did not have much separation from his fastball or sinker, coming in at 85.50 MPH on average. Considering that Medlen has typically had a nine to ten mile per hour difference in the fastball and change, one could imagine that the lack of difference in velocity in this outing was just a matter of not quite having the feel for the ball.

Medlen’s KC Royals debut also could have been a lot better. He had left after getting one out in the eighth, after giving up two hits to put runners on the corners. Luke Hochevar promptly gave up a triple to Neil Walker, allowing both inherited runners to score. Had he worked out of the jam, Medlen would have only allowed those two runs in his 3.1 innings on four hits, a much better looking stat line.

As Medlen continues to get accustomed to pitching again, the results will likely reappear. Should he build off of this outing, and continue to pitch well, it is only a matter of time before he is put into the starting rotation. Given the state of the Royals rotation currently, should Medlen have a solid three weeks to a month, that insertion could happen sooner rather than later.

The KC Royals finally saw Kris Medlen make his debut last night. Despite what the statistics may say, the Royals should be encouraged by his outing.

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