Kansas City Royals: Fans Should Be Encouraged By Brad Keller

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Pitcher Brad Keller
SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Pitcher Brad Keller /

The 2018 season is looking to be a rough one for the Kansas City Royals. Therefore, looking for positives might be hard. But you might be seeing a positive in the Royals newly acquired pitcher, Brad Keller.

It is going to be easy this year to be negative about the Kansas City Royals. They have all the makings of being a really bad team. Which, I guess is a good thing for the 2019 MLB Draft. Until then, the likelihood of the team experiencing a lot of positives is not very high.

Therefore, instead of focusing on the negatives, let’s look at a positive. That positive was acquired in the Rule 5 Draft back in December. Brad Keller.

Keller was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondback in the 8th round back in 2013. He was then drafted in the Rule 5 Draft by the Cincinnati Reds, later traded to the Royals for a player to be named later or cash.

The funny thing about this whole situation is the Royals wanted Keller. But they wanted him back in 2013 during the MLB draft. After missing on him, the chance to “take him back” seemed too good for the Royals to pass up on.

By the numbers

When you look at his numbers, it is hard to tell what type of pitcher he truly is. The reason I say this is he has spent much of the last five years in Rookie-Ball or Single-A ball. In fact, he did not make the jump to Double-A until 2017.

When looking at the levels he has spent the most time in, he has posted anywhere from an encouraging 2.60 ERA to an average 4.68 ERA. However, when you look at his career numbers in the minors he has a 3.77 ERA over 541.1 innings. He also has 100 starts over his 106 appearances. For a team that is rebuilding, he seems like the perfect candidate to join the team.

Over the last three years, Keller really started to increase his workload. Over his 76 games pitching (75 starts), Keller threw 407.2 innings while posting a 3.89 ERA and a 27-25 record. During that time he also threw 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings, while walking just 2.8 per nine innings. He also gave up just 23 home runs during that time.

When you look at this, it is not half bad. It also gives you an idea as to why the Royals were wanting to take a chance on the player they originally missed out on.

Why he fits with the Royals

Keller is seemingly a perfect fit for the Royals. The reason I say this is because of his age, contract, position, and abilities.

First off, the Royals are rebuilding. Therefore, having a 24-year-old player helps with the “youth movement” teams normally experience when they rebuild.

Secondly, he is a starting pitcher. When the Royals start to move players come July, having a young starting pitcher with the abilities Keller is demonstrating will drastically help. He has also shown that he can be a valuable bullpen arm if needed. He provides the Royals with an important piece to a rebuild.

Lastly, his contract is a thing of beauty. Since he has not started his service time yet, he is under his “rookie contract” still. This means that Keller will have to accrue three years of service time before he even reaches arbitration. Then arbitration goes for another three years. Essentially, the Royals have Keller under contract for six years, paying him the league minimum or whatever his assessed value is during his arbitration years. That type of contract is crucial during a rebuild.

Final Thoughts

Keller seems to have forced himself into being apart of the Royals rebuild. The Royals obviously want him to be apart of the rebuild, seeing as how they traded for him and put him on the 25-man roster.

I am also fully aware of the fact that he has only pitched in 3.1 innings this year over three games. However, during that time opponents are hitting just .091 against him, and he has yet to allow a run. The only hit he has allowed was a double in today’s game to Rajai Davis. And for a kid that before this year never pitched higher than Double-A, the fact that he has shown this type of composure at the major league level is encouraging.

He will continue to improve, and we will continue to see how he fits with the Royals rebuild. But for right now, he is a major bright spot for this Royals team. Brad Keller has definitely caught my attention and I know I will be keeping a close eye on him through the year.

So what do you think Royals fans? Do you like what you have seen so far from Brad Keller? Is he a future piece in the Royals rebuild? Let us know your thoughts below!