Kansas City Royals: Heath Fillmyer has been impressive

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 4: Heath Fillmyer #49 of the Kansas City Royals pitches in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium on July 4, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 4: Heath Fillmyer #49 of the Kansas City Royals pitches in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium on July 4, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals have not had a lot to celebrate this year. Therefore, when something positive happens, regardless of “size”, we need to embrace it. Heath Fillmyer is someone to celebrate right now.

The Kansas City Royals acquired Heath Fillmyer in a trade this offseason with the Oakland A’s. Between Jesse Hahn and Fillmyer, Fillmyer was the one I was most intrigued with. Between the two, the Royals really needed one to pan out. With Hahn always being injured, Fillmyer has to be that guy. Based on his recent performances, I feel like he is reaching those expectations, right now.

Fillmyer was a Top-30 prospect for the A’s and when coming to Kansas City he found himself ranked 22nd within the Royals organization. Considering the Royals trade Brandon Moss and Ryan Buchter to acquire Fillmyer, you have to think the Royals came out on top.

In 2017 while in Double-A, Fillmyer posted a solid 3.29 ERA over 188.2 innings and 37 starts. Over that time, he recorded 144 strikeouts and 59 walks, with a 1.31 WHIP. Due to this type of production, Fillmyer started 2018 in Triple-A.

Unfortunately, those numbers didn’t really translate with the promotion. This year over 13 starts, Fillmyer has a 5.75 ERA over 67.1 innings. His strikeouts-to-walks suffered as well. He currently has 47 strikeouts to 28 walks. Surprisingly though, Fillmyer found himself getting called up this year. Whether that be because of other players injuries, or recent assignments, Fillmyer seised his opportunity.

Carpe Diem

Since being called up on June 19th, Fillmyer has appeared in three games. Over those three games, he has thrown 9.0 innings, while logging a 2.00 ERA. He has struck out five and walked three while allowing just four hits.

Fillmyer has been someone who has been able to eat innings over his three appearances. His MLB debut actually happened after Jason Hammel allowed seven runs through 4.0 innings against Houston. Fillmyer came in and finished the game, throwing 4.0 innings and allowed two runs, three hits while walking two and striking out just one.

If you’re doing the math in your head, that means that since playing Houston, Fillmyer has thrown 5.0 innings of shutout baseball. He’s also only allowed one hit while striking out four and walking one.

For someone who struggled with consistency and getting out of the game unscathed while throwing at the Triple-A level, his very small sample size this year at the MLB level is encouraging.

Final Thoughts

The Royals should be familiar with players being called up and surprising everyone at the MLB level. Most recently, Brad Keller fits the mold. Rosell Herrera also fit the mold.

Fillmyer might not be with the big league roster much longer, simply to preserve service time. If the Royals are content with using his service time, then they might have found a pitcher that this team desperately needs.

The Royals struggles when they have to go to the bullpen, as well as starts getting shelled early in games. If the Royals have a pitcher in the bullpen that can eat innings with minimal damage, they could salvage some games that have been falling out of reach. He also could be the perfect spot starter for the Royals. For example, July 4th game with Trevor Oaks starting the game, Fillmyer was able to fill in after 4.0 innings, getting the Royals to the 8th innings with a chance to win still.

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My hope is Fillmyer continues at the rate he is. If he can, the Royals could have another viable bullpen/rotational arm for their future and rebuild.

So what do you think Royals fans? Have you been impressed with Fillmyer’s very minimal sample size? Has he surprised you any? Let us know below!