Kansas City Royals: Keep an eye on Conner Greene at Spring Training

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JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Conner Greene #90 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Conner Greene #90 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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We are not too far away from the start of Spring Training. That means we will get a glimpse all of the faces who will make up the Kansas City Royals roster for the first time in 2019.

Some players will be at Spring Training just to shake the rust off before settling in to their locked in starting roles. Some will be competing for a spot on the roster. One of the newest members of the Kansas City Royals, pitcher Conner Greene, will be hoping to prove himself to his new team.

The Royals claimed Greene off waivers from the Cardinals a couple months back. When it came time to protect for the Rule 5 Draft, St. Louis made the decision to DFA their hard throwing righty to make room. Enter Kansas City.

Player Profile

Without a doubt Greene’s best asset is his fastball. It is a plus pitch that gets a 70 grade on Baseball Savant. He has a nice 6’3″ frame that allows him to top out at triple digits when he puts a little extra behind the ball. As a reliever, he will have this opportunity quite a bit.

What hurts Greene is his track record of a lack of reliable off speed and control. Outside of of his plus heater, every tool is graded as below average. This is not a great sales pitch, but there is more to come.

Is There Upside?

In 143 games over his career, Greene has started 101 of them. As a starter his inconsistencies can flare up even more. However, as a reliever there is more of a chance for him become reliable because of his high octane arm.

Greene’s first shot at a full time bullpen role came with Memphis last year where he pitched 29 games as a reliever. The results were not the best, but there are some takeaways. He struck out nearly six batters per nine, a decrease, and walked a hair over seven batters per nine, an increase. So far no upside.

It will be interesting to see what the Kansas City Royals pitching staff can do with Greene. He had a stellar month of July last season with a sub two ERA in 11 innings, but that was accompanied by seven walks.

Here comes some silver lining, Eric Longenhagen looked into Greene for Fangraphs. There has been an improvement in his breaking ball. That makes Greene more than a one pitch reliever, now he has two options that rate in as above average.

Anyone who watches Greene says there is one main cause of his control issues and that is an inability to repeat his delivery. More specifically he has trouble with his release point.

What To Watch For

Keep and eye on his K/BB ratio. If he can gain a little more consistency with his delivery he can become a decent option at the back end of the bullpen. Whatever was tried with the Blue Jays and Cardinals did not work, but the Kansas City Royals have a good track record with revilers.

Next. 5 hopes for the 2019 season. dark

Some might compare him to Ricky Vaughn on the fictional Cleveland Indians, and it might be a fair assessment. The Kansas City Royals just need to hope the turns things around just as well and they will have a fantastic relief option on their hands.

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