With left-handed specialists becoming more prevalent in today’s game, Kansas City Royals pitcher Gabe Speier’s could be a valuable asset next season.
Gabe Speier‘s journey to the major leagues has been an interesting one at best. He’s hoping to stick with the Kansas City Royals after originally being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 19th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. From there, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers along with Yoenis Cespedes. And from there, he was traded to the Braves for Cameron Maybin.
Traded again the following year to Arizona, Speier finally landed with the Royals in June 2018 in exchange for Jon Jay. He’s making every case to remain with the team beyond this season, making 47 appearances between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Speier tossed 62.1 innings with 73 strikeouts to 26 walks while allowing a 0.252 opponents batting average and spinning a 4.48 ERA.
He was very good with Double-A but struggled somewhat with Triple-A. His 5.63 ERA in 30 appearances is somewhat deceiving because he was susceptible to the long ball, 10 home runs in 40.0 innings. However, he may have found his calling with the big league club.
Speier was a September callup and has made 4 appearances for the team. He’s tossed 3.1 innings while allowing just 1 hit, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. If you recall, he was brought into the bottom half of the 7th inning against the White Sox in the series finale on Thursday.
With the bases loaded and the Royals clinging to a 5-3 lead, Speier blew a 95 mph fastball on a 1-2 pitch by Leury Garcia that ended the inning. The Royals bullpen outside of maybe Ian Kennedy, Scott Barlow, Tim Hill and Jake Newberry appear to have a hold on a spot next season, but there’s definitely a need for improvement.
Speier features the noted 95 mph fastball, 88 mph sinker, 85 mph changeup, and 83 mph slider. He relies heavily on his fastball and slider to get guys out. Today’s game is finding LOOGY’s (left-handed specialists) to be more prominent to get batter’s out in key situations and that’s exactly what Speier did on Thursday.
I definitely think less is more when it comes to the 24-year old who could eventually take on an expanded role. But as far as next season goes, the team should definitely consider adding him to the bullpen in the LOOGY role.