Kansas City Royals: 3 most surprising players of 2019

KC Royals, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, Home runs (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, Home runs (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals, Scott Barlow
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Scott Barlow may have found his role in 2019 and the Kansas City Royals should count on him as a reliable bullpen arm in 2020.

Scott Barlow was a nice addition from Dayton Moore in 2018. He was signed as a free agent after the Dodgers let him walk. In his final season with the Dodgers, he started 26 games and pitched to a 3.29 ERA.

Barlow has a very good fastball and an excellent slider. He has essentially become a two-pitch pitcher out of the bullpen but both of those pitches are very good. His velocity also for both pitches went up noticeably in 2019.

Signing a young man with the stuff that Barlow has and moving him to the bullpen was a great idea and the Royals deserve credit for pulling it off. Barlow can take a spot in this bullpen for the next several years. He pitched to an ERA of 2.12 over 34 innings in the second half of the season.

Barlow was consistently one of the best arms out of the bullpen for Kansas City this season. He threw over 70 innings. And he struck out 92 batters. His FIP was 3.41. And his BABIP still seems a little unlucky at .337.

He does need to throw more strikes. He cannot keep walking almost 5 batters per 9 innings. His stuff is more than good enough to consistently get major league hitters out, so there is no reason to be issuing so many free passes. If he can correct his issues with walks, he could become a closer someday.

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Barlow is already a young bullpen arm that can get both left-handed and right-handed hitters out. He can also be used in a situation that needs a big strikeout. He was a nice surprise in 2019 and his continued improvement next season should not be.