KC Royals: The biggest triumphs of the 2019 season

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) /
4 of 5
Kansas City Royals. Brad Keller
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Brad Keller showed us in 2019 that 2018 was no flash in the pan. He can handle major league hitters.

Brad Keller was a Rule 5 pick in 2018. There was no reason to think the 22-year-old could stick in the majors considering he only had 26 games of experience at even the AA level. But he did stick. And he even excelled.

Going into 2019 Keller needed to show that his 20 starts in 2018 were only a beginning and that he could continue to improve and make the adjustments necessary to keep big league batters from figuring him out. And he did just that.

Brad Keller has now thrown over 283 innings as a starter. His ERA is 3.81. His FIP is 4.02. His groundball percentage is over 50 percent. He is also only 24 years old.

I have said this before, but it is worth repeating: Brad Keller is not an ace and never will be. He is not a shutdown starter that can go out and run roughshod over the best offenses in the game. But he is very talented. He has good control and he locates his pitches when he needs to.

It is also very possible that Keller will still get better. He is never going to strike out a batter per inning, but he does appear to still be learning how to set up his slider. And he has become more confident when using it. As he learns when to mix up his sinker and his slider behind his fastball he will gain even more confidence. Brad Keller should be in the middle of our rotation for several years to come.