2020 KC Royals season preview: Richard Lovelady

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Richard Lovelady had a rough 2019 season with the KC Royals. Will his fortunes take a turn for the better with another offseason under his belt?

Welcome to the first installment of Kings of Kauffman‘s 2020 KC Royals season previews. Over the next month, we’ll be breaking down 30 different Royals. Our analysis will include what they accomplished last season, what to expect this season, along with any other information pertinent to the player. Up first is reliever Richard Lovelady.

What did he offer last season?

2019 was a tale of two seasons for Lovelady. At the Triple-A level with the Omaha Storm Chasers, he was very good. Posting a 3.08 ERA and striking out 29 batters in 26.1 innings, he proved to have mastered pitching in the minor leagues. His rookie season with the Royals indicated the opposite when it came to facing MLB bats, though.

In 20 innings as a member of the Royals’ bullpen, Lovelady faced 96 batters and allowed 30 hits. Posting a 7.65 ERA over that span, it was not the debut he hoped for. He also underwent a right knee operation a few months ago but is expected to be ready to go for spring training.

What should we expect in 2020?

Here are two stat line projections for Lovelady’s 2020 season, courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs:

  • B-Ref: 35 IP, 4.89 ERA, 35 K, 13 BB
  • FG: 10 IP, 4.11 ERA, 9 K, 4 BB

Although the FanGraphs projections certainly don’t think Lovelady will play a big role in this year’s bullpen, at least they’re nice in the ERA category. A 4.11 ERA would be a huge improvement over last season. Heck, even something in the neighborhood of 4.50-4.75 would be nice. Expect the team to give him every opportunity to prove he belongs on the roster beyond this season. He’s under club control for the next several seasons, so he remains a valuable asset.

The verdict

Richard Lovelady has reached his peak at the MiLB level. He belongs on a major league roster. That roster should be the KC Royals, as they don’t have a ton to play for this season and 2020 is all about figuring out who fits into the team’s long-term plans. Fresh off knee surgery and hopefully with some newfound confidence on his side, he should settle in as the year progresses.

Next. He’s back! Alex Gordon returns on one-year deal. dark

Lovelady won’t be a star, but he could be an important part of the bullpen. Reliable relievers are hard to find and if he can develop into one, it’ll be worth every bit of patience the KC Royals exercise.

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