The KC Royals saw some decent innings out of Jake Newberry in 2019, but he has some areas that improvement. Hopefully, 2020 will bring growth and progress.
Welcome back to the Kings of Kauffman 2020 KC Royals season previews. We are working our way through 30 different Royals that fans will likely see during the 2020 season. We will take a look at their previous season, some expectations for 2020, and any other pertinent information. This time, we are looking at Jake Newberry.
What did he offer last season?
Newberry was a bit of an under the radar reliever for the Royals last year. He has his share of struggles, but he also put together some decent innings in Kansas City. Newberry managed to see 27 games and pitch 31.0 innings, holding an ERA 3.77.
Newberry was decent in getting things done, especially when compared to other Royals relievers, but like most, he struggled with walks. He had a decent strikeout rate of 8.4 per 9, but his walks were a high 4.6 per 9.
He did spend some time in the minors as well, but those numbers basically reflect what he did in his major league innings. What Newberry did was provide enough production to show that he may have some worth in the bullpen and at 25, it’s in the Royals interest to give him another look.
What should we expect in 2020?
B-Ref: 42.0 IP, 4.29 ERA, 42 K, 17 BB
FG: 15 IP, 5.14 ERA, 13 K, 7 BB
Big differences in both of the projection lines. Baseball-Reference seems to suggest that Newberry will play a bit bigger role this year. His innings increased by 11 from 2019, and though his projected ERA is higher, they have him improving in both strikeout ratio and walks.
On the other hand, FanGraphs seems to think Newberry will fall off. Declining in every category, if he puts up the numbers projected by FanGraphs, Newberry will likely see most of the season in the minors, or somewhere other than the Royals organization.
If he can continue the progress he showed in 2019, Newberry could easily stick to the Baseball-Reference predictions. While the ERA is a little higher than some may desire, in the struggling Royals bullpen, he would likely be one of the more consistent and trusted arms.
Newberry has not seen a lot of time in the majors but has done well enough to impress throughout his time in the minors with Royals. He jumped from 13.1 innings in 2018 to 31 major league innings, suggesting the Royals saw something in him that was worth keeping in the bullpen.
A big positive for Newberry is his age. 2020 will be his age 25 season and other than a short time on the injured list in 2019, there is no long history of injury. He proved through most of the 2019 season that he can hang with players at the major league level, and if he can continue to improve, he may become an incredibly strong and reliable arm for the Royals in the future.
While it’s unknown what exactly 2020 will bring, for Jake Newberry continued progression will be key. If he can build on what he did in 2019 and put together another decent season, with more innings and an improved walk rate, he will more than earn his job in the bullpen.
Fans know the Royals need pitching and anytime a young pitcher shows potential, it’s worth a look. Continue to follow along with us as we work through the 2020 season previews.