2020 KC Royals season preview: Josh Staumont
The 2020 season presents an opportunity for Josh Staumont to prove that his strikeout numbers can translate to the big leagues for the KC Royals.
Welcome back to the Kings of Kauffman 2020 KC Royals season previews. We are working our way through 30 different KC 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 Josh Staumont.
What did he offer last season?
Josh Staumont found himself in a very similar spot to Kyle Zimmer in 2019. They both did a reasonable job in a tough Pacific Coast League. And they both got very limited chances in the big leagues for the KC Royals, where they were not very good.
Staumont has become, essentially, a guy with two pitches. A very nice 96 MPH fastball and an 82 MPH curveball that can be devastating when his fastball is hitting the right spots.
In AAA last season Josh Staumont struck out 13 batters per 9 innings. Those are the kinds of numbers that get guys called up to Kansas City. He also walked more than 6 batters per 9 innings. Those are the kinds of numbers that get guys sent back down to the minors.
His small sample size in the big leagues last year was reasonably concerning. He only struck out 7 per 9 innings but still managed to give up nearly 10 hits and 5 walks per 9 innings. Yikes.
As we can see from the video below, Staumont can very effective when he is at least close to hitting the catcher’s glove where intended. His fastball really gets down on hitters quickly. And, once he gets ahead in a count, his curveball can be a killer. He has been reducing his walks in his last few minor league seasons. However, we need to see an even more substantial reduction in those walks if he is going to ever stick with the KC Royals.
What should we expect in 2020?
Here are the stat line projections for Staumont’s 2020 season from both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs:
B-Ref: 35 IP, 4.37 ERA, 34 K, 14 BB
FG: 33 IP, 4.52 ERA, 35 K, 22 BB
These numbers would be an improvement for Staumont. And that is what we should reasonably expect from him in 2020. Noticeable improvement.
If Staumont can limit his walks to under 5 per 9 innings, I would count on him becoming an effective reliever. His track record on strikeouts is good enough that I feel confident he can get swings and misses at the major league level, even if he struggled somewhat with that in his small sample size in 2019.
He does not give up a lot of home runs. Over the last two seasons, he has thrown 125.2 innings for Omaha and only allowed 8 homers. He only gave up 31 hits total over his 51.1 innings last season in AAA. Although one way to limit your hits allowed is to issue way too many walks. He must limit his free passes. Period.
In 2020 Josh Staumont will be a 26-year-old reliever with a fastball that can go over 96 and a curveball that can be bewildering from the hitter’s perspective. He has struck out 177 AAA hitters in less than 126 innings over the last two seasons. That is a major league arm. The KC Royals need to figure out a way to get him to improve his control just a bit more.
With the talent level that Staumont has shown, he can probably survive a couple of more seasons as a Quad-A type thrower with potential. But if he wants to become a trusted bullpen arm for the KC Royals, he needs to show some significant progress on controlling the location of his fastball.
I would expect to see Staumont still struggle occasionally this season. And I would expect him to also look like a lockdown middle reliever, at times. 2020 will be a good season for the KC Royals to let young guys like Staumont get out there and show us how they can handle an extended look.