2020 KC Royals season preview: Glenn Sparkman

KC Royals, Glenn Sparkman (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Glenn Sparkman (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

While there were good moments for this KC Royals pitcher, the issues often took center stage as he tried to find the best fit for his arm.

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 seasons, some expectations for 2020, and any other pertinent information. This time, we are looking at Glenn Sparkman.

What did he offer last season?

Glenn Sparkman found himself in a few different situations in 2019, both starting games and coming in as relief in a few. He put together a complete game shut out in July, but it’s still a little surprising for many fans to think that it was Sparkman that did this and not another starter.

On the season, Sparkman struggled. He managed 136.0 innings but held an ERA of 6.02. Surprisingly, his walk rate was not near as high as some Royals pitchers at 2.7 per 9, but his strikeout rate was also low, carrying a 5.4 per 9.

What really hurt Sparkman is home runs. He gave up 30 home runs in 2019, 2.0 per 9 innings. While Sparkman ate some innings, what he offered was inconsistent. If he is able to find some control, he may be decent in a bullpen role, but with a large amount of competition for 2020, he may be the odd man out.

What should we expect in 2020?

Here are the stat line projections for Sparkman’s 2020 season from both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs:

B-Ref: 118.0 IP, 5.42 ERA, 90 Ks, 40 BB

FG: 75 IP, 5.66 ERA, 46 Ks, 23 BB

There are definitely some big differences in a few of the stat areas between Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, though both follow the same tune, Sparkman will get innings but will not provide a great deal of production.

Both predictions have an improvement in ERA, though it’s still not great. Baseball-Reference shows him increasing his strikeouts a bit, while both show him being pretty consistent with a walk rate around 3 per 9 or lower.

The Verdict

Glenn Sparkman is really going to have to show that he belongs in Kansas City if he wants to secure his spot for the 2020 season. There is a lot of competition going into 2020 from both young fresh arms and veteran pitchers. Sparkman is in a bit of a limbo, having a few years in the majors at 27 years old, but not enough to flat out say he has a spot.

While Sparkman has seen some decent time over the past few seasons with the Royals, the direction the team is moving in may not allow space for Sparkman on the Roster. He saw significantly fewer innings in 2018, but his overall numbers were better.

If 2019 was an outlier season and Sparman can show some bounceback, he may have a shot. He has shown before that he has the ability to pitch multiple innings and he could be a decent asset to have on hand if needed to keep from using multiple relievers in a situation where a starter comes out early.

The way competition is looking now though, the future is very unclear for Sparkman and his time with the Royals. With spring training quickly approaching, the pitching battles will be where fans want to keep their focus. Keep an eye out for Sparkman to see if he can regain some momentum and secure a spot in the bullpen.

2020 KC Royals season preview: Jorge Lopez. dark. Next

The Royals are in dire need of pitchers and they definitely have some talent on the team. Spring training will hopefully show who is ready to go and help secure a more stable and consistent bullpen than 2019.