Josh Staumont has impressed for the KC Royals so far in spring training but will have to show continued success in the regular season to stay at Kauffman.
Welcome back to the Kings of Kauffman “Projecting the Prospects” series. For each of the KC Royals’ top 30 prospects, we review the best, worst, and most likely scenarios. Coming in at 29 this year is a name likely familiar to many fans, Josh Staumont. Staumont has been with the Royals organization for a few years, after being drafted in 2015 form Azusa Pacific University.
During his time in the minors, Staumont has shown an ability to keep his ERA fairly low and ride a high strikeout rate, typically over 10.0 per 9. He has also shown, though, that he struggles greatly with control and walks batters a high rate.
He found his way to the majors in 2019, and while he saw a few struggles, he kept his ERA at 3.72 over 19.1 innings pitched, and dropped his walk rate from a 6.5 per 9 in AAA to 4.7, though he also dropped his strikeout rate from 13.0 per 9 to 7.0.
So far in spring training, Staumont has been impressing everyone, showing that he clearly worked on his control over the offseason. Over 5 innings pitched so far, he hasn’t given up a run, walked 2 and has struck out 9 batters, easily floating around 100 mph. Staumont is proving his potential is no joke.
Staumont has the look of an All-Star closer in his limited spring training appearances. He’s riding a strikeout rate of 16.2 per 9 and has held his walks at 3.6, still a bit high but good for him. Add to that not giving up a run and his line is impressive.
A spot as the closer in Kansas City, or a late-inning reliever, combined with continued control of his pitching, is the best outcome for Staumont. He has been able to work around the walks this year and has shown obvious increased control. If he can continue this success, there is no reason he won’t be a major piece of the future bullpen in Kansas City.
At this point, Staumont looks to be a lock for Kansas City, but he could quickly change that by losing control. His biggest argument in spring training has been his progression in areas like keeping his walks lower than previous seasons and showing control.
If that changes, and he starts to struggle with control again, Staumont could quickly see the minors. According to FanGraphs, Staumont still has options available if needed. There is always a chance with any pitcher that they backslide, which is the worst outcome for Staumont at this point.
Most likely outcome:
Staumont will likely start the season in Kansas City, even if he does see some struggles in the remaining spring training games. He has shown enough progress now, and pairing him with the resurging Trevor Rosenthal could make for a bullpen that is working towards that of the Royals World Series team capabilities.
Staumont will likely still struggle with his control at times, and if needed, his options could be used, but more than likely with continued time in the majors, Staumont can find success in 2020 and in future years.
There will be good games and bad games for Staumont, but fans can assume they will see him regularly in Kansas City. His progression so far in spring training is putting him in a prime place to claim a bullpen slot, and with continued success, could lock down his spot for years to come.