KC Royals closing candidates are putting in the work
The KC Royals are waiting for the season to start and players are continuing to work for whenever that might be, especially these pitchers.
The KC Royals will be back in action soon, at least, fans can only hope. Until that time though, updates, player videos, and past games are all fans really have to hold onto baseball. For a few Kansas City players though, it looks like they are continuing to prepare for the season, no matter when it comes.
It’s been a few years since many have likely felt any real confidence in the Royals bullpen. There have been some pitchers come through that have provided some flashes of great pitching or even decent seasons, but the inconsistencies often play their part and take the front of the line.
Pitchers like Kevin McCarthy and Tim Hill have put together great innings over the past few seasons, but at other times, seem as if they forgot what they were doing. In 2019, the bright spot was closer Ian Kennedy.
Starting pitcher turned reliever, Kennedy needed a change. Since the Royals had signed him to a multi-year contract, he failed to impress. He found consistency in relief and looked like he was meant to be a closer.
Once this 2020 season gets started, though, Kennedy may have some competition.
Over the offseason, one Royals acquisition that raised some eyebrows was pitcher Trevor Rosenthal. Once an All Star closer, Rosenthal has seen is share of difficulties. After an injury, it has been a struggle for him to regain his old form, which made him a perfect offseason pick up for the Royals who like a reclamation project.
While it’s a tiny sample, and too small to draw any real conclusions, Rosenthal started off the short spring training hot. Over 5.0 innings pitched, he gave up no runs, 3 hits, no walks, and struck out 9.
He looked as though he was back to his old form, though only time will tell. During this time off though, he is continuing to put in the work and is still touching high 90’s.
Aside from Rosenthal, though, there is another candidate who continues to impress. Josh Staumont has been making his way through the Royals minor league system, giving up walks, and striking out batters at a high rate.
In 2019, though, he got his chance at the majors. He did struggle in some of his outings, but held an ERA of 3.72. He saw a drop in his strikeout rate, but also in his walks. Like Rosenthal, Staumont started spring training well.
Over 6.0 innings, he gave up 4 hits, no runs, 3 walks, and struck out 10. It also seemed normal for him to hit 100, as if he didn’t even have to try. Over the weekend, a video of Staumont pitching started floating around and he looks as good as ever.
Staumont has to continue to prove that he can control his pitches and not let walks get the better of him. With 103 mph pitches, though, he is clearly in a position to close out games if the control is there.
The season may be in the air right now, but it’s good to see that players are continuing to make progress. While the expectations may not be high for the Royals this year, pitchers like these two make things a bit more exciting.