Now that the KC Royals have traded one of their left handed bullpen members, a young lefty may get to see more time during the 2020 season.
As many have likely heard by this point, the KC Royals have traded left handed relief pitcher Tim Hill to the San Diego Padres for OF Franchy Cordero and RHP Ronald Bolanos. Kings of Kauffman writer Mike Gillespie covered the trade in a bit more detail, but also mentioned that the door may be opened a little more for a younger Royals pitcher, Gabe Speier.
Hill was likely a lock for the bullpen. Even though he had seen some issues with his consistency, he had provided some good innings for the Royals in previous seasons and would have likely been given a chance to prove more. With him no longer on the table, though, there is chance for a younger pitcher to take the spot.
The Royals have plenty of options when it comes to relief pitchers, as seen through the mass of pitchers present in spring training for 2020. Gabe Speier is a likely option though, if the Royals want to replace a lefty with a lefty.
Speier may be a name recognized by some Royals fans, likely due to the fact that he saw a few innings in the majors last season and was also present in spring training.
In his major league innings last year Speier struggled to get going, though, he only saw a small sample of 7.1 innings. Over that time, he managed an ERA of 7.36 over 9 games, and walked 7.4 per 9, though he also managed 10 strikeouts for a SO9 12.3.
A better sample may be gathered when taking a look at his minor league stats. Over the past 3 seasons, which were spent at AA and AAA, Speier saw his ERA jump around; 4.30, 3.39, 4.48. Maybe more attractive to the Royals, though, was his ability to manage over 60 innings in each season. He also managed better numbers in the walks category, and while not as high, saw a good progression in his ability to maintain a good strikeout rate.
Even more in support of Speier is that he seems to be having a good summer camp with the team, hoping to work his way to the opening day roster.
While there is still plenty of time for the Royals to make some more moves and determine what they will do going forward, it shouldn’t be long before fans will know who will be on the field to start the season. There is a good chance that Gabe Speier will be on that list.
With Tim Hill being traded away, the Royals may be looking for another lefty to take his spot. While his experience is minimal, Gabe Speier may be the perfect young pitcher to get his shot.