KC Royals: Glenn Sparkman gone, but his shutout remains

The KC Royals have made their first big roster moves of the offseason and fans are saying goodbye to one pitcher who just never found his place.

It’s often tough to see players leave. Even if they struggled or didn’t contribute much to a team, if they are around long enough, many fans still manage to get attached. While some might not feel this way about Glenn Sparkman, it’s likely there are some KC Royals fans who are sad to see the pitcher go.

On Monday, the Royals announced their request for released waivers on the pitcher.

Sparkman is an interesting specimen from the Royal’s past few seasons. He was one that showed great stuff at times and looked like he was out of his league at others.

Sparkman was originally drafted by the Royals in 2013 and quickly made his way through minors, seeing decent success at each level. In 2017, he was selected by the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 Draft but later returned to the Royals.

Finally, in 2018, he got his shot in Kansas City. He had experience in the minors as both a starter and reliever, and that’s how the Royals used him. He started three games in 2018 out of the 15 he saw innings in. He held an ERA of 4.46 and FIP of .402, walking 3.5 per 9 and striking out 6.3 per 9.

He didn’t put up the greatest stat line, but he showed some potential. Then came 2019, a season of regression. Sparkman saw his ERA jump to 6.02 and while his walks lowered, so did his strikeouts. He was used more as a starter out of need, starting 23 games.

He struggled to start the season, but turned things up in May and June, pitching to the tune of a 2.84 and 3.94 in each month respectively. He wasn’t able to keep this pace, though, seeing a sharp rise in his ERA and not finishing with a monthly ERA lower than 6.85 from July through September.

In 2020, Sparkman only pitched 5.0 innings, giving up 3 runs, before he was moved to the injured list. That, unfortunately, would be it for Sparkman in Kansas City. He was a pitcher of potential who never could find his place in Kansas City. He did, however, find his groove for one night.

On July 6, 2019, the Royals saw the Chicago White Sox at home in Kauffman Stadium. Sparkman was on the mound and from the moment he started, something just seemed right. The innings started to fall away and yet Sparkman was still on the mound.

He got in a jam or two, but luckily, he had the Royals defense behind him. After what seemed like a lifetime, the game was finished with Sparkman still on the mound. He threw 116 pitches over his 9 innings of work, walking 1, striking out 8, and giving up only 5 hits on the night.

Sparkman had pitched a complete game shutout, sandwiched in between multiple starts of multi-run baseball. It was something nobody expected, but a game that nobody will ever forget.

Glenn Sparkman was the unlikeliest of pitchers to accomplish this feat for the Royals, and while he may now be gone, the memory of his shutout will always remain in Kansas City.

Glenn Sparkman has been released by the KC Royals. He was never able to find his spot, but he’s leaving fans with a great memory.