Will this be the season young pitcher Scott Blewett sticks with the KC Royals?
Between now and Opening Day, the Kings of Kauffman writers are analyzing how various Royals performed last season and predicting how they might fare this year. Up today is pitcher Scott Blewett.
There are two baseball roads Scott Blewett knows well—the relatively short one between Kauffman Stadium and T-Bones Stadium (since renamed Field of Legends), the venue of last season’s alternate training site, and the longer one that leads to the KC Royals’ Surprise, Arizona spring training camp. He’s traveled both so much that he probably knows them as well as the back of the right hand with which he makes his living.
Blewett made the quick trip from the alternate site in Kansas to the Royals’ Missouri park three times last summer before getting into his first big league game. Now, he’s back in Surprise for the fourth straight spring, trying hard to find a way to make his next Kansas City stop permanent.
His first two visits to the Royals after baseball resumed last July were brief, occasioned not by the team’s particular desire to see him pitch, but instead by short-term roster needs. He returned to Kansas without throwing a pitch. But the third time was, as they say, the charm, and he debuted Sept. 18 by striking out two in a pair of scoreless relief innings against Milwaukee. His second, and final, 2020 appearance wasn’t as good: he gave up two runs on three hits in an inning against the Cardinals. But his two strikeouts gave him four in three innings, and he walked just one.
Blewett, 24, has journeyed to Surprise every spring since 2018. Before this camp, he was 1-1 overall with a 6.75 ERA, and five strikeouts and five walks in 12 innings. The 2019 Cactus League slate was Blewett’s best when he went 1-0 in three games and didn’t give up a run.
He’s appeared once this spring, surrendering two runs and two hits against the White Sox Wednesday. He gave up a home run to Zack Collins, the first batter he faced, then retired three in a row—two on strikeouts—to end the fourth. But a pair of two-out walks and a run-scoring single ended his day in the fifth.
Blewett will have to do better to avoid a trip to Omaha to start the season. What does 2021 look like for him?
Baseball Reference and FanGraphs projections for Blewett’s KC Royals season
Baseball Reference and FanGraphs don’t share quite the same view of Blewett’s 2021. Neither believes he’ll pitch much—Baseball Reference predicts he’ll get 29 innings and go 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA, while FanGraphs (Depth Charts version) projects only six innings, a 5.57 ERA, and no wins, losses, or saves.
What kind of 2021 campaign will Blewett actually have for the KC Royals?
Baseball Reference and FanGraphs are right. Blewett won’t spend much time in Kansas City this season, unless it’s in April or May when manager Mike Matheny probably won’t be inclined to give his pitchers too many innings as they ease their arms into a full season workload. A starter most of his professional career, Blewett’s best chance to pitch will be out of the bullpen, probably in long or middle relief.
Expect to see Blewett back in the minors for most, if not all, of the season. Depending on how an arbitration case is resolved, he has at least one minor league option left, so working him at Triple A Omaha won’t be a problem.
Unfortunately for Blewett, his career 33-45, 5.00 record in the minors, and Kansas City’s established rotation and crowded bullpen, don’t bode well for a long stint in the big leagues.
This won’t be a breakout season for Scott Blewett. Expect him to see much more of Omaha than Kansas City.