KC Royals: Expect more rockets from Josh Staumont
The KC Royals employ plenty of speed but also their share of heat on the mound.
Between now and Opening Day, the Kings of Kauffman writers are analyzing how various KC Royals performed last season and predicting how they might fare this year. Up today is relief pitcher Josh Staumont.
The KC Royals have an interesting mix of pitchers in their organization at the moment. Between prospects and veterans, there are plenty of right and left-handed throwers, and some that pitch with style while others just throw heat. It’s difficult for any, though, to find the same speed that Josh Staumont has when he is on the mound.
Staumont is one who has been with the organization for a little longer. Drafted by the Royals in the 2015 draft, he quickly got to work hitting rookie ball in that same year. He wasn’t there long though.
Staumont saw both Single-A+ and Double-A in 2016 and then made the jump to Triple-A in 2017. He was able to quickly show that he had the right stuff, but he still had some areas that needed work.
Staumont has always been a strike thrower and through his 7-year professional career, has only dipped below 12 SO/9 twice, once in the minors to an even 10.0, and once during his first major league shot in 2019 to 7.0.
He has also always had a great deal of speed, touching 100 mph with what looks like little to no effort. That doesn’t mean things have always been easy for Staumont, though, because with great speed often comes difficulty with control.
Throughout his career, Staumont has struggled with walks. While he has consistently seen a reduction in his BB/9 (other than last season), it’s still higher than the Royals would probably like. Still, he has shown that he can be productive and dominant even with his control and walk struggles.
Staumont got his first taste of the majors in 2019. He threw 19.1 innings and 21 hits, allowing 8 earned runs, struck out 7.0 per 9, walked 4.7 per 9, and held an ERA of 3.72 and FIP of 6.06. He saw the good and the bad in one season and while his ERA looks ok, his FIP tells the real story.
Staumont was fine, but he still needed to prove that he could stick in Kansas City. Luckily, he got that shot again in 2020.
Staumont worked hard over the offseason and through the delay and he also looked for mentoring from Trevor Rosenthal. While there is no telling what exactly made things click, any who watched the 2020 season knows that Staumont was ready to prove himself.
He threw 25.2 innings in the shortened season, and while he saw an increase in BB/9 to 5.6, he also only allowed 7 earned runs, struck out 13.0 per 9, and held an ERA of 2.45 and FIP of 3.54. He also was responsible for a number of the fastest pitches in the major leagues and touched 102 mph.
Staumont may have still struggled with some control, but he found a way to work around it. Because of this, he is a lock for the 2020 bullpen.
Baseball Reference and FanGraphs projections for Staumonts 2021 season
Both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs see Staumont getting a decent amount of innings in 2021, but differ on some of the finer details. Baseball Reference has Staumont at 61.0 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.98, a BB/9 of 4.1, and SO/9 of 9.9.
FanGraphs projects Staumont for 63.0 innings, an ERA of 4.44, a BB/9 of 6.08, and SO/9 of 10.81.
What will the 2021 season hold for Josh Staumont in Kansas City?
While there are some unknowns for Staumont, there are also some things that are almost certain. Staumont will be in Kansas City to start the season. Could he be sent down if needed? Yes, but it would likely take multiple innings of trouble for this to happen.
Fans can also expect to see high velocity and strikeouts when Staumont is on the mound. His control has always been an issue, but the speed and strikeouts have never really been in question. Staumont could see his velocity dip a bit due to pitching in a full major league season, but this is also something that he likely been preparing for.
What is unknown about Staumont is how he will handle a full season if struggling with walks and control. In the short 2020 season, he was able to work past it and keep his numbers right where he wanted them; there wasn’t time for his walks to catch up with him. He could triple his innings this season, though, and he may not be able to hold off the batters for all of them.
This is in no way suggesting that Staumont will implode, simply that he may have some more hurdles to jump with a longer season. The control issues are going to have to be addressed at some point.
If he can lower his walk rate, even to the 2019 level, that will be huge progress and may allow him to keep his run numbers low. If his walks climb, though, eventually his ERA and FIP will climb as well.
Spring training has started a bit rough for the relief pitcher, but the Royals likely aren’t worried. Staumont will still start the season in Kansas City, and no matter what, fans can expect to see some more rockets whenever he is on the mound.
Josh Staumont still needs to address his control issues, but even slight progress with his walk rate could give him another season of huge success.