KC Royals starter Jackson Kowar didn’t finish the 2021 season on the highest note. He struggled in his last three starts and arguably had a tougher transition from the minor leagues than some may have expected.
But assuming the offseason break greets him with open arms, he’ll make the right strides come spring.
Kowar made his way into the rotation in early June, but a string of three losses with less than five total innings pitched saw him reassigned to Triple-A Omaha before the end of the month.
Improving on the mound following the All-Star break, the righthander posted nine wins and a solid 3.46 ERA before leaving the minors for another shot on the big stage.
Upon his return, he recorded his best start of the year in his first game back against Cleveland. Kowar struck out a season-best six and gave up only two runs through six innings. He finished the campaign 0-6 with an 11.27 ERA and .336 OBA.
Jackson Kowar has work to do before the KC Royals open the 2022 campaign.
Kansas City will need Kowar to build on the tough lessons he learned this year. Having him returning next season more knowledgeable of what to expect would serve the bullpen well, and his work ethic in the minors has proved he’s capable of meeting the task. A good offseason of work should help him get there.
Kowar’s inability to sustain momentum plagued him throughout the year and will be the biggest obstacle for him to face. While it could be a number of issues, building confidence with his fastball had been a mental battle he faced throughout the season.
Finding a tempo is a challenge for any young pitcher. Rookie lefthander Daniel Lynch had similar issues with continuity in May, which cost him an early trip back to Omaha. He made the right corrections in-season, though, which makes him a separate case than Kowar.
Regardless, Kowar will be taking a similar route to address his nervousness on the mound. Hopefully, he’ll be throwing a bit more of a spark next spring than we saw in September.
Jackson Kowar had a rough big league introduction with the Royals in 2021. Hopefully, he’ll be able to straighten things out for next season.