Is Dylan Coleman ready for a year with the KC Royals?

(Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

Perfectly reasonable to assume about a talented Kansas City pitcher drafted in 2018 is that he’s a member of the potential-packed stable of hurlers the KC Royals selected that summer. After all, they chose Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Jon Heasley, Jonathan Bowlan, Austin Cox and Zach Haake, among a few others.

So, when the Royals called up a hard throwing reliever from the minors late last September, it’s understandable some fans might have thought him a member of that stellar 2018 draft class.

But that’s not the case with Dylan Coleman, whose path to Kauffman Stadium wasn’t as direct as the one Singer, Bubic, Lynch, Kowar and Heasley, all of whom have now pitched in the majors, took.

Instead, Coleman arrived in Kansas City via San Diego, and debuted later than those five—Singer and Bubic came up in 2020, followed by Lynch and Kowar early last season, and Heasley Sept. 17, just four days before Coleman. Coleman was the player to be named later in the August 2020 trade that sent Trevor Rosenthal to the Padres for Edward Olivares and the ever-mysterious PTBNL, who was revealed to be Coleman in November 2020.

Regardless of his route to the big leagues, Coleman dazzled when he made it. So much so, in fact, it makes one wonder why the Royals didn’t draft the Missouri native and Missouri State alum themselves.

Dylan Coleman pitched superbly in his short stint with the KC Royals.

The big (6-feet-5, 230 pounds) righthander saw first action Sept. 21 against Cleveland when Manager Mike Matheny replaced Lynch with him to start the seventh with Kansas City down 4-1. A single and wild pitch were Coleman’s only blemishes that evening: he retired Austin Hedges, Myles Straw and Oscar Mercado.

Matheny waited four days to test Coleman again, calling on him in the bottom of the eighth at Detroit after Ervin Santa gave the Tigers two runs without getting an out; he inherited runners at first at second and immediately surrendered another single but struck out two and didn’t allow a run.

Coleman pitched twice in the next five days: he held Cleveland scoreless again, then gave up his first major league run to the then-Indians two games later.

He saved his best big league performance for the Royals’ season finale. Coleman started the top of the sixth with his club behind Minnesota 7-3 and immediately fanned Miguel Sano and Brent Rooker and got Nick Gordon on a liner. Matheny left him in for the seventh; he gave up a single but added another strikeout.

The scoreless two innings meant Coleman gave up a run in only one of the five games he pitched. He didn’t get a decision, a save, or even a hold, but finished with a 1.42 ERA, walked only one in 6.1 innings, and struck out seven.

Because he pitched only five times, Coleman will still be a rookie for statistical purposes next season.

But is he ready for a full year in The Show?

Dylan Coleman seems well-prepared to spend next season with the KC Royals.

Coleman’s 2021 performance, albeit brief, wasn’t surprising. He’s done well at every professional stop since signing with San Diego shortly after they drafted him in 2018’s fourth round. He pitched in Low-A and High-A that summer, struck out 29 in 22.2 innings, and posted a 3.18 ERA. His 2019 ERA across Rookie ball, Low-A and High-A the next season was again 3.18, and he went 4-3 with a 10.3 SO9.

Then, following the canceled minor league 2020 season and the winter trade that made him a Royal, Kansas City started him at Double-A Northwest Arkansas last season, where he was 1-1, 2.92 with four saves and a 13.5 SO9 in 18 games when the organization promoted him to Triple-A Omaha in early July.

Coleman gave up more runs (3.55 ERA) with the Storm Chasers, but went 4-0 with a 15.27 SO9 before the Royals called him up.

Not surprisingly for his size, Coleman’s primary pitch is a typically high 90’s four-seamer that occasionally tops 100 mph. He also throws a slider and a sinker.

Don’t be at all surprised if Coleman spends all of 2022 in Kansas City.

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Dylan Coleman had an excellent debut with the Royals last season. Look for more good things from him next year.