While there hasn’t been much news about free agent signings due to the ongoing MLB lockout, teams are still making minor league deals with players. The KC Royals signed a few before the lockout began, but besides acquiring infielder Robbie Glendinning two weeks ago, they haven’t seen much recent action in the signing department.
Now, however, the Royals have inked pitcher Brad Peacock, who can start and relieve, and also announced the signing of starter Daniel Mengden (Twitter link).
Peacock spent the majority of the 2021 season in Cleveland’s minor league system. With Columbus, Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, he went 0-4 with a 7.68 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 34 innings before being dealt to the Red Sox. He gave up three runs in two innings for Boston’s Triple-A club and lasted just 5.1 innings in one start for the Red Sox, allowing nine runs.
Mengden spent last season overseas with the KBO’s Kia Tigers, where he went 8-3 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Daniel Mengden’s work before signing his contract with the KC Royals.
Long before Mengden, 29, pitched for KIA, he was Houston’s fourth round pick in 2014’s amateur draft. He had a 1.16 ERA with the Class A Quad Cities River Bandits (now the Royals’ High-A affiliate) before being promoted. In July 2015, however, the Astros dealt Mengden and Jacob Nottingham to Oakland for Scott Kazmir.
Mengden quickly rose through the ranks in the Oakland system. In 2016, he was a combined 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA and 1.00 WHIP across Double-A and Triple-A when he was promoted to the A’s in June.
While Mengden’s first month with Oakland was fine—he had a 2.81 ERA and 26 strikeouts through four starts—he began to falter, finishing out the season with a 2-9 record and 6.50 ERA in 14 starts. After spending the majority of 2017 in the minors, Mengden rebounded in 2018, notching a 7-6 record and 4.05 ERA with the A’s.
Mengden regressed in 2019 with a 4.83 ERA in 59.2 innings. Then, during the offseason, he underwent two intestinal surgeries and arthroscopic elbow surgery and the A’s DFA’d him after he pitched just 12.1 innings for them in 2020. From there he signed with Kia, where he had an overall 17-20 record, 4.64 ERA, 224 strikeouts, and a 1.31 WHIP in 302.2 innings.
How was Brad Peacock faring before he signed his deal with the KC Royals?
Peacock, 34, had seen success before the last two seasons. He was signed by the Nationals out of college and spent four years in the minors before making his major league debut in 2011 when he had an 0.75 ERA and four strikeouts in 12 innings for the Nats.
That December, Oakland acquired Peacock, along with Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, and A.J. Cole from Washington for Gio Gonzalez. Peacock spent all of 2012 in Triple-A and, after the season, was traded to the Astros with Max Stassi and Chris Carter for Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez.
Peacock began 2013 in Triple-A before the Astros called him up. He was 9-17 with a 4.76 ERA for Houston from 2013-2016. In 2017, Peacock had a big taste of success when he went 13-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 132 innings, then notched a 2.45 ERA and eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings to help the Astros to a World Series title.
In 2018, Peacock stayed in the bullpen and posted a 3.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 61 appearances. And in 2019, he made a splash in a start against the Royals, striking out a career-high 12 in seven innings in a 9-0 victory.
After 2020, Peacock became a free agent and signed with Cleveland before his brief stint in Boston. He has an overall 10-year major league record of 34-31, a 4.11 ERA, and 590 strikeouts in 560 innings.
What will pitchers Daniel Mengden and Brad Peacock bring to the KC Royals?
According to BaseballSavant, Mengden relies mainly on his four-seam fastball, tossing it 50.2% of the time in 2020. However, when examining his better 2018 numbers, he threw the pitch 39.8% of the time while also getting outs with his slider, sinker, changeup, curveball, and cutter.
One thing to note is that Mengden has become overly reliant on his four-seamer and his cutter which have increased in usage in a three-year span. In that same time, his use of the sinker decreased dramatically. To get back to pitching successfully, he will need to spread out his changeup and curveball usage. He’ll also needs to bring back his slider and increase use of his sinker, both of which he’s thrown successfully in the past.
Peacock favors his slider and sinker over his four-seamer, changeup, and curveball, so much so that he has done the exact opposite of Mengden by increasing his slider and sinker usage while cutting back on the four-seamer.
Mengden and Peacock can be viewed as finesse pitchers, with their fastballs recently topping off around 90 mph. If they start this season in the minors, each can bring a veteran presence to a young, upcoming group of pitchers. And if they perform well enough in the minors, look for them to earn spots in the Kansas City bullpen or perhaps make the starting rotation.
The Royals have signed two veteran right-handed pitchers.