The KC Royals should start the 2022 campaign with some extra pitchers.
With the plan to limit pitching staffs to 13 members delayed until May, Kansas City can help offset the effects of the truncated spring training schedule by carrying extra hurlers through April.
Currently in camp are several pitchers the Royals can choose from to supplement their baker’s dozen of apparent locks—rotation pieces Brad Keller, Brady Singer, Carlos Hernandez, Kris Bubic and, of course, recently reacquired Zack Greinke, rotation candidate and potential swingman Daniel Lynch, and seemingly secure relievers Scott Barlow, Josh Staumont, Dylan Coleman, Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz, and newcomers Amir Garrett and Taylor Clarke.
Despite his rough introduction to the majors last season—0-6 with an 11.27 ERA and a troublesome 5.99 BB9 over nine games—the Royals should think about Jackson Kowar for an extra spot. His excellent 9-4, 3.46 effort at Triple-A Omaha alone warrants another shot at the big leagues. He’s pitched twice this spring, striking out four in two inning his first time out and throwing a clean inning Friday before Texas tagged him for three runs in his second frame.
The Royals should take Kowar with them when they break camp. He needs another taste of the majors and more time with the major league staff, and can return to the minors if he struggles again.
Jon Heasley, currently ranked by MLB Pipeline as Kansas City’s 10th best prospect and, like Kowar a member of Kansas City’s vaunted pitching-rich 2018 amateur draft class who made his big league debut in 2021, should also make the club’s expanded roster. He was 1-1, 4.91 in three late season appearances.
Collin Snider, who hasn’t allowed a run in three outings this spring and was 5-3 with three saves in 48 games between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and Jose Cuas, impressive in the minors last season and in the Cactus League so far this spring, is also worthy of consideration, but spots in Triple-A might be more likely.