9 2021 KC Royals are gone, but how are they doing?

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports) /

Two pitchers who were with the KC Royals last year now toil on the farm.

It’s been almost 10 years since Kansas City used its first pick of the 2012 draft on righthanded pitcher Kyle Zimmer. Little did the Royals know Zimmer would never meet expectations.

Zimmer was inconsistent and hampered by injuries during the six full seasons he spent in the minors before the Royals gave him his first big league shot in 2019. He appeared 15 times for the club that year but gave up 22 runs in 18.1 innings.

He was much better, though, in 2020 when he posted a 16-game 1.57 ERA and claimed his first major league win, and appeared to be finally reaching his potential when he went 4-0 with a 3.57 ERA in the first half of last season.

The second half was a far different story. Opponents battered him for 18 runs—15 of them earned for a 7.23 ERA—in 18.2 innings.

He finished the year 4-1, 4.83, but it wasn’t good enough for Kansas City. As part of their late-November moves to set the 40-man roster for Rule 5 draft purposes, the Royals DFA’d and then released him.

Zimmer, however, caught on with Cincinnati during spring training. He’s now pitching for the Reds’ Louisville Triple-A affiliate and, working exclusively in relief, is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA and nine walks in six innings.

Scott Blewett spent seven years in the Royals’ organization but didn’t get to Kansas City until 2020, when he pitched in two games and struck out four and gave up a pair of runs in three innings. The Royals used him three times last season; he fanned another four and allowed only a run in five frames.

Blewett became a free agent after the season and signed with the White Sox earlier this month. He’s 0-0, 5.40 in three starts for Birmingham, Chicago’s Double-A club.

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Nine players left the Royals after last season. One retired, others have found new teams, and some are looking for new clubs.