4 Triple-A hurlers the KC Royals might try in second half

(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Daniel Mengden
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

This pitcher was up with the KC Royals earlier this year. He might return.

Including 2022, Daniel Mengden’s professional pitching life spans nine years. He’s worked at every minor league level and in the majors, and even spent a season in South Korea with the KBO’s Kia Tigers.

Now, he’s an Omaha Storm Chaser, seeking at 29 the sustained big league success that has eluded him.

The righthander debuted with Oakland in 2016 but, after going 2-9 with a 6.50 ERA and having foot surgery, began his 2017 campaign in the minors. He made it back to Oakland that year and went 3-2, 3.14, then was 7-6, 4.05 for the A’s in a 2018 season split between the majors and minors.

Another year working in the majors and minors followed with Mengden going 5-2, 4.83 in 13 games (nine starts) before elbow surgery robbed him of much of the 2020 season. Oakland DFA’d him in September, he became a free agent after refusing an outright assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas, and took his skills to the KBO. Mengden fared well there (8-3 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts), but chose to return home and signed with the Royals shortly before the lockout ended in March.

And before long, he was back in the majors—Kansas City summoned him in mid-June when Joel Payamps went on the Injured List. He saved a game and surrendered only one run in the four appearances (4.1 innings) he made before returning to Omaha July 2.

Mengden is 5-4 in 15 Triple-A games—all but one a start—and although his ERA is 5.67, he could be worth another big league look before KC determines his future with the organization.

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