Kansas City’s 9-2 season-ending loss to Cleveland 10 days ago, a defeat born of the poor pitching and hitting that tainted so much of the club’s season, capped a horrible, near-100 defeat campaign and sent the KC Royals home wondering when they might matter again.
Like so many of the club’s other 96, the last loss wasn’t the fault of any single Royal. There were nice isolated individual efforts, but it was a true club defeat.
That’s also accurately descriptive of Kansas City’s entire 2022 season. A few individual players stood out, like Vinnie Pasquantino, pitchers Brady Singer and Scott Barlow, and Bobby Witt Jr. who, although he probably won’t win the award, must be counted among American League Rookie of the Year candidates.
Some other Royals made headlines not because they were good, but instead because they weren’t. The bad seasons of three players were especially conspicuous.
Who were the three most disappointing players for the KC Royals in 2022?
Unfortunately, Kansas City’s roster is packed with players who disappointed.
Ryan O’Hearn comes immediately to mind. His .239/.290/.321 line alone rendered him disappointing but, save for his 2019 rookie effort, he’s been so for each of his five big league seasons. Disappointing, yes, but not “Top Three”-type disappointing when he did what most expected him to.
How about Nick Pratto? His defense didn’t disappoint after the Royals called him up in July (he’ll someday win a Gold Glove if he manages to stick in the majors), but his .184 bat did and forced his return to the minors in September. It’s hard, though, to call him one of the club’s three most disappointing players when he spent less than a season with it.
Brad Keller is, however, another story. Considered a key rotation component coming into the season, he performed miserably, losing 14 games for the second time in his five-year career and posting a plus-.5.00 ERA (5.09) for the second straight year. Even a move to the bullpen didn’t help—he gave up 13 runs, 25 hits and 10 walks in 17.1 innings after manager Mike Matheny bounced him from the rotation in August.
Consider Keller one of KC’s three most disappointing players.