3 pitchers who need great springs to make the KC Royals

They're good, but these hurlers must be especially so in spring camp.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Will Jonathan Bowlan get a chance to prove himself?

In 2019, his first full season of pro ball, Bowlan looked exactly like the top-shelf starter the Royals believed he could be when they drafted him the year before. In 26 games split evenly between Lexington and Carolina, then the club's Class A affiliates, he went 11-5 with a 3.14 ERA, a 9.25 K/9, and a nifty 1.42 BB/9. The thought of Bowlan making it to the majors after another couple of seasons in the minors didn't seem unreasonable.

But after pitching only at Kansas City's Alternate Training Site during the pandemic season, misfortune struck Bowlan in 2021 when an elbow issue required Tommy John Surgery; he missed almost all of that season, pitched only 17 times the next and, working first at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and then Triple-A Omaha last year, went 7-11, 5.91 in 24 appearances. To say he hasn't been quite the same since his TJS states the obvious.

But the Royals still see much good in Bowlan — he wouldn't be on the 40-man roster if they didn't — and he'll certainly get his share of Cactus League work and find himself under the proverbial microscope when he does.

Can he now find his way back to Kansas City, where last September he started and lost the only big league game he's appeared in? Considering Picollo's retooling of the club's pitching corps, the task won't be easy, and the odds may not be in his favor. That makes Bowlan's Cactus League performance more critical; he'll need a stellar effort.

How's he doing? In 3.1 innings, he's given up two runs, five hits and two walks, and fanned two. Although he's 2-0, opposing batters are hitting .385 against him and he has a 2.10 WHIP.

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