KC Royals play the waiting game (again) with Kyle Wright

The newly acquired hurler is not the first injured pitcher the Royals have gambled on.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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The Mike Minor reclamation project

Medlen's resume is not an ideal match for Kyle Wright, but the Royals have another alum who is a better fit. Mike Minor was primarily a starter for the Braves from 2010-14, and while he was more prolific and productive than Wright overall, he also had one truly fantastic season for the Braves. In 2013, he went 13-9 with a 3.21 ERA in 32 starts, compiling 204.2 innings pitched, 181 strikeouts, and 1.090 WHIP.

Minor was slowed by shoulder pain the following season, but unlike Wright, he pitched through the season. This turned out to be a mistake. Minor's production dipped and he underwent surgery for a torn labrum early in 2015, costing him the season. The Royals signed him the following offseason, hoping he would follow Medlen's lead and return later that same season to help them defend their championship. That wasn't how it played out.

Suffering from lingering discomfort in his shoulder, Minor missed all of 2016, and the Royals chose to play it safer and use him out of the bullpen in 2017. Minor was up for the challenge, going 6-6 with a 2.55 ERA in 77.2 innings over 65 games. He struck out 88 with a 1.017 WHIP and provided an anchor for a Royals bullpen in transition. Unfortunately, a competitive Royals team fell short of the postseason.

Minor left for Texas in 2018, wanting to start again, and the Royals began their rebuild. To Minor's credit, he succeeded in his second tour as a starter, finishing eighth in the AL Cy Young race and reaching his first All-Star Game in 2019, and he even ended up back in Kansas City in 2021.

Ideally, Wright will exhibit a combination of Medlen's and Minor's comebacks. He won't be available as quickly as Medlen, but if he provides quality pitching for a relevant Royals team, everyone will be happy. Especially if he can match Minor's peak 2019 season in 2025 and beyond.

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