Overreaction or reality: Brad Keller is back.
If there is any spring training performance I want to believe in the most, it is pitcher Brad Keller's. Keller improved in many ways from the 2021 campaign, but he still has the seventh-highest ERA among pitchers who threw 200-plus innings in the past two seasons. He struggled mightily at points in 2022 and ended the season 6-14 with a 5.09 ERA. Keller was candid about his struggles the last two seasons, which relegated him to the bullpen late last season.
""I didn't have great success the last two years. Something's got to change. I needed to venture out of my comfort zone, figure out what's going on, what's going to allow me to get better. I couldn't keep doing the same stuff. And I'm happy with what I landed on.""- Brad Keller
Fans often hear the phrase "best shape of his life" during spring training. But MLB.com's Anne Rogers noted that "Keller showed up to camp slimmer and stronger" after he worked with Driveline Baseball this offseason. The result? A new-look curveball and revamped arsenal that pitching coach Brian Sweeney described as "impressive" ahead of spring training.
As of March 10, Keller has been impressive against opposing batters this spring. He has struck out 10 batters, won two starts, and recorded a 3.52 ERA. By every metric, this is the best spring training of Keller's career, and he is again pushing for a rotational role.
""I feel like it's helped me out a lot this spring so far. Not only with the pitches, but the command of everything has gotten a lot tighter. I feel like that's how I used to pitch, just moving fast and pounding the zone. So, it's been cool to get back to that and feel that again.""- Brad Keller
Keller talks about returning to a certain feeling or getting back to something. That return could be his 2018-2020 form, where Keller went 21-23 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Keller looked like a solid future arm for the Royals not long ago. If the player believes in himself, then the coaches do, then the fans should have some faith.