A rookie pitcher needs to be much better for the KC Royals this month
The case rookie Royals reliever James McArthur is making for a spot in next season's Kansas City bullpen isn't strong.
In fact, it's pretty weak, and one McArthur, who came to the organization in the early season trade with the Cubs that sent minor league outfielder Junior Marin to Chicago, needs to strengthen considerably if he wants to see Kauffman Stadium in 2024.
His numbers tell the tale. McArthur, who reported to Triple-A Omaha immediately after the trade and has been called up to Kansas City four times, has given up 12 runs in 9.2 innings spread over eight appearances for the Royals, and opponents are hitting him at a dangerous .375 clip. And the dark memory of his June 28 big league debut, a one-inning stint against Cleveland during which he faced 10 Guardians and gave up seven runs on six hits, is unfortunately still fresh.
Disregarding that game as a possible outlier doesn't much change the McArthur equation — even though he held the Red Sox scoreless in the 1.2 innings he faced them Sunday, he's still burdened by an ugly 11.17 ERA.
And giving this season's opponents too many runs isn't a flaw limited to his time in Kansas City. He yielded 13 runs in 16 innings for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate before Chicago shipped him off to the Royals,
Encouraging and commendable, however, is McArthur's 3.98 ERA at Omaha. But that's against minor league hitters; assuming he stays on KC's active roster the rest of the season, he risks beginning next season back in Omaha if his big league numbers don't get better.