Spring training just started last Friday for the KC Royals, but Josh Staumont is already turning heads with his outings so far.
There’s been a lot of hype building for Josh Staumont and Kansas City Royals fans were elated when he finally got called up last season. He’ll look to make a run at the bullpen for the Opening Day roster and so far, he’s done well in the two outings he’s pitched for the Royals in spring training.
Staumont has pitched two innings and hasn’t surrendered a hit or a run while striking out four batters. He’s looking the part of a dominant pitcher, but of course, it’s still too early to tell what role he’ll have for the Royals in 2020, as he’s thrown just two innings of work and there’s still quite a ways to go before the regular season commences.
The 26-year-old righty has been throwing flamethrowers thus far and – according to Alec Lewis of The Athletic – was able to hit 102 mph in his outing on Friday.
The Royals have some work to do with their bullpen, especially if they want to improve from a season ago when their bullpen ranked among one of the worst in Major League Baseball. As KC Kingdom’s own Cody Rickman wrote a few weeks ago, Staumont could make a nice middle reliever or even be an opener if the Royals decided to try that strategy.
Staumont had starting experience in the minor leagues, but did not make a big league start in 2019. He’s mostly been used as a reliever during his time with AAA Omaha in 2018 and 2019 and has fared quite nicely there and with the Royals not really having many open spots in the rotation, Staumont appears to be bullpen bound for 2020 – assuming he does indeed make the roster.
Staumont made his MLB debut last season for Kansas City, appearing in 16 games and throwing 19.1 innings while posting a 3.72 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. The Royals had nothing to lose by calling him up and for the most part – He did well, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares this spring.
Shawn Bauman of Kings of Kauffman urged Royals fans to calm down about Staumont, writing,
"Reviewing the last few seasons of minor league action and a handful of games with the KC Royals tells us that Staumont still has much to prove, however. The live arm and touching triple digits every once in a while has always been there. Throwing strikes and making batters miss hitting the fastball has been harder for him to do."
Obviously there’s still many games left to be played before the wins and losses actually count, so Josh Staumont still has to prove himself this spring just like everybody else in Surprise. Still – It’s exciting to see a pitcher throwing downright flames and dominating batters, even if it is two games into spring training.
What are your thoughts on Josh Staumont? Should fans be excited for him or should we taper our expectations, or both?