Cole Ragans takes the mound for the Royals tonight against the Pirates after a dazzling two-hit, 11-strikeout masterpiece against the Athletics. He’s been spectacular since coming to Kansas City as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade, showing promise of being the foundation of next year’s rotation.
Make no mistake, the 6’4″ lefty has been one of MLB’s best pitchers over the last month. If he maintains this level of performance over the next several weeks, Kansas City’s outlook looks much different heading into next season.
Just maybe, Ragans is the hero the Royals’ pitching staff needs.
Cole Ragans’ Dominant Stretch
The list of left-handers that throw as hard as Ragans is a short one, and it’s no wonder he’s got Royals fans so excited.
He struck out 11 batters in his last start, the second time he’s accomplished that feat with the Royals, and his advanced numbers suggest this stretch is no fluke.
Ragans has a 3.24 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), a mark that would rank eighth-best in all of baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. He’s posted a FIP of 3.27 or lower in five of his six starts with Kansas City, and his statistical profile showcases a well-rounded pitcher.
If he can maintain this level, he could open next season as the first or second pitcher in the rotation alongside Brady Singer. That’s a fantastic development for an organization sorrowfully lacking in quality pitching, so fans should be locked in on Ragans’ starts for the rest of the season.
He was primarily a reliever for the Rangers this year, though the Royals clearly saw something that indicated he could succeed as a starter. With two or fewer walks in five of his six outings, Ragans’ impressive command hasn’t faltered despite his high strikeout totals either.
It’s been a lost season for Kansas City, but Ragans can be a saving grace with Bobby Witt Jr. to give fans hope going into 2024. At worst, his acquisition provides a blueprint the Royals can follow this offseason: find cost-controlled players you can trade at the deadline to acquire promising youngsters.
Fingers crossed Ragans is here to stay, as he’s been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing year.
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