Is The Royals’ Josh Staumont Ticketed For A Lights Out Reliever Role Or A Washout In Waiting?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Royals’ Josh Staumont has impressive strikeout stuff, as the former second round draft pick has racked up 132 K over 119.0 IP.  That’s a number that’s going to open your eye and make you pay attention, as does this type of scouting report courtesy of MLB.com:

Staumont’s fastball is difficult to hit and difficult to control. He can maintain a 93-97 mph four-seam fastball and reach 99 as a starter, has been clocked as high as 102 as a reliever and has nice riding life. He also can run a two-seamer into the upper 90s with heavy sink but has even more trouble keeping that version in the strike zone.  His low-80s curveball has power and depth, giving Staumont a second pitch that misses bats and can be difficult to harness, and he also mixes in a changeup with splitter action.

While the pure stuff sounds impressive, can you follow the common trend in that report?  Control…  Control…  Control…  That’s the big story, and one that will ultimately ticket Staumont to the bullpen in short order.

He did show some control in his last start (Monday), with 1 BB over 6.0 IP, but putting any stock in that number would be misguided.  Keep in mind that he has 94 BB over 119.0 IP this season, and 230 BB over 282.1 IP over his minor league career.  Those are scary numbers, and if he can’t show significant improvement the team is going to be forced to make the move.

Further complicating matters is that he hasn’t shown much in the way of groundballs, with a 0.90 GO/AO overall (and a 1.66 HR/9 at Triple-A).  Sure it’s been bloated by pitching in the Pacific Coast League, but that’s not enough of an excuse.

From a pure stuff standpoint he has it, but the other numbers simply don’t translate.  There’s the impulse to dub him a closer of the future, but is there any guarantee that he can harness the stuff even in a short stint?  Walks and home run concerns hardly make up an elite closer.

At this point, unless he can show that Monday’s outing was no aberration he ultimately could be a complete non-factor whether as a starter or reliever.

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs

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