Jackson Kowar is back as a reliever, writes Jaylon Thompson.
“This first month in Triple-A has been helpful from that standpoint,” Kowar said. (There is) little reliever stuff like being ready every day and coming in with runners on. Little stuff you don’t really think about as a starter. Different roles like coming in earlier in games or later. Really happy I got a sense of the whole bullpen. I think it was really helpful for me.”
Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter writes about what to expect from Kowar.
The 3.88 point difference between his ERA and FIP (E-F) is the highest difference for any Storm Chasers pitcher this year with 10 or more innings of work, as of May 16th. His xFIP of 4.77 is a little bit higher than his FIP, but it’s a heck of a lot more respectable than his ERA. Additionally, his xFIP is still better than Heasley’s (5.30) and Castillo’s (6.57).
A big reason for that positive FIP difference is that Kowar can still strike batters out, as evidenced by his 10.89 K/9 and 24.3 percent K rate. Kowar has always demonstrated excellent pitch quality, it’s just been the control and command that have been the issue, both at the Major and Minor League level.
David Lesky at Inside the Crown writes about how Carlos Hernandez has looked lately.
For the year, Hernandez now has a 4.09 ERA with a 3.62 FIP, but the numbers I’m intrigued by are the 30.1 percent strikeout rate and the 8.6 percent walk rate. When people look back on the Rays and the beginning of them using the opener, Ryne Stanek’s name comes up a lot. He was a guy who really benefited from the uncertainty of when he might pitch but also was helped quite a bit by actually starting games. I wonder a little bit if Hernandez might not be that guy. He’s fully transitioned into being a reliever, but he’s still got the starter in him, so maybe that extra prep time helps him.
Jim Bowden at The Athletic lists some under-the-radar prospects he’s hearing about, like Royals pitcher Steven Zobac.
Zobac, a former two-way player at Cal, was drafted in the fourth round last year. It’s only his second year as a pitcher and he already has three above-average pitches, including a fastball, slider and changeup. He profiles as a back of the bullpen, high-leverage reliever.
Royals GM J.J. Picollo: “Really starting to come into his own. High-upside pitcher who may spend some time at lower levels early but should move quick after that. The scouting department did a good job with him.”
Mark Feinsand writes about players receiving trade buzz already this summer.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Royals
Bullpen depth is king during trade season, and despite a couple of recent hiccups, Chapman’s 2023 resurgence figures to make him a popular target this summer. The 35-year-old lefty is striking out 14.6 batters per nine innings, a big jump from his 10.7 mark a year ago.
The Royals make a trade!
Source: The Orioles are acquiring infielder Robbie Glendinning from the Royals. He will report to Triple-A.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) May 18, 2023
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