No not the barbecue which has come to define Kansas City. Today, we are talking about the smoke coming out of the arms of relievers for the hometown Royals. The Kansas City Royals have had another rough and disappointing season. A season which has received horrific starting pitching, injuries, severe regression from the likes of Eric Hosmer, and farm system that lacks the same talent as a few years ago. However, there have been some bright spots including another solid offensive campaign for Billy Butler, the improvement of Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar, and of course 2012 Baseball America minor league player of the year in Wil Myers. However, as I alluded to earlier, one of the nicest surprises has been its bullpen. Equipped with some of the world's hardest throwers, the Royals have the second highest average fastball velocity in the entire league (93.9 mph compared to Seattle's 94.0). To start, Kelvin Herrera has the hardest average fastball in the majors, averaging 98.6 mph and dusts the average Aroldis Chapman by nearly a whole mph (Example: Watch what he does to potential MVP Miguel Cabrera
). Closer Greg Holland averages 96.1 mph and reliever Aaron Crow throws an average of 94.6. Even diminutive 5'7" southpaw Tim Collins averages an above average fastball of 93.2 mph. Even recent call up Jeremy Jeffress regularly touches the high 90's.
So what does these numbers mean? Actually not much other than that this proves that the Royals have some pretty talented arms. These arms have combined for the fourth best ERA, fifth best FIP, third best left on base percentage, third lowest HR/9 rate. However, as is the case with most young pitchers that light up the radar guns, they have trouble finding the strike zone. Royals arms have combined for tenth worst BB% in the league and have a below average WHIP. So if they are this good with below average command, imagine how good they can be if this part of their game is refined. Maybe with the some coaching and further developmental growth, the Kansas City bullpen can go from among the best to the best in all of baseball