For the second straight season, right-hander Kevin McCarthy pitched at three levels with the KC Royals. However this season, he will finish the season in the big leagues. That, and his minor league numbers, earned him my Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Year award.
KMac started his 2016 season back where his 2015 season ended: with Double-A NW Arkansas. In 22 relief appearances, he had a 3.12 ERA and converted 11-of-14 save opportunities. In 34.2 innings, opponents hit just .208 against him while striking out 29 times (compared to just eight walks). He only allowed runs in five appearances and had a streak of ten straight scoreless outings (totaling 15.2 innings) that ended in his final appearance with the Naturals (on June 13th).
Like most of his fellow Naturals relievers who were promoted to Triple-A Omaha, he struggled (11.57 ERA in five June games with three home runs allowed). Unlike the others, KMac rebounded and thrived with the Storm Chasers.
In July, he had a 2.35 ERA in nine games (15.1 innings), where he allowed runs in four games (seven runs, four earned). Then KMac strung together another scoreless streak (this time of eight games that totaled 9.1 innings) before allowing two runs (one earned) on August 22nd. After allowing three runs on July 26th, that was the only game he allowed runs before being called up to the big leagues when Omaha’s season came to an end on Labor Day (16.1IP, 10H, 2R, ER, 6BB, 14K). He also did not allow a home run in his final 16 appearances.
In nine games so far in the big leagues, he has allowed runs in three of them. Twice KMac has entered the game in the last week and stranded the bases loaded (I was there in Cleveland last Tuesday night). He has pitched in back-to-back games three times in his short stint and picked up his first big league victory on September 10th (his second appearance).
Congrats to Kevin and continued success in KC!