Reliever Tim Collins of the Kansas City Royals and his recent problems on the mound are disconcerting to say the least, but how should the team handle it? KC clearly isn’t afraid of shaking things up lately, so would the Royals be willing to demote Collins until he pulls it together? A quick look at his potential replacement makes this move considerably more tempting.
To fill the role of lefty firefighter, the Royals could do a whole lot worse than 26-year-old Storm Chaser Buddy Baumann. He was drafted by the Royals in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, and he’s been developing into a legit bullpen arm ever since. After posting a 1.43 ERA as an All-State senior in high school, Baumann has found success at every minor-league level he’s experienced, including a 2.24 ERA in his first full year pitching for Advanced-A Wilmington. It seems that those years of development are paying off now in a big way.
His current ERA after 27 2-3 innings with Omaha this year is 0.67. Baumann has struck out 24 while walking just 10 and not allowing a single home run. The currently ineffective Collins has given up eight walks in just 11 2-3 innings of relief this year. Hitters facing Baumann with runners in scoring position are hitting .182 this season, while batters facing Collins in that context are hitting .357.
The Royals are playing drastically better baseball in the past few days, so to see their marked improvement in morale ruined by an errant bullpen would be a jab to the kidneys of fans everywhere. Let’s avoid this calamity by giving Collins time in Omaha to return to form.
Despite the fact that Baumann had a bad outing today — maybe I jinxed the guy merely by writing this article — I still stand by this suggestion.