Royals starter Brad Keller will make his season debut Thursday against the Cubs, manager Mike Matheny announced (via Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com). The right-hander has been behind schedule because of a positive coronavirus test.
The 25-year-old Keller is about to begin his third season as a member of the Royals, who grabbed him during the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft. While Rule 5 picks rarely turn into productive major leaguers, Keller has proved to be a steal for the Royals. He has totaled 2.0-plus fWAR in each of his two seasons in Kansas City, with which he has amassed 305 2/3 innings of 3.68 ERA/3.98 FIP pitching with 6.42 K/9, 3.53 BB/9 and a 52 percent groundball rate.
Getting Keller back won’t suddenly turn a 3-9 club into a a contender, but it should at least make KC more competitive. The Royals’ rotation hasn’t been particularly productive this year, but Danny Duffy and rookie Brady Singer have performed respectably over a combined six starts.