The Royals have selected the contract of right-hander Nick Wittgren, optioning fellow righty Max Castillo in a corresponding move. The 40-man roster already had an open spot due to Hunter Dozier getting designated for assignment yesterday.
Wittgren, 32 next week, has pitched in the seven previous major league seasons for Miami, Cleveland and St. Louis. By the end of the 2020 season, he had made 198 appearances with a 3.36 ERA, 23.4% strikeout rate, 6.8% walk rate and 38.2% ground ball rate. Unfortunately, he’s fell on hard times in the next two seasons, with his ERA jumping to 5.05 in 2021 and 5.20 last year. His strikeout rate got as high as 28.6% in 2020 but then dropped to 23.6% the year after and all the way to 12.7% in 2022.
He was outrighted by the Guardians after 2021 and signed with the Cardinals for 2022 but was released in July. He signed a minor league deal with the Royals this winter and has been pitching for Triple-A Omaha this year, posting a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. He’s struck out 24.1% of opponents faced while walking 7.6% of them, getting grounders at a 42.3% clip.
That solid showing will get Wittgren another shot at the big leagues. If he can carry over any of those strong results, it would be a boost to the struggling Kansas City bullpen. The club’s relievers have a collective 4.71 ERA on the year, placing them 26th out of the 30 teams in the league.
About another month in the minors and the Royals could have retained him for 2024 via arbitration. Calling him up now, he’ll reach 6 years of service time by the end of the season.
They have used a lot of innings in their bullpen because of injured starting pitchers. I don’t think they have much of a choice. They needed another arm.
There are plenty of things to criticize the royals front office for this season. Gaming (or not) Nick Wittgren’s service time doesn’t crack the top 50.
For who wrote this, maybe you should look a little more into the stats other than just a simple ERA to know things before you write. The Royals bullpen isn’t “struggling”. Why don’t you go and look at their bullpens stats for the entire month of May and then tell me if their bullpen is “struggling”. LEARN TO WRITE!!!
You have a good amount of grammatical errors in your post, for someone telling another to learn how to write. Now, just breathe. It’s all going to be okay, except for the Royals season.
Hopefully Wittgren will perform better for the Royals than he did with the Cardinals last season. He was so awful for the Cardinals that they sent him away before the All Star break.
If he continues to pitch well, it gives the Royals another trade chip
The difference is JDC isn’t a writer, but the audience! ALSO, JDC has a good point. The Royals bullpen looks decent and actually pretty deep. Teams should be bidding on many of them.
Perhaps the Royals are doing better this month, but the fact remains that only 4 teams have a worse season bullpen ERA.
The Royals 40 man did not have an open spot after Dozier got waived. He was waived to make room for Nicky Lopez.