Mengden is now in position to make his first MLB appearance in two years. The Texas A&M product pitched in the majors with the A’s each season from 2016-20, starting 48 of his 60 outings. Not a particularly hard thrower, Mengden rarely missed many bats but looked like a viable back-of-the-rotation arm at times based on the strength of his control. He posted a 3.80 ERA through 158 2/3 innings from 2017-18, and while the A’s pitcher-friendly home ballpark and excellent team defenses no doubt aided him, Mengden walked a meager 5.4% of batters faced during that stretch.
By 2019, however, Mengden began to struggle with his control. Oakland outrighted him off the roster in 2020, and he signed on with the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization last winter. He proved a solid pickup, tossing 120 frames of 3.60 ERA ball with a 20.7% strikeout rate and a 7% walk percentage for the Gwangju-based club. Mengden returned to the United States this past offseason, inking a minors pact with Kansas City in March.
The 29-year-old has spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with Triple-A Omaha. He’s worked almost exclusively as a starter, opening 11 of his 12 outings. Mengden has a 5.47 ERA across 52 2/3 frames for the Storm Chasers, posting worse than average strikeout and walk numbers (21.3% and 12.6%, respectively) while struggling with home runs. Nevertheless, Kansas City will give him another crack in the majors, presumably as a multi-inning relief option for skipper Mike Matheny.