- TEAM: Kansas City Royals
- AGE: 22
- POSITION: Pitcher
- BATS: Right
- THROWS: Right
- HEIGHT: 6-foot-3
- WEIGHT: 200 lbs.
- ACQUIRED: The Kansas City Royals selected Staumont in the second round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Staumont had transferred to Azusa Pacific from Biola University in La Mirada, California.
The scouting report for Staumont begins with the fact he can reach a velocity of 100 miles per hour on his fastball with a very quick and powerful arm. More often than not he sits between 96-98 miles per hour with an almost effortless delivery.
Frankly, high velocity is just the beginning of the story regarding Staumont’s repertoire.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw him start for the Surprise Saguaros during the first game of this season’s Arizona Fall League. He dazzled with a masterful change of speeds and locations throughout his outing. In essence, he kept hitters off balance and leaning for his three innings of work. He yielded two hits and no runs. He struck out three and walked one. His second league outing was equally as good.
Staumont changes the eye level of the hitter by serving a combination of a curveball that he brings at 77-81 miles per hour and his four-seam fastball that varies from 90-98 miles per hour. Many times the same hitter faces that velocity variation. And once the hitter thinks he has the curve and the fastball fairly well-timed, Staumont sneaks in a 91 or 92 mile per hour cutter. But that happens less often in his sequencing.
It almost isn’t fair how Staumont taunts the hitter with his change of speeds and location. Every pitch has very good movement. Some pitches, specifically the lower-velocity fastballs, seem to move later than others.
Staumont repeats his delivery very well. He uses the identical over-the-head, old-school windmill windup to gain consistency on his delivery. The ball comes from the same location and at the same pace and arm speed every pitch.
Staumont pitches with confidence. He pitches in rhythm and doesn’t get rattled by a base-runner. If he gets in trouble, he can get out of trouble. That’s the sign of a pitcher that can give his team a chance to win the game.
A look at Staumont’s minor league statistical history doesn’t tell the story of the pitcher I recently scouted.
To put it mildly, Staumont was plagued with bad command and wildness in his minor league debut and in the beginning of this season, his second as a professional. Pitching primarily out of the bullpen with only a few spot starts, he yielded an average of 7.2 walks per nine innings in his rookie season at Idaho Falls and for the Royals’ Arizona Rookie League club. He also averaged 4.7 hits per nine innings, giving him a 1.325 WHIP in 40 innings.
This season, things weren’t much better until his delivery changed.
He began the year at Class-A Advanced Wilmington in the Carolina League. Again, walks were an issue, as the number actually increased to 8.3 walks per nine innings. He was promoted to Northwest Arkansas in the Texas League.
Things began to change this past August. He was converted to a starter on a more permanent basis, making 11 appearances at Northwest Arkansas, starting in them all.
The walks came down to two per game in his last four starts. The reason? Coaches worked with Staumont to change his delivery and his mechanics. He was converted to his new over-the-head delivery, where he extends his leg and separates his hands at the same time. The new delivery changed his tempo and his timing.
As I observed Staumont, I wondered exactly what role the Royals have in mind for the hard-throwing right-hander. If he remains a starter, he may be able to get a way with two very solid above-average pitches in his four-seam fastball and his curveball. It will help that he mixes in the cutter. However, it would really help him navigate a big league batting order if he includes a two-seam fastball to his arsenal. That would give him an entirely different pitch to show hitters. It could provide earlier sink and induce ground balls.
I can imagine that a pitching coach along the way will have Staumont work on a changeup. Even though his slow curve serves to vary his velocity by almost 20 miles per hour, a changeup could provide different movement and angles.
Having said all that, it seems he is doing fine right now with just his fastball, curveball and occasional slider. It isn’t broken anymore. With his new delivery, his windup and release point seem fixed. The results have been outstanding.
If he didn’t throw the highest velocity fastball among draft-eligible pitchers at Azusa Pacific, Staumont certainly was among the fastest. In his junior year prior to the Royals choosing him, Staumont started 12 games for the NCAA Division II University. He threw 68.2 innings and finished with an ERA of 3.67. He had 109 strikeouts, but walked 54.
The Royals took note of his incredible velocity and targeted him as a high-draft-caliber pitcher.
The Royals organization has to be thrilled that the change in his delivery and in his mechanics has resulted in totally different command and control results. It also showed that Staumont is eager to learn and eager to improve.
An intelligent young man, Staumont wanted to get his degree, but his selection by the Royals changed that plan. He began his course work in human biology, transferred to business and has indicated that he wants to ultimately earn his diploma.
THE FUTURE FOR STAUMONT
The young man I saw throwing an easy, effortless 98 miles per hour with a recently-incorporated over-the-head, windmill delivery knows how to pitch. He is realizing success with his new mechanics. Of course, more time is needed to perfect the changes, but he is smart and patient.
The Royals could choose to use Staumont as a rotation starter or as a potential high-velocity reliever with the capability of throwing fastballs and curveballs that deceive the hitter. His career can take him to either role.
Frnakly, I think Staumont would be most effective as a short-stint reliever. That is not to say he won’t be successful as a rotation starter, but I project his stuff to be almost unhittable once he matures into his new mechanics. I can see him being a very successful big league closer.
Josh Staumont has a lightning-quick power arm with the ability to throw an easy 100 miles per hour. Until very recently he was troubled by poor command and control.
A change in his delivery to an over-the-head windup has done wonders. He is pitching with confidence. He is in charge on the mound and is capable of getting out of any pitching trouble he may create for himself.
While his fastballs move well, his curveball is a pitch that helps him change the eye level and balance of the hitter. He also throws an occasional cutter that I would like to see him use more often.
The Royals have to continue his development and have to keep him on a path to repeating his delivery. They will ultimately have to determine his role as a starter or as a reliever, because he can probably succeed at both.
I project Staumont to be an impact pitcher for the Royals once he is settled in with his new mechanics and a greater sense of confidence in his ability. Yes, there may be some hiccups along the way, but he has the arm, the poise and the pitches to dominate. He just needs time now to refine the entire package.
STAUMONT IN A PHRASE: A fire-balling pitcher with improved command and control and an above-average, but limited, repertoire.
SCOUTING GRADE FOR STAUMONT: 55 – A member of the 25-man roster and the big league pitching staff in a role to be determined.
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