The Royals drafted Jake Kalish in the 32nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft. His older brother, Ryan, was a 9th round pick of the Red Sox in 2006. Jake, the LHP, was a redshirt senior from George Mason University and became the 43rd player drafted in the University’s history. Kalish finished his Patriots career ranking in numerous school top 10 lists. Kalish was also allowed to swing it for a while at George Mason University and did okay hitting .281 with a home run. The Royals have been aggressive with Kalish’s promotions to this point for a two reasons. The first is he was an older draft pick at 23, and second, because he could handle it.
Kalish was part of the Israel World Baseball Classic team from 2017. Israel made a surprising run through their pool and were eventually eliminated by Team Japan. Kalish had two outings for Team Israel. Both were against The Netherlands. The first was smooth as he threw 1.0 inning, gave up no runs, a single to Didi Gregorius, and was able to strike out Jonathon Schoop and Dashenko Ricardo. Kalish’s second time against The Netherlands wasn’t nearly as smooth as he went 0.2 innings and give up a couple of runs. In that tournament Kalish faced Xander Bogaerts, Jurickson Profar, Wladimir Balentien, and Didi Gregorius before being replaced.
Kalish has been a better pro pitcher so far than he was as a college pitcher. Kalish has had some early season struggles with the Naturals this spring giving up runs in 4 of his 6 outings. Entering the season, Kalish had a career 2.94 ERA across all levels of the Royals system including 3 solid starts at Omaha to finish 2017. Kalish has mostly worked out of the pen but has made quite a few starts. In 187.0 innings pitched, Kalish has allowed 172 hits, 44 walks, and has 173 Ks. That equates to 2.1 BB/9 and 8.3 K/9. The low walk rate is really impressive and should help him be successful as he continues to pitch. Kalish has a WHIP of 1.16 which is very good.
Against teams top 20 prospects Kalish has a .255 batting average against allowing zero home runs with 24 Ks to 7 BBs. Only 7 of the 38 hits he has allowed have been for extra bases. That turns into a 14.7% of batters ending an at bat in a K.
Kalish is a groundball pitcher who looks like he can pitch out of the pen for the Royals in the future. Kalish will probably finish his season in Omaha this year after starting in Northwest Arkansas.