We have hit the one month mark of the Major League season and it has been an eventful one. Charlie Blackmon is hitting above .400, Shane Bieber is striking out 11 batters per start, Fernando Tatis Jr. is raking and ripping the old-school “unwritten rules” to shreds, the Baltimore Orioles are a playoff contender, and my personal favorite, Josh Staumont is making myself and even other team’s announcers hot and heavy over his stuff.
Staumont is a curious story. He was drafted by the Royals with the 64th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft after a career with two small Christian colleges, Biola University (just over 4,000 undergrads) and Azusa Pacific University (just over 5,000 undergrads). While I had never heard of either of these universities before looking into this, I have a fun fact for you Chiefs fans: Christian Okoye went to Azusa Pacific! Who knew that there would be two Kansas City sporting icons to come from one small private college in California?
Staumont played in the Royals’ minor league system from 2015 to 2019. In the minors, he played in 146 games, pitched 413.2 innings and had a lowly 4.20 ERA. Not quite the 0.79 ERA he has through 12 games this season!
Nevertheless, Staumont made it to the majors last season and had his major league debut on July 25th, pitching scoreless 11th and 12th innings against the Cleveland Indians. Over the rest of the season, he had many solid games, including two other two-inning scoreless outings on August 23rd vs. Cleveland and August 29th vs. Oakland, but he also fell victim to a couple poor outings, such as a 0.1 IP, 2 ER outing on July 29th vs. Toronto and a 0.2 IP, 2 ER outing on September 5th vs. Detroit. After that September 5th game, Staumont finished the season with four scoreless outings, getting his final season ERA down from 4.41 to 3.72. Still, he had a lot more to offer for the future with how good his stuff was.
Staumont has shown what he can do in the recent weeks since the 2020 season started. According to StatCast, Staumont has thrown the fastest pitch from a Royal in the StatCast era at 102.2 MPH and the three fastest pitches in the MLB this season. In total, he has thrown 21 100+ MPH pitches, 10 101+ MPH pitches and two 102+ MPH pitches. Pretty remarkable fastball there, right? Just wait until you see his curveball.
Staumont’s curveball has been one of the most devastating in all of baseball. According to StatCast, Staumont’s curveball has an average velocity of 82.3 MPH, 55.5 inches of vertical movement and 9.4 inches of horizontal movement. This has helped get Staumont a 68.2% Whiff % (or “swing-and-miss %”, if you prefer to keep it simpler but with a longer name) and a .111 batting average on curveballs. That is about as good as it gets.
When you have a 102 MPH fastball and a curveball of that caliber, you might be a good pitcher and you will likely get some swings and misses. According to StatCast, Staumont has a 99th-percentile Strikeout %, 98th-percentile Expected Batting Average (xBA), 97th-percentile Whiff %, 95th-percentile Expected Slugging (xSLG), 90th-percentile Expected Earned Run Average (xERA) and 89th-percentile Expected Weighted On-Base Average (xwOBA). Staumont also has 18.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (2nd among pitchers with 10+ innings pitched) and his 0.79 ERA makes him one of 27 pitchers with 10+ innings pitched to have a sub-1.00 ERA.
Okay, so Staumont is a Royals pitcher who is destroying everyone with filth strong enough to get big hype from Cubs commentators and two of the largest baseball social media presences, Pitching Ninja and Jomboy, but maybe you need a bit more than just great pitching for someone to become your favorite baseball player. That’s fine, how about style?
If you’ve seen Staumont, you know he has style. He has the most glorious man-bun to ever reach professional sports. Just look at this thing! How can you not root for a man that can watch out on the field in a man-bun and dominate the competition? If I had to choose between watching man-bun Staumont throw a 102 heater followed by a knee-shattering curveball and Patrick Mahomes throw a 70 air-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill, it would actually be a decision I’d have to consider about for at least a moment. You know that is REALLY saying something.
If you have any interest at all in watching the Royals, even for a couple innings a night, just keep an eye on your Twitter timeline or preferred sports app and watch out for whenever Staumont is pitcher. A player of this caliber deserves our upmost attention and admiration, especially in a wonderful Midwestern city like Kansas City. I, for one, welcome our new man-bunned overlord. Make Josh Staumont your favorite baseball player today and enjoy the ride.
Photo Credits – Ed Zurga / Getty Images