In theory, Cole Ragans should have been an exciting acquisition for the Kansas City Royals.
A 2016 first round draft pick by the Rangers, Ragans was expected to be a building block in Arlington. Instead, injuries and the pandemic held him back as he did not pitch from 2018 through 2020. He was mediocre at best when he was on a major league mound, posting a 5.32 ERA and a 1.446 WHiP in his 64.1 innings with the Rangers.
But there was still plenty of potential. Ragans still had his plus changeup and fastball. His curve was a viable third offering. While he struggled with his command at times, the pieces were there if a team could put them together. However, the Royals track record of developing pitching has not been stellar of late.
Kansas City Royals may have found top of rotation arm in Cole Ragans
It turns out that the Royals saw something with Ragans. He has been utterly dominant since heading to Kansas City, posting a 1.51 ERA and a 0.965 WHiP over his 47.2 innings, striking out 63 batters with 11 walks. Ragans was the AL Pitcher of the Month in August due to his impressive start to his Royals’ career.
It certainly appears as though the Royals were able to unlock his potential. Ragans’ fastball has been sitting in the mid 90s, touching 99 MPH late into games. He has become far more of a ground ball pitcher in Kansas City, seeing a 6.5% increase in grounders while his fly ball rate has dropped 13.9%. Likewise, his hard hit rate has decreased by 10.3% since leaving Texas.
The question now is whether or not Ragans can sustain this level of production. If he can, the Royals could have that top of the rotation arm they were looking for. Ragans and Brady Singer could be a solid duo to build a rotation around. It is just a question of sustainability.
The Kansas City Royals may have that top of the rotation arm they need. Cole Ragans may finally be living up to his potential.