The Kansas City Royals have filled Jonathan Broxton's role in the bullpen with another live arm the team eventually hopes will develop with former Brewers prospect Jeremy Jeffress. As part of the haul in the trade of Zach Greinke to Milwaukee, Jeffress has touched down for just 26 innings in the last three seasons with the Brewers and Royals, but now is his chance to remain a permanent fixture?
But what exactly does Jeffresss offer? Control issues so far. Last season, Jeffress walked 11 batters in 15 innings before being sent back to AAA Omaha where his WHIP of 1.875 showed it wasn't just about the jump to the Major Leagues. Instead, Jeffress was battling command all season long.
There is a reason, however, that Jeffress was the Brewers first round choice in 2006 right out of high school with an electric arm that can reach 102 on the radar gun. His first three years in the minors, he was exclusively a starter, but the Brewers decided to turn him into a force out of the pen in 2010. In 2011, The Royals turned him back into a starter -- part-time, at least -- before placing him back in the bullpen in 2012 with Omaha and now with KC.
So far, Jeffress is 5-4 with a 4.97 ERA in AAA Omaha in 37 appearances. It will be interesting to see if Jeffress ever finds some consistency when his treatment becomes consistent. If the team would give him a chance to stick at one level in one role for an entire year and develop from that base, perhaps they'll find him learning to develop that pure ability with proper coaching and a secure structure.