The Royals have already received tantalizing performances from flam throwing rookie reliever Jeremy Jeffress, "Tiny" Tim Collins, and starter turned lights-out reliever Aaron Crow. However with their bullpen struggling recently, they've decided to bring up yet another of their highly touted relief arms. This time it's Omaha closer Louis Coleman who is getting the call.
In my preseason Top-15 Royals Prospect List, I had Jeffress at #9, Collins at #10, and Crow at #12. Coleman comes in just behind that group at #13 and along with Nathan Adcock, gives the team a total of five rookie relievers on the same unit.
In order to make room for Coleman on the active roster, the team has optioned Kanekoa Texeira to Omaha. That the team had opted to carry both Sean O'Sullivan and Texeira, who both profile as long-men, seemed odd to me at the beginning of the season, so the fact that they've decided to demote either comes as little surprise. For his part Texeira had posted a decent 4.47 FIP despite not having struck out a single batter in his 6+ innings of work.
By promoting Coleman, the team now features four of my Top-15 and that number only figures to increase as the season advances. The demotion of Texeira also means that Jeffress is now the third most senior member of the bullpen staff. A fact that is at once both amusing and refreshing. The Royals bullpen in 2010 was atrocious but the frequently phenomenal performances of the rookies has given the team hope for a quick turn around. Indeed, despite recent struggles, the unit could soon be one of the best in the game.
For his part, Coleman works in the 91-93mph range with his fastball out of a rather extreme 3/4 slot which makes it a particularly tough pitch for righties. His primary off-speed offering is a slider at 80-82 which is also very tough on righties given his delivery, and a changeup that he'll use primarily against left handers. He remind me in some ways of a less extreme Pat Neshek, or a better version of the Indians Joe Smith, which I note in my Prospect Profile of him from this spring. Make sure to read that for more detailed information on Coleman.
Whether he'll ultimately prove to be as dominant as Neshek was when healthy, or whether he's more of a righty specialist like Smith is remains to be seen, but I think it's more of the former and less of the latter. Either way, he should be yet another useful piece for Manager Ned Yost to mix in during the late innings.