While the Kansas City Royals may not have won against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night, there was still a bright spot for the team: 25-year-old righty Dylan Coleman.
Coleman, the organization's No. 29 prospect, was acquired as a player to be named later in last summer's Trevor Rosenthal-Edward Olivares trade. After a season filled with facing Double-A and Triple-A hitters, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound hurler was tasked with slowing down the Indians' lineup. He did so, at least temporarily, pitching a scoreless seventh inning while allowing just one hit. Royals manager Mike Matheny praised Coleman after the game.
"That guy's nasty," Matheny said. "Ball jumping out of his hand, pounding the strike zone, 100 mph at you with a slider behind the count — early in the count — for a strike. Everything that we saw on video and we had heard at the other levels where he's been, we got to see firsthand. Salvy's (catcher Salvador Perez) response when we came in, too, was, 'this guy's really good.'"
Coleman's sheer "stuff" is exquisite, especially from a fastball standpoint. After battling some velocity concerns in the recent past and making subsequent adjustments to his training and throwing regimen, the former Missouri State standout can now touch just over 100 mph with that pitch. He complements it with a slider that also boasts plus potential. Coleman and everyone in his inner circle are proud of how far he's come, and it was even more special that his family was in attendance at Progressive Field to watch his debut.
"It meant a lot," Coleman said. "They'd been in town since yesterday so obviously, they were staying until I threw because they said they weren't going to miss it regardless. It's good to have them here. Just all the time they've put in and to see the time that I've put in, and kind of enjoy it together and see the benefits of putting the work in was kind of rewarding. So it was good to have them."
With a newfound heater and a solid foundation to build on, Coleman projects as a useful relief pitcher with a rocket arm. He's proven to be a strikeout machine in the minors, posting a 13.50 K/9 in Double-A and somehow raising that figure to 15.27 in Triple-A. If he can maintain command of his pitches, he'll be a valuable asset for the Royals in the future. His potential is tantalizing, and everyone caught a glimpse of that on Tuesday.