Signing Kris Medlen is certainly risky, considering he has underwent Tommy John Surgery twice so far in his brief five year career. But with great risk, there also comes the potential of this move heavily paying off for the Royals.
When healthy, Medlen has shown flashes of someone who could one day claim a Cy Young Award. After missing the entire 2011 season due to Tommy John Surgery, Medlen gained resurgence when he came back to pitch in 2012.
After spending most of the 2012 season as a middle reliever, Medlen reached a breakthrough moment in his career when he earned a spot as a starter in late July. Medlen was sensational in his 12 season starts going, 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP over 83.2 innings pitched.
During Medlen’s time with the Atlanta Braves, he has flipped back and forth between reliever and starter. Before his first Tommy John Surgery he spent most of his time out of the bullpen. But after his successful 2012 performance, he earned 31 starts the following season.
There is no question that Medlen has become more comfortable since becoming a full time starting pitcher. Medlen went from having a combined ERA of 3.90 in 2009-10 to having a 2.47 ERA in 2012-13.
Part of Medlen’s improvement has come from his ability to command the ball better. In 2009-10 his walked 2.61 batters per 9 innings. That number dipped down to 1.88 walks per batter in 2012-13.
Medlen has been recognized three times as NL Pitcher of the Month, winning the award twice during his superb 2012 season.
Medlen throws a low 90s fastball with solid movement. Medlen’s best pitch may be his changeup, which you will usually see him throw on two strike counts.
After missing the entire 2014 season with Tommy John Surgery, Medlen is still rehabbing and hopes to get back to the mound around June or July.