My jaw was on the floor.
"Good grief" was being muttered from the Cubs' broadcast, which included Hall of the Very Good batsmith Mark Grace, who led the '90s in hits and collected 2,445 hits in his career.
I had to ask around.
"Stuff-wise, I'm not sure I've seen better," said one scout.
"That's as impressive an inning as I've seen in a while," said another.
His name is Josh Staumont, a 26-year-old right-hander for the Royals who struck out Javier Baez, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber in his inning of work Monday night. It wasn't just the results, though. It was how bad he made two All-Stars and a hitter talented enough to be an All-Star look. He carved them up with triple-digit heat and a ridiculous low-80s curve.
Sure, Baez often swings outside the zone, but look at Contreras flail and then there's Schwarber. Unlike Baez, he has very good pitch recognition. On this curve, though, you can tell the thought process was along the lines of "fastball oh s--- that's actually a curve, SWING!"
Again, the whole inning was that impressive. A pitch by pitch breakdown, via Baseball Savant:
Javier Baez saw ...
- 98.6 mph fastball
- 82.4 mph curve
- 99.3 mph fastball
- 98.5 mph fastball
- 99.1 mph fastball
Willson Contreras saw ...
- 98.3 mph fastball
- 82.9 mph curve
- 81.5 mph curve
Kyle Schwarber saw ...
- 98.6 mph fastball
- 98.7 mph fastball
- 98.9 mph fastball
- 101.1 mph fastball
- 84 mph curve
Schwarber fouled one pitch off. That was it. No other pitch got touched.
A condensed version of the dominance:
So far this season, Staumont appears to be putting it together. Word from spring training and summer camp was he was dealing. In five innings in the regular season, he's struck out nine against two walks with a 1.80 ERA. With this kind of stuff, he's not going to get hit hard. The key is walks.
Digging into Staumont's minor-league numbers, it's clear why he didn't make his MLB debut until last season.
Last year in Triple-A Omaha he walked 37 hitters in 51 1/3 innings. In the same place in 2018, it was 52 walks in 74 1/3 innings. At two stops in 2017, he walked 97 in 124 1/3. The previous year, it was 104 walks in 123 1/3.
That's all that is holding him back. Now a full-time reliever -- he even made 12 starts in Triple-A last year -- he only needs the fastball and curve. He'll be used in small doses. He can zone in and focus just on the control and command. It was on Monday night. Look at the bottom-of-the-zone fastball that caught Baez looking.
The transformation into stud short reliever began in earnest with Staumont working with Dave Coggin of PFA Fitness. He's some fire from the offseason:
In the spring, The Athletic ran a feature on him calling him a "Lamborghini."
And now he's had a high-profile outing against one of the most-watched teams in baseball, against three of its best hitters to boot.
His name is Josh Staumont. We won't soon be forgetting it. I'm guessing guys by the name of Javier, Willson and Kyle agree.