Royals' Teaford Turns Things Around
KANSAS CITY—An American League scout saw lefthander Everett Teaford pitch early in the season for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and marked him as a fringe prospect at best.
"He was throwing 85-87 (mph), topping out at 89," the scout said.
He saw Teaford pitch a couple of months later and turned in a considerably more glowing report.
"It was like he was a completely different pitcher, throwing 90-94, working comfortably at 91-93," the scout said.
Teaford, 26, had a 6-3, 5.08 record in the first half of the season, with opponents hitting .297 off him. After back-to-back poor starts, Teaford went to the bullpen in May for seven appearances before rejoining the rotation. He finished the season 8-0, 1.98 and held hitters to a .193 average. He also made an emergency start with Triple-A Omaha, losing at Albuquerque.
"It was a crazy second half to say the least," Teaford said.
Naturals pitching coach Larry Carter altered Teaford's mechanics, and a new pitcher soon emerged.
"I just tried to throw the ball easier and my velocity went up actually," said Teaford, a 2006 12th-round draft pick out of Georgia Southern. "I tried to be more loose with my arm instead of trying to muscle the ball up to the plate. My velocity went up. I don't know why, but I'm obviously not going to argue it."
Teaford's finish earned him a berth on the USA Baseball Pan American qualifying team. In a victory over Aruba, Teaford yielded a leadoff single and nothing after that, striking out 10 and walking none over five innings.
Beyond his increased fastball velocity, Teaford has a 78-80 mph curveball that can be a plus pitch, and an above-average changeup.
• Mark Davis, who was the 1989 National League Cy Young Award winner while with the Padres and pitched for Kansas City from 1990-92, was promoted to minor league pitching coordinator. He had been the pitching coach the past five seasons in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
• The Royals also promoted Tony Tijerina to replace Doug Sisson as minor league field coordinator. Tijerina joined the organization in 2007 as a Double-A manager, and for the past three years has been the assistant field coordinator. Sisson will be the major league first-base coach next season.