November 13 - No matter the level, Jake Kalish seems to provide his club with consistent outings every time he takes the ball. That was no different in 2018, when the former George Mason University standout turned in an impressive campaign in the Kansas City Royals’ system.
The left-hander, a native of New Jersey, finished 2018 by going 6-6 with a 3.34 ERA and 88 strikeouts to 13 walks in 89 innings at Triple-A Omaha. Last week, MiLB.com named him to Kansas City’s Organizational All-Star Team.
During his tenure at George Mason, Kalish posted ERAs between 3.00 and 3.52 every year. Now, in four professional seasons, he’s never posted an ERA above 3.88 and recorded a career-best 2.45 in 23 relief appearances at Single-A in 2016. The southpaw’s consistency is further demonstrated by the fact that he has posted identical 3.32 ERAs both at the collegiate and professional levels.
After spending his first two pro seasons working out of the bullpen, he began a transition from a reliever to a starter in 2017 and this year set career highs with 18 starts and 127.2 innings between Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he began the season.
The continued development of Kalish, 27, has impressed former Patriots player and coach J.J. Picollo, who is the Royals’ assistant general manager for player personnel.
"Jake has always thrown strikes," Picollo told MiLB.com. "Really smart and good competitor and has just learned how to use his breaking ball three different ways. Little slider, cutter over the back edge, swings and misses, called strikes. … He just found his stride and keeps getting better. Jake is extending his career and applying things he's learned over the years, and he's turned into a pretty effective pitcher for us."
Kalish is expected to be in Kansas City’s spring training camp, where he’ll attempt to become the latest former George Mason pitcher to appear in the Majors. His former Patriots teammate, Chris O’Grady, pitched with the Miami Marlins the past two years. His older brother, Ryan Kalish, hit .245 in 387 at-bats over four seasons with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs between 2010 and 2016.
Photo of Jake Kalish courtesy of Omaha Storm Chasers