New to mound, KC's Staumont learning ropes

Royals' second-round pick honing command, confidence after converting to pitcher in high school

New to mound, KC's Staumont learning ropes

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Josh Staumont, the Royals' second-round pick in last month's Draft, grew up with a desire to be a Major League baseball player. But he didn't expect to start his professional career as a pitcher.

Staumont has been playing baseball his whole life. It's the only sport he ever played, but he grew up playing third base and outfield. It wasn't until he was in high school that coaches decided to put him on the mound.

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"It was definitely a forced transition. They saw a brighter future there," the 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander said. "I love pitching. It's one-on-one, but at the same time it's team vs. team. It's a different aspect of team sports. I love it. I do miss hitting, but there's probably a reason why I'm not hitting."

Having played third base and outfield for the bulk of his career, Staumont has plenty of arm strength as evidenced by his mid- to upper-90's fastball.

However, because he has not been pitching for very long, command is sometimes an issue, as it was in Staumont's start Saturday night.

Making his professional debut on Saturday, pitching for the Royals Arizona League affiliate, Staumont allowed just one hit in his two innings, but walked three.

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"I really do think that the command part of it will come with one or two more starts," Staumont said. "It was really dialed in at the end of the year. I've taken about a month -- maybe five or six weeks -- off from facing live batters. It's something that is going to change pretty soon. Toward the end of the season it was definitely to where I was comfortable throwing every pitch. I'll be fine."

Last season, Staumont, pitching at Azusa Pacific went 6-2 with a 3.67 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings. He also walked 54.

While command will certainly be something Staumont works on as he progresses through the ranks, he will be learning what it takes to pitch at the professional level.

Staumont has already grown a lot as a pitcher and as he continues to gain experience he also gains confidence and knowledge.

"I think it's a different animal," Staumont said. "The confidence aspect is huge, you have to overcome the whole thought process behind throwing pitches and just giving it all you've got. The mental aspect is a huge part of succeeding in sports and that's one of the biggest things I've learned the past couple years. You've really got to compete every time you step on the mound and that's changed even in the last six months to a year."

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.