‘Confident In His Stuff’: Monarchs Sign Lefty Pitcher Curlis

By Cal Friedman

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Kansas City Monarchs announced their fourth left-handed pitcher to their pitching staff on Tuesday afternoon.

Connor Curlis joins the Monarchs after three consecutive seasons with the Cincinnati Reds Double-A affiliate, the Chattanooga Lookouts. The southpaw accumulated over 217 innings for the Lookouts with a 2.53 strikeouts-to-walk ratio.

The Kansas City Monarchs open their season on May 10th against the Sioux City Explorers. The club’s home opener is Thursday, May 16 from Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Curlis, 27, was teammates with fellow Kansas City pitcher, J.C. Keys, in Chattanooga. The two both spent the 2021 and 2022 MiLB seasons in Tennessee.

“It means a lot to have, especially with something that’s new, to someone who you’re close friends with,” Keys said. “He’s a great guy.”

The Findlay, Ohio, native has experience in many different roles. Curlis made 55 career starts in MiLB, while also making 38 appearances in relief.

The left-hander threw 326 innings in the minor leagues and also worked through rookie ball, low-A, and high-A. Curlis’ best individual stint came with the Daytona Tortugas, amassing an impressive 0.96 ERA.

“He’s very confident in his stuff,” Keys praised Curlis. “He throws his fastball at the top of the zone. He’s going to get a lot of strikeouts with.”

Curlis was drafted in the 24th round out of Ohio State University in the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft, one of three Buckeyes selected in that draft.

Curlis commanded a career 3.92 ERA in his three seasons with Ohio State. He struck out a career-best 66 batters as a Freshman, helping the Buckeyes to a Big 10 Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth.

He improved in his Sophomore season, leading Ohio State with five wins on the year.

His success carried into Summer Ball, where he was named a 2017 Prospect League All-Star with the Champion City Kings.

Curlis joins Jacob Cantleberry, Nicoló Pinazzi, and returning Monarch, Dalton Moats, as the southpaws for manager Joe Calfapietra’s pitching staff. Curlis is entering his sixth professional season in 2024.