Monarchs Ink ‘Competitive’ Righty Keys

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A competitive right-hander with a great curveball has joined the Kansas City Monarchs’ pitching staff.

Right-hander JC Keys has signed with the reigning American Association champions for the 2024 season, the Monarchs announced Monday.

Keys, a 27-year-old former Reds prospect, is the third player Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra has signed for the 2024 season. He joins returning infielder Cameron Cannon and pitcher Juan Mejia.

“JC’s a highly competitive guy. He has a plus curveball and an above-average fastball that goes with it,” Calfapietra said. “He was a highly-regarded player in the Reds system and we’re excited to welcome him to our organization.”

A 27-year-old with three seasons of professional experience, Keys has struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings in his professional career.

The Monarchs open their season on May 10 in Sioux City. The club’s home opener is set for Thursday, May 16 at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas. Find the Monarchs’ full schedule at MonarchsBaseball.com/Schedule.

A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Keys played four years of college ball at Southern Miss, his hometown school.

He became one of the Eagles’ top relief arms, striking out 14.2 batters per nine innings his senior year in 2019. He held opponents to a .189 batting average that season.

Keys earned a 9.4 K/9 over his 63 career appearances (13 starts) at Southern Miss.

The Reds drafted Keys in the 23rd round in 2019; he’d make his pro debut in the Appalachian League that season.

After missing 2020 due to the pandemic, Keys spent 2021 between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga.

His last season of pro baseball came in 2022, where he spent the entire season in Chattanooga’s bullpen. All but nine of Keys’ 62 career Minor League appearances have come in relief.

Monarchs ticket packages are available now at MonarchsBaseball.com/Tickets.