The KC Royals have gotten the 2015 season off to an excellent start, much to the surprise of many pundits and so-called “experts.” So many predicted that the team would take a step backwards, and that their offseason moves would be inconsequential. In short, most pundits believed that 2014 was a fluke.
They were wrong.
As of this sitting, the Kansas City Royals are 16-9. They lead the league in hits (260), team batting average (.296) and on-base percentage (.349). They have the fewest number of strikeouts overall, and by far the best run differential in the league. Their defense has remained elite, and the bullpen has somehow managed to look even better than it did last year!
With so much to be happy and excited about, it’s been easy to overlook and/or ignore what I consider to be the KC Royals one glaring weakness: the starting rotation.
Right now, the Kansas City Royals best starting pitcher is the one people considered to be the biggest question mark coming into the season. And it’s really not even close.
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Edinson Volquez currently boats a 2.10 ERA, and has averaged 6.8 innings pitched over his first five KC Royals outings. Danny Duffy is second best, with an ERA of 3.45 and an average of 5.64 innings pitched per outing. Then comes Yordano Ventura, who many refer to as the “staff ace.” His ERA sits at 4.94, and he’s averaged 5.42 innings pitched over his first five starts.
Jason Vargas has only had four starts, but with an ERA of 5.95 and an average of 4.8 innings pitched, perhaps that’s a good thing. Rounding out the list is Jeremy Guthrie: five starts, 6.52 ERA, average of 5.8 innings pitched per outing.
Yordano Ventura has had one start that did not result in an ejection, or having to leave the game early due to cramps. In it, he gave up 5 earned runs in just over 5 innings.
Jeremy Guthrie has been so bad early in the season, that many are wondering if long reliever Chris Young should replace him in the KC Royals rotation, after Young’s impressive start against Detroit in which he did not allow a hit in 5.0 innings.
To say the KC Royals starting pitching has been mediocre would be an understatement. Not only are they giving up a lot of runs, but they’re doing it in less than 5-6 innings of work. With a workload like that, even the Royals bullpen will wear out and start to falter.
It may be early in the season, but if the Kansas City Royals starting pitching doesn’t start to improve, they could be in big trouble down the road.