KC Royals: Kris Medlen Start Helps Playoff Rotation Take Shape


Kris Medlen‘s start on Monday indicates that the KC Royals want to see if he can handle rotation duties in the playoffs. As one of my readers informed me, to be eligible for the playoff roster, a player must be on the 25-man roster or the disabled list on August 31, or a spot must have come open due to a player on the 25-man roster going on the disabled list before a playoff series.

Thus, the Kansas City Royals are putting Medlen in the rotation because they need to know whether he can handle post-season starts before August 31.

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In practice, however, the August 31 rule is hardly absolute. The DL caveat leaves a truck-sized hole since pretty much EVERY player is nursing some kind of injury after a 162 game season. If a September call-up gets hot, you can almost always make room for him with some conscientious treatment from the training staff.

Teams rarely use more than four starters come October, since playoff series include built-in off-days for travel. At this point, you have to think the playoff rotation figures to be: Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, and two of Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, and Kris Medlen. Chris Young could get into the mix if someone gets injured, or KC Royals manager Ned Yost can’t feel good about two of those final three options.

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In Kris Medlen’s case, it’s going to take a few games for him to build up his arm strength to where the Kansas City Royals can expect him to give them 90+ pitches in an outing. Remember, he’s a guy coming back from his second Tommy John surgery, and only Chris Capuano has logged more than 14 starts after his second ulnar collateral ligament repair.

Thus, the decision on whether Kris Medlen will start post season games for the KC Royals is likely to push the August 31 deadline to determine roster makeup to the wire. If Medlen looks good in his next two starts, then don’t be surprised to see the Kansas City Royals DFA Jeremy Guthrie before September 1—unless Guthrie enjoys some effective outings from the pen. The KC Royals have Chris Young as a long man, so are unlikely to need Guthrie.

If Medlen stuggles, the KC Royals could keep Guthrie on the roster August 31 for insurance.

Kris Medlen is likely to remain on the roster even if he struggles as a starter, since he’s shown he can still produce from the pen. Yordana Ventura, Danny Duffy, and Kris Medlen figure to jockey for those last two playoff rotation spots over the next forty-one games.

Let’s hope Kris Medlen is close to the guy who was the no. 1 starter for the Braves in 2013.

Next: Royals Potential September Callups?

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