Kansas City Royals Positional Battles Heading into Spring Training

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Oct 28, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals fans cheer in the fifth inning against the New York Mets in game two of the 2015 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 28, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals fans cheer in the fifth inning against the New York Mets in game two of the 2015 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

The back end of the rotation: Danny Duffy vs. Kris Medlen vs. Chris Young

Last season, the Kansas City Royals won the World Series seemingly in spite of their starters. Royals starters had a 4.34 ERA, 22nd in baseball, while their 912.2 innings ranked 24th. The answer to those issues this offseason – replace Johnny Cueto with Ian Kennedy.

While Kennedy, Yordano Ventura and Edinson Volquez are entrenched in the top three spots in the rotation, the hoped for improvement would come from the fourth and fifth starters. There, we find Kris Medlen, Danny Duffy, Chris Young, and possibly Miguel Almonte, Kyle Zimmer and Dillion Gee all hoping to earn a place in the starting rotation.

While the Royals have not counted out the idea of Zimmer getting a chance in the early part of the 2016 season, the battle is likely to be between Duffy, Medlen and Young. Young performed well last season, but the Royals managed his innings last season to keep him from wearing down. Duffy regressed mightily last year, and may be a better option in the bullpen. Medlen, meanwhile, has had two Tommy John surgeries, which could prove to be a problem as a starter.

Chances are, even without injury concerns, the back of the Royals rotation will continue to be a revolving door until Zimmer, Almonte or another of the young starters are ready to take their place. The issues from last season still appear to be present.

Next: Building on a strength

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