Kansas City Royals: Early Prediction of 2018 Starting Rotation

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CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 23: Danny Duffy

There are no shortage of options for the starting rotation, but let’s see which players have the best chance to start for the Kansas City Royals in 2018.

A lot of focus on the Kansas City Royals centers around the possible departure of the Core Four, but Dayton Moore will have some interesting options for the starting rotation in 2018. Let’s take a look.

Locks:

Danny Duffy — Prior to 2017, the Kansas City Royals re-upped Duffy to the tune of five years and $65 million. While he seemingly didn’t have as good a season as we hoped, he was extremely reliable prior to his injury. In his 24 starts in 2017, he averaged six innings pitched, just under six hits and 2.5 earned runs per outing. Even during a disappointing season, Duffy was a walking quality start. That is why we consider him our ace.

He did undergo a surgical procedure to remove loose bodies in his throwing elbow, but this should be seen as a positive. This injury has been nagging Duffy for the past two seasons, and we are already halfway through his expected six-week recovery period. He will be back and ready to rock come February. I am very excited for the next four seasons of Danny Duffy.

Ian Kennedy — The goal here is not to sugarcoat how awful Kennedy’s 2017 campaign was. He made the spacious Kauffman Stadium feel like a Little League-sized field. He had perhaps his worst full season as a professional. You can look at this in one of two ways: The first way would be to say that Kennedy will not bounce back in his age-33 season and beyond, and the Kansas City Royals need to find a way to get him off their books. On the other, more logical hand, you can look at Kennedy’s track record and note that, despite his down season, he is very capable of lowering his ERA closer to 4.00 and eating up over 200 innings in 2018.

A season like that would be very valuable to a team that will be young and in a retooling stage. Kennedy has already stated that he would be “stupid” to turn down his player option, so I fully expect to see him don a Royals jersey going forward.

Jason Hammel — Here we have another pitcher who posted an ERA north of 5.00 for the Boys in Blue in 2017. Hammel was a late signing last offseason, and a lot of Kansas City Royals fans quickly grew weary. When he is on his game, he is very serviceable. However, his full body of work is concerning. Hammel’s 2017 season numbers were not that much worse than his career averages. Therefore, what we saw in 2017 is what we are likely to get in 2018. Although the team is likely to buy out Hammel after next season, he’ll be our steady No. 3 and be expected to eat up 180-200 innings in 2018.

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