Although the name may not be that recognizable outside of Kansas City, Jakob Junis is quietly on his way to becoming one of the more underrated starting pitchers in the game.
Maybe that’s crazy talk but you can’t deny the fact that 25-year-old has been that good early on in the season.
Sure, Kansas City ended up on the wrong side of a 6-2 game but the box score doesn’t reflect how good Jakob Junis was tossing the pill prior to the wheels falling off in the sixth inning.
The fifth inning was probably the most impressive of the afternoon. Junis struck out the side in the frame with stuff that was flat-out nasty. For example, the spike curve to strikeout Yan Gomes was possibly the best spike curve I’ve ever seen anyone throw.
I threw that pitch in college and it was nothing like what Junis threw in that at-bat, spin-rate, dive and all. It was a beauty that only pitchers (or former pitchers) can appreciate.
Junis also had the slider working but all of his pitches were effective with movement around the plate. Outside of Francisco Lindor (who’s been hitting everybody lately) and Michael Brantley, Junis was having his way with the Indians lineup. At one point he retired 15 out of 16 going into the sixth.
The Indians regained the lead that inning thanks mostly to Lindor and Brantley. Lindor would end up with his fourth multi-home run game of his young career, a solo shot off Junis in the third and added another solo homer in the seventh off reliever Kevin McCarthy.
The final line for Junis – four runs in 5.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Those runs Junis gave up weren’t easy. The Indians made contact on good pitches that found a spot to land. That’s just the way baseball goes sometimes.
With the loss, Junis drops to 4-3 on the season with a respectable 3.53 ERA. The young righty continues to show improvement with each start and worthy of being in the starting rotation for the Kansas City Royals for years to come.
So what do you think Royals fans? Has Junis surprised you this year? What are you expectations for him this year? Let us know below!