Kansas City Royals: Year-end review, starting pitchers

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The primary area of focus this offseason for the Kansas City Royals should be the starting rotation. Let’s see how each member performed in 2019.

All eyes will be on new owner John Sherman and General Manager Dayton Moore this offseason, knowing full well that they badly need to improve the starting rotation. Just so we’re clear, if the rotation remains the same next year while they wait for the pitching prospects to make their big league debuts, we might as well pencil the Royals in for another 100-loss season and a fifth straight year of declining attendance.

Certainly, the offense is not great but one could make a great argument that the big league roster has more keeps for position players than they do starting pitchers. The rotation finished with the 8th worst ERA and the 4th worst K/9 in baseball. Strikeouts are not end-all, be-all to have an effective rotation, but right now the standard is the Houston Astros who have a combined 10.54 K/9.

Let’s give our grades for each member of the starting rotation this season.

C+. <a rel=. . . JAKOB JUNIS

B. One of the few bright spots on this pitching staff, <a href=. . . BRAD KELLER

. . GLENN SPARKMAN. D-. Oh boy. Where to start with <a href=

B-. Up until <a rel=. . . DANNY DUFFY

B-. The Kansas City Royals signed Home Bailey in February under a minor league contract. He got off to a rough start with the team posting a 5.70 and 5.91 ERA in the months of April and May, respectively. He looked like he had righted the ship, posted a 3.48 ERA for the month of June while striking out 29 in 33.2 innings of work. Bailey was traded on July 14 to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for infielder <a href=. . . HOMER BAILEY

Soon after the Bailey trade, <a rel=. . . JORGE LOPEZ. D

<a rel=. . . MIKE MONTGOMERY. C+

F. After both Keller and Junis were shut down for the season, <a rel=. . . ERIC SKOGLUND

D. <a href=. . . HEATH FILLMYER

Next. Breaking down Kyle Zimmer’s 2019 season. dark

So obviously, the Royals front office has some work to this offseason. Outside of Duffy, Montgomery, and Keller, there is not a whole lot to like here. Before bringing out the pitchforks regarding Junis being left off, consider this. Batters have an average exit velocity of 90.0 mph off Junis and a hard-hit rate of 41.0 percent, both near the bottom of the league.