What if the starting pitching does not develop as we are all assuming it will?
The Royals seem to be currently operating under the assumption that we will have plenty of starting pitching once the 2018 draft picks begin coming to the big leagues. I find this assumption terrifying.
It is very difficult to find a good major league starting pitcher. The Fab Five from the 2018 draft has done everything you would expect them to do so far in their major league careers. But what are the chances that even three of those five become reliable starting pitchers? Not great.
The last time the Royals had a minor league stocked with pitching talent it was guys named John Lamb, Danny Duffy, Chris Dwyer, Jake Odorizzi, and Mike Montgomery. A couple of those guys never even had true big-league careers. We should count ourselves lucky if three of the current crop wind up as Duffy, Odorizzi, and Montgomery.
So, what will fill out the rest of our rotation? Brad Keller and some players to be named later? I like Brad Keller. I know I have said this before, but if Brad Keller is our #3 or #4 starter we are probably in good shape. If Keller is our Opening Day starter, we are not serious about winning a pennant.
If two-thirds of the 6 pitchers really making a name for themselves in the minor leagues right now wind up as major league arms, that is a success. If a couple of them wind up as dependable starting pitchers, that would be a huge step forward for our player development.
We need to be realistic about where we are going to find the other arms necessary. You can never have too many good starting pitchers and I am still not convinced we have more than 2 above-average starting pitchers among our current minor league studs. I remain fearful that we are assuming that we do.