There will always be some outliers and other options, though the Royals options still have a lot to prove if they are going to be trusted with a rotation spot.
While the rotation looks to be pretty well lined out for the KC Royals, there are a few spots that could be up for grabs though, especially if the team decides to try some pitchers in new bullpen roles. While the options the Royals have for starters are slim, there are a few pitchers on the roster that could find their way into the rotation.
If there is any pitcher on the roster that is most likely to end up in the rotation at some point in the year it’s Jorge Lopez. Lopez has struggled greatly in this time with the Royals, but he has also shown at times that he can be incredibly effective.
He was used in a split role in 2019 seeing 39 games overall with 18 starts. His 6.33 ERA doesn’t provide a lot of confidence, but the isolated games where he is on keeps the Royals’ hopes alive with Lopez. 2019 may be a make or break season for him, but if a starter is needed or he proves himself in spring training, Lopez could find his way back to the rotation.
Glenn Sparkman is likely not the first name that fans would think of when deciding who to put in the starting rotation. He is likely a long shot, like Jorge Lopez, but if there is a need, the Royals have used Sparky as a starter in the past and a great deal in 2019.
He started 23 games in 2019, holding an ERA of 6.02. He held a low strikeout rate and didn’t seem to struggle with walks as bad as some pitchers, but gave up 2.0 home runs per 9. Sparkman has shown good talent, but he is likely better off in a bullpen role. Still, if needed, Sparkman is another possibility for the rotation if needed.
Stephen Woods was the Royals Rule 5 draft pick, ensuring his place on the 26 man roster for 2020. While not all Rule 5 picks work out, the Royals certainly hope Woods will help with their pitching woes.
Woods has never seen major league time but pitched well in low A ball for the Giants and Rays organizations. He has struggled some with injury but managed 86.1 innings in Single-A Plus in 2019, holding an ERA of 1.88. He has been primarily used as a starter and while he struggles with walks, he doesn’t allow a lot of home runs. While he is likely low on the list, if he impresses come spring training, Woods could find himself starting some games in 2020.
Pending the KC Royals making anymore free agent signings, the rotation seems to be pretty well laid out, at least in terms of who will be fighting for the spots. There won’t be a lot of differences in the KC pitching as of yet, so fans can only hope that some of these pitchers while finally have their year, or at least continue to progress positively.