Imagining a 2022 KC Royals pitching staff
By Shawn Bauman
It could be a waste of starting pitching, but it could also be a lights-out KC Royals bullpen.
Daniel Lynch could easily be part of the rotation as well, with no disrespect meant by placing him in this role. With a quiver full of arrows, someone has to be the odd man out. You could interchange him with Bubic possibly or even run with a six-man rotation on occasion to keep arms fresh. Putting him in a multi-inning setup role would handcuff many teams.
One player who had an off-year in 2019 is Carlos Hernandez, but the team is very confident he will regain his touch. At 6’4″ but only 175 pounds, a lighter workload might be the best use of his talent. He will be a strikeout machine and bringing him in to strand runners by missing bats would help kill many rallies.
Brad Keller has been a pleasant surprise as a Rule 5 starter but once the young arms come up, a bullpen role is best suited for him. He could even emerge as the eighth inning option to get the game to the closer.
Another lefthander who could give the Royals an option to get southpaws out is Austin Cox. He put together a fine year last season with the two Single-A clubs. Mixing up his fastball and highly regarded curveball would play well in short spurts.
Closing out games should be Tyler Zuber. The guy not only had an amazing minor league season with a 1.79 ERA with 21 saves between two stops, but he also struck out 68 in 55 1/3 frames and his WHIP was a ridiculous 0.90. He topped that off playing in the Caribbean League and posted a 1.80 ERA in 17 games only walking two in 15 innings. He was another possible addition to the big league club coming out of spring.
Save for Ian Kennedy and Tim Hill, the bullpen committed many felonies to Royals fans in 2019. Locking down three exceptional relievers who could bring back the HGH days would be a great idea.