After the first week of the season the KC Royals have a slight problem, their starting rotation still hasn’t been set and it doesn’t seem like it will change for a little while.
As the season began it would seem the rotation would have been Danny Duffy, Brady Singer, Mike Montgomery, and someone like Glenn Sparkman or even Jesse Hahn. The first three are the only ones to start this season and the reason the Royals have not set a rotation is that they are likely experimenting with the bullpen to see who will stick and who will not.
Now I am all for experimenting with the bullpen during the first two weeks of this season as they have a 30-man roster to play around with, but the problem is that there is not a whole lot of depth in starters unless the Royals call up some players, note Brady Singer and now Kris Bubic.
After this week the KC Royals need to set a rotation. Whether it is Duffy, Singer, Bubic, Sparkman, or Hahn, or another grouping, a rotation needs to be set and they need to eat some innings as the bullpen has been used thoroughly by Mike Matheny.
The KC Royals have plenty of pitching depth to where they can have a rotation after this week when the roster is cut from 30 to 28. The only problem with setting with some consistency at the moment is the fact that some of the starters have been injured or are not ready for a major league start quite yet.
Players like Mike Montgomery, Foster Griffin, Jakob Junis, and Brad Keller have either been in one game and got hurt or were on the IL before the season started. Now once they come back, the rotation will likely be easy to determine, but at the moment it seems the rotation is a long way away from being set.
The rotation currently has been Duffy, Singer, bullpen day, Montgomery mixed with a bullpen day as Mike got hurt, and another bullpen day. You see the trend here, the bullpen is getting work very early in this season and for the most part they have been good, but how long does that last with how many innings they pitch.
Now with it being early in the season this is fine, but this could become a problem later in the season when the bullpen only has a couple of available arms a night; that puts a lot of pressure on the starters to go six or seven innings late in the season if we are still competing by then.
There are a couple of ways the rotation could be set. For one, Brad Keller and Jakob Junis return and take back their spots, or the Royals call up some young arms to see how they do and, in a way, have a competition for the three, four, and five spots in the rotation.
The second seems more and more likely as Brady Singer and Kris Bubic have been called up, but who else would the KC Royals call up? The first to come to mind is likely Jackson Kowar or Daniel Lynch, but I think if the Royals call up anyone it would be Austin Cox.
There are a couple of other pitchers who could enter the rotation and those could be Randy Rosario and Carlos Hernandez, but those two are either hurt or longshots to make the rotation. The way the rotation gets set will most likely be when Junis and Keller come back.
For now, the Royals can get away with multiple bullpen days due to the 30-man roster. That will not last long though especially since when Kris Bubic comes up, someone has to go down and my bet on who goes is Jorge Lopez.
That will only further the need for at least four consistent starters as Lopez is one of the long relievers on the team. Plus, Lopez has had very little playing time this year and in recent memory, he hasn’t been great since his near-perfect game against Minnesota.
If I were to project a four-man rotation I would say it has to be Duffy, Singer, Bubic, and Keller when he gets back. Junis is left out of this to be a long reliever as I believe he would be well suited in that role.
Hopefully, in the near future, the KC Royals will set at least a four-man rotation for the rest of the season after the roster gets cut down.