KC Royals: It’s time for a Kris Bubic standout start

KC Royals, Kris Bubic (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Kris Bubic (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals will have some decisions to make about their long term rotation during the offseason. It’s likely young arms will be the main topic.

The KC Royals pitching staff has been the bright spot of this 2020 season. There are players who are having good seasons offensively as well, such as Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield, but overall, the pitching in Kansas City has improved to a point at which it can’t be ignored anymore.

The bullpen is the biggest turnaround, going from a pen that couldn’t be trusted with a huge lead, to one that many would trust in a 1 run game. Other than a few knock-around games, the pen has been a refreshing sight to see, especially the young guys.

The starters have found some positives as well, though, either hindered by a bad outing or a lack of run support, may of their records have suffered. Still, the Royals have found plenty to talk about with their young arms showing off just a glimpse of what the future in Kansas City may hold.

In recent games, a couple of young arms, Brady Singer and Brad Keller, have made some noise, letting the rest of the MLB know they are here. Singer was just a few outs short of a no-hitter and followed it up with 6 more shut out innings and 8 strikeouts in his next appearance.

Brad Keller, not to be outdone, pitched a complete-game shutout in his most recent start, bringing his ERA down to 2.06 for the season.

Now, it’s time for another young pitcher to get his standout game, Kris Bubic. Bubic, who is currently sitting with a 1-5 record and an ERA of 4.50 finally got his first win on September 11th. He managed 5 innings and gave up only 1 run.

Now, in saying that Bubic needs a standout start, that’s not to say he hasn’t had any good outings. He has plenty of starts in which he only gave up 2 or fewer runs, keeping the game close, and just a few outliers where batters got the better of him. Bubic, though, usually struggles in one area or another.

Whether it’s a walk that comes back to hurt or pitch count, Bubic often struggles to go deep into games. In his 8 starts, he’s managed 7 innings once, 6 innings once, and the rest are 5, 4, or 3. This is likely due to his struggles with pitch count. Bubic has gotten out of plenty of innings without a run, but he often battles, driving up his pitch count and making it difficult for him to go deep into games.

Now that Keller and Singer have left their mark on the season though, Bubic needs to leave his. Once the offseason begins, one of the conversations the team will have to have is the future of the starting rotation. The veterans Danny Duffy and Jakob Junis have struggled and while it’s possible they could see starts in 2021,(more likely for Duffy than Junis) other roles, such as a spot in the bullpen, may not be out of the question.

Bubic has likely shown the Royals more than enough to secure him a spot in 2021. Unless the Royals make plenty of free-agent signings, they will need to fill the rotation slots, and the candidates look to be dwindling by the day.

Bubic, so far in his rookie season, has pitched 40.0 innings over 8 games, has worked his ERA down from 5.96 just a few games ago to 4.50, and has provided winnable games for an offense that can provide run support.

He has done what many likely expected and has impressed in many outings. But now, he just needs that one standout game to show he has begun to adapt to major league hitting, is figuring things out and that he should keep his spot in the starting rotation.

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Kris Bubic has done well for a rookie thrown to the wolves in his first major league season. One great start could help make his case for a continued starting role in 2021.