Grading the 2021 KC Royals, Part 4: Starting pitchers

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KC Royals, Daniel Lynch
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A trio of young KC Royals don’t merit high grades for their 2021 efforts.

The fans’ clamor for Jackson Kowar began not long after the minor league season began in early May. Kowar, a top Kansas City prospect working at Triple-A for the first time, owned a 5-0, 1.01 ERA and .183 OBA record by the end of the month, leaving Kansas City fans eager for his major league debut and calling for it regularly on social media.

The KC Royals made them happy by promoting Kowar June 7. He started against the Angels that night but didn’t last an inning after giving up four runs and three hits, and walking two. He started two more games before an 18.00 ERA and 0-2 record forced him back to Omaha.

Related Story. Comparing Kowar's debut to KC's best. light

Kowar returned to the KC Royals in September but lost four of six starts and ended the year 0-6, 6.43. He gets a D.

Rookie Daniel Lynch’s initial taste of the big leagues was as rattling as Kowar’s. Summoned to Kansas City from Omaha in early May, he went 0-2 with a 15.75 ERA before the Royals recognized he wasn’t ready and returned him to the minors.

He earned another chance with KC in late July and went 4-4, 4.35 the rest of the way to finish 4-6, 5.69. His improvement was obvious, especially in August (3-0, 2.39), but a rough September (0-3, 8.69) and his first three outings of the season mean he gets a C.

Second-year lefthander Kris Bubic also deserves a C. After starting exclusively in 2020, Bubic split time between the 2021 rotation and bullpen but still started 20 times. He was 5-6, 4.77 in the rotation.