KC Royals 2022 Projections: Will Kris Bubic improve?

(Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports) /

KC Royals left-hander Kris Bubic has put up similar numbers in each of his first two major league seasons.

In 10 starts in 2020, Bubic pitched into some tough luck, suffering five losses in starts where he gave up two earned runs or less. Unfortunately, he also gave up nine runs in nine innings in two no-decisions, which contributed to his 4.32 ERA and 1-6 record.

Bubic figured to return to the KC rotation in 2021, but a rough spring training forced the Royals to assign him to the minors before camp closed. He didn’t make his first big league appearance until May when he joined the club’s bullpen. By the end of May, Bubic was back in the starting rotation, posted a 1.52 ERA for the month and closed it with six innings of one-run ball to beat Minnesota.

The next three starts for Bubic ended in less than five innings and his ERA rose to 4.01; that meant he was back in the bullpen and his season really never got better. By campaign’s end, his ERA was 4.43 and he had a 6-7 record in 29 appearances, 20 of them starts.

Through his first two big league seasons, Bubic is 7-13 with a 4.40 ERA.

How Baseball Reference and FanGraphs project the KC Royals’ Kris Bubic.

Baseball Reference predicts just a bit of improvement for Bubic—a 6-8 record with a 4.22 ERA over the same 130 innings he pitched last season. FanGraphs (Depth Chart version) projects a small regression with a 6-7 mark and 4.63 ERA in 105 innings over 23 starts—less than five innings per start.

How will the KC Royals’ Kris Bubic actually perform in the 2022 season?

At the end of last season, Bubic put together a string of three consecutive quality starts that helped drop his ERA under 5.00, and Kings of Kauffman’s Batoul Hammoud favorably likened Bubic to former KC lefty Jason Vargas. Bubic’s 2-1 record and 2.20 ERA in September-October provide hope for the future. Perhaps Bubic figured out something that will benefit him and the club in 2022.

Interesting to note is that of the five months Bubic spent with the Royals in 2021, the months with his lowest K/9 rates were his best ERA months. In June and August, when his K/9 rates were higher, he posted ERAs of 9.16 and 7.15.

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How will Kris Bubic pitch for Kansas City this season? Hopefully, the final month of last season portends good things to come.