3 KC Royals starters who'll begin 2024 in Triple-A, 2 who won't

Kansas City's 2024 rotation looks set, but who's available just in case?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Kris Bubic is on track for a midseason recovery

Although some may believe Bubic's 10-28, 4.85 ERA record over four big league seasons suggests he could benefit from more time in Triple-A, that isn't where he'll be when the 2024 campaign starts. Because he's recovering from the Tommy John Surgery he underwent early last season, he won't be pitching anywhere when Opening Day rolls around. Look for him around midseason instead.

There has been chatter about his high career ERA, to the point of some fans calling for him to be traded. But the Royals signaled a continuing commitment to him by signing him to an arbitration-avoiding contract last month. That they retained Bubic, rather than trading or releasing him, means the southpaw is still in their plans.

Bubic relies heavily on a circle change and curveball. He pairs that pitch combo with a four-seam fastball that typically sits around 91+.

There was promise in Bubic's 2023 start. Although his 16-inning sample size was incredibly small, he looked like he was making a move toward becoming the pitcher the Royals envisioned when they drafted him in 2018 — his ERA was down to 3.94 and his WHIP was 1.313. And he'd clearly worked on a slider which, while not quite ready for prime time, seemed to be making his other pitches more effective.