Grading the 2023 KC Royals: Pitcher Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles did one thing Kansas City wanted him to this season. But it wasn't enough.

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Almost a year ago, after the KC Royals finished flirting with, but fortunately didn't achieve, a 100-loss season, we identified Baltimore free agent Jordan Lyles as a starter they might consider signing for the 2023 campaign. It wasn't an idea we pushed hard, but Lyles was a veteran big league pitcher capable of shouldering a heavy workload.

He was, in other words, a classic "innings eater," someone the club could count on to start a lot of games and complete more than just three or frames each time out.

The Royals signed him, and gobble up innings he did. His 177.2 innings pitched and 31 starts led a poor Kansas City rotation, and he survived all that work without making a single trip to the Injured List.

But that's really the whole of Lyles' value to the 2023 Royals.

Jordan Lyles wasn't good for the KC Royals this season

Innings eaters like Lyles need to do more than just pitch a lot, but Lyles didn't. Instead, he was one of the major leagues' worst pitchers — he lost more games (17) than anyone and had the highest ERA (6.28) among qualified big league hurlers. His 6-17 record was the most miserable of his career, and that's saying a lot for a 13-year veteran who arrived in Kansas City 66-90 with a 5.10 ERA.

Also bad this season were his 5.62 FIP and 70 ERA+. Only his control (2.3 BB9) was decent.

What grade does Jordan Lyles deserve for the 2023 season?

Nothing about Lyles' first season with the Royals (he's on a two-year contract that runs through the 2024 campaign) makes grading him difficult.

Give him an F.

The only Lyles-related question remaining is whether he'll be back in Kansas City next season. Although that two-season contract will be an impediment, the club ought to try hard to move him on acceptable terms, but expect him to be in a Royals uniform when the 2024 campaign begins.

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