After a strange 2020 season, the 2021 MLB season will be starting on time. Currently, teams are slated to play all 162 games which means pitchers’ workloads will return to normal. More innings and more batters on more teams mean pitchers will actually have time to ramp up, unlike in 2020. During spring training, teams will need to start getting a feel for what their rotations might be. Here is an early look at the Kansas City Royals projected 2021 pitching rotation.
1. Danny Duffy
Danny Duffy has been a Royals mainstay since 2011. He was on the roster when the Royals went to back-to-back World Series, including their victory in 2015. Despite some very up-and-down numbers, he deserves the top of the order.
Duffy is the most experienced and longest-tenured pitcher on a rebuilding Royals roster. His place atop the rotation could only be usurped if he put up some truly abysmal numbers, or if he suffered an unfortunate injury.
His 2020 numbers were not great, going 4-4 in 11 starts with an ERA of almost 5.00. But he is their best option and loyalty demands he is the Opening Day starter.
2. Brad Keller
Keller’s nine starts in 2020 were a bright spot for Kansas City. He posted a 2.75 ERA in 54.2 innings pitched, which included an MLB- best tying one shutout on the season.
His freshman season in 2018 was better than his follow-up effort, as his ERA rose 1.11. But that is no reason to give up on him yet. Considering his poise in the most unprecedented MLB season in history, Keller should very much be a part of the Royals’ rebuilding plans. Second in the order seems right, although he could fall if pitchers like Minor come on strong.
3. Mike Minor
A true veteran, Mike Minor will be entering his tenth MLB season with his fifth MLB franchise in 2021. The Royals likely signed him to add some more veteran presence to a young team, even if he is not the most well-known name.
Minor is a one-time All-Star who also threw a shutout during the 2020 season. His combined ERA between his stints with the Rangers and the A’s was 5.56, however, over 11 starts. Besides his 2017 campaign, in which he threw for a 2.55 ERA, that stat has never been his strong suit. His ability to stay healthy and eat up innings is where his value lies, which makes him a perfect choice for third in the order.
4. Brady Singer
Singer is a Royals prospect to be excited about. His 4.06 ERA in 64.1 innings pitched is more than respectable, considering the circumstances regarding the season. Going 4-5 in 12 starts is also very promising, as the Royals’ offense is not near top-tier. Singer and the next pitcher to discuss are two rookies that need more work to show the American League what they’ve got.
5. Kris Bubic
Enduring your rookie season during 2020 was not an easy task, but Kris Bubic did just that. In 10 starts and exactly 50 innings pitched, he posted an ERA of 4.32. He went only 1-6 in those 10 starts, but got some valuable work and has maybe earned a spot near the bottom of the rotation. Bubic deserves a chance to show the Royals what he has, even with the lack of experience.
Featured Image courtesy of Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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