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Royals’ Potential Pitching Rotation to Start 2020

The Royals are going through a rebuild and finished 59-103 in the 2019 season. That was fourth in the AL Central, as the team has a long way to go before they can compete.

There is some good news for the Royals, as they will have their leader Salvador Perez back behind the plate after he missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery. He’ll have to help the pitching staff come through and to develop the younger players on the roster.

Here is a look at what the Royals’ pitching rotation could look like if the season isn’t canceled due to COVID-19.

1) Danny Duffy

Duffy has been with the Royals for nine years and helped them win the World Series in 2015. He has a 60-61 career record with an ERA of 3.98. From 2012 to 2017, Duffy pitched very well, but he has struggled the last two seasons.

In 2019, the lefty went 7-6 with a 4.34 ERA in 23 starts. He pitched 130.2 innings and will be looking to lead the staff in 2020.

With the Royals, Duffy has a decent amount of postseason experience. In nine appearances, Duffy has a 5.06 ERA. He was used as a reliever in those appearances. Pitching in the postseason isn’t something Duffy will likely have to worry about this season.

Royals pitching rotation
Mike Montgomery (Photo by kansascity.com)

2) Mike Montgomery

In his five-year career, Montgomery has pitched for the Mariners, Cubs and Royals. He helped the Cubs win the World Series in 2016. Over his career, he has a 23-34 record and a 3.83 ERA. From 2016 to 2018 Montgomery pitched really well and like Duffy has struggled recently.

For the 2019 season, Montgomery spent time with the Cubs and Royals. He posted a 3-9 record with an ERA of 4.95. For the Cubs, he was used as a reliever, but he transitioned back into a starter with the Royals. With an offseason to get used to being a starter again, Montgomery could improve.

Montgomery has not pitched well in the postseason, as he has a 1-1 record and a 6.27 ERA.

3) Brad Keller

The best righty in the rotation, Keller has pitched for the Royals for two seasons. He has a career record of 16-20 and an ERA of 3.68. As a rookie in 2018, he had a 3.08 ERA in 41 games pitched. During that season, Keller spent time in the bullpen and as a starter.

As a full-time time starter in 2019, Keller went 7-14 with a 4.19 ERA in 165.1 innings pitched. He’ll be hoping to regain the form he had in 2018 this season.

Keller just recently rejoined the team after getting cleared of Covid-19 and pitched in a simulated game. He may not be ready to take his spot in the rotation to start the season, but if he’s healthy, Keller is a decent third option for the Royals.

4) Jorge Lopez

Lopez has pitched for the Brewers and Royals in his four-year career. The righty has a 7-15 record and a 5.89 ERA in his career. He has experience as a starter and reliever in his career.

In 2019, Lopez had a 4-9 record with an ERA of 6.33. He started 18 games and appeared in 39 total, finishing with 123 innings pitched. Like Montgomery, Lopez will need to use the season to get used to being a full-time starter.

5) Jakob Junis

Junis has played for three seasons in Kansas City. He has a record of 27-29 and an ERA of 4.69. In the last two seasons, he has pitched over 175 innings. Each season, Junis has produced nine wins.

For 2019, Junis started 31 games, posting a 9-14 record and a 5.24 ERA. The righty disappointed last season, but still has some potential.

The Royals put Junis on the IL, which means he could miss his first start. If he does, Jesse Hahn will likely start in his place. The Royals could also use openers, much like the Tampa Bay Rays, to fill in for Junis.

 

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