In last week’s edition, we looked at positional competition and what positions are locked down for the 2023 campaign. Today let’s talk pitching and how gratifying it would be to type these words in late October/early November: Royals young pitching reigns supreme in World Series.
Who is the all-time leader in wins for the Royals?
The rotation is pretty much 3/5 complete barring unforeseen injury or complete surprises at camp. Zack Greinke, Jordan Lyles, and Brady Singer are locks for the starting 5. The other two will come from a bevy of candidates. Let’s take a look at the top end of those candidates. Daniel Lynch, 4-13, 5.13 ERA, 1.57 WHIP in 22′, not exactly nightmare-inducing numbers, but for the Royals to make the leap they want, it starts with this lefty. He has the ability to command his four pitches, and combined with the new “Raid the Zone” philosophy under new pitching coach Brian Sweeney wants to create the mindset where his pitchers attack the zone and be the aggressors. Nothing new to the game but the Royals ranked 29th in baseball in walk and strikeout rates. Kris Bubic, 3-13, 5.58 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, Kris was ranked as the 40th best prospect when he was drafted. The Royals need to see that potential to shine through this season. The pitchers in that draft have not panned out well. For a small market team, you can’t miss in the draft all that much. Johnathan Heasley 4-10, 5.28 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, Heasley has the ability to hit 97mph on the gun but generally sits 92-95, so he’s not considered “overpowering.” He has no fear of throwing on both sides of the plate featuring an above-average 12-6 curve and is known as a competitor on the mound who can control the running game. He made 21 starts last year for the Royals and would be an experienced guy to round out the rotation or someone who could take the ball in a spot start.
Scott Barlow looks to be the closer for the Royals again in 23′. Last year Scott racked up 24 saves in 69 appearances. I would hope to see Matt Quatraro have roles for his pen and not use his closer in the 7th like Matheny. But we are not sure if Quatraro will bring the Rays’ use of Opener pitchers vs. the traditional starter who takes the mound every 5th day. The signing of Aroldis Chapman raised a few eyebrows across the league and the city. What kind of role will he take on in this pen? 8th inning guy? Will he get a chance to close and become a trade candidate? The rest of the bullpen can be expected to include Josh Staumont, Amir Garrett, Brad Keller, Dylan Coleman, Jose Cuas, and Max Castillo. One thing the bullpen needs for sure is for the starters to go deeper in the game. They can do that by throwing strikes and reducing the walks. The days of the Danny Duffy start, as I like to call it, need to go. The Danny Duffy start is 5 IP and over 100 pitches. That would be a good start to keep the pen from being gassed in May.
Paul Splitorff is the all-time leader in wins with 166 wins.