The Royals’ 2011 Rotation

Zack Greinke may not be happy with the Royals' direction, but he's probably going to anchor their rotation next year. The Royals will surround him with a combination of familiar major league arms and, potentially, unproven minor league pitching prospects.

First, the familiar major leaguers. Gil Meche is rehabbing as a reliever now and though he makes $12MM next year and has a history as a reliable starter he can't be expected to return to the rotation. He will pitch out of the bullpen to avoid surgery, so unless he comes to spring training feeling stronger than expected, he'll be in the 'pen. Luke Hochevar is also on the DL, but showed promise (6.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9) before an elbow strain sidelined him. Hochevar should join Greinke in the Royals' 2011 rotation.

After those three pitchers, there's much uncertainty. Bruce Chen has provided the Royals with serviceable innings as a swingman this year. They could bring him back in a similar capacity for 2011, but Chen doesn't change the Royals' long term plans.

Kyle Davies and Brian Bannister both go to arbitration for the third time this winter, but won't necessarily be tendered contracts. They have ERAs over 5.00 and will each make over $2MM next year if offered arbitration. Bannister is currently on the DL rehabbing from rotator cuff tendinitis and a strong September would go a long way toward preventing a non-tender.

Recent acquisition Sean O'Sullivan and former first-rounders Bryan Bullington and Philip Humber have all started games for the Royals this year, with varying degrees of success. Humber has looked good in 10.2 major league innings this year and he struck out four times as many batters as he walked at Triple A (though it was his fourth stint at the minors' highest level).

But the Royals' hopes rest in the minor leagues. They have standout position players – Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer in particular – and a group of exciting young arms. At this point, however, the Royals' pitching prospects don't seem likely to contribute much to the 2011 rotation.

Aaron Crow, Tim Melville and John Lamb are promising, but probably need more seasoning. Danny Duffy and Chris Dwyer have each handled AA batters well, but neither has started more than five games at the level. Top prospect Mike Montgomery made a successful leap to AA this year, but the Royals are still monitoring his innings carefully and it would be unfair to expect him to debut in the majors before late 2011. Edgar Osuna isn't the prospect Montgomery is, but he has struck out three times as many hitters as he has walked in the upper minors and posted a season ERA of 4.17.

At this point, it appears that Greinke and Hochevar will figure prominently into the rotation while the organization's best prospects develop in the minor leagues. The Royals will likely look for some stabilizing inning eaters, whether that means bringing back some combination of Chen, Davies and Bannister, or signing a free agent.

 


19 Responses to The Royals’ 2011 Rotation Leave a Reply

  1. TheReturnOfMrBlanks 5 years ago

    Looks like another terrible year coming up

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      Yeah, but wait until Lamb, Monty, Duffy, and Dwyer make up the Royals 2013 rotation. Lights out.

  2. Koby2 5 years ago

    Ummm….shouldn’t the title be The Royals’ 2011 Rotation? Not 2010?

    • mizzoubd 5 years ago

      Do we really care? we are gonna suck anyways. Might as well be a continuation from 2010 so no one gets their hopes up in the off season for no reason.

      • Koby2 5 years ago

        I’d just appreciate it if the runners of the site would at least make one posting or reference to the team without some type of error. I know we suck this season and probably will to a lesser degree next season, but that doesn’t mean their can’t be some proofreading when it comes to the Royals. Granted this is really minor, but a lot of really minor things add up after a while.

        Also, I think the team will need to sign someone in the offseason, maybe something like a Ben Sheets situation, just for a lot less money. Rich Harden comes to mind if the Rangers don’t bring him back. Has to be incentive based though. This is just to get through the season without bringing someone up too quickly. He’ll probably be injured by the time someone is ready to come up from the minors.

      • Koby2 5 years ago

        Whoops double post, apologizes.

  3. bbxxj 5 years ago

    I would non-tender or if you can trade both Daves and Bannister. If you can bring Bannister back on the cheap go for it but otherwise move on to the lottery pick type guys like Bullington to fil out the rest of the rotation just in case you find something.

    Start the year with:

    Grienke
    Hochevar
    Bullington
    Humber
    O’Sullivan

    and as one or a few of them flame out or get injured install whoever is showing they are ready out of AA/AAA prospect Montgomery, Duffy, Dwyer and Osuna with Chen as a swingman in the gaps in between.

  4. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    Bruce Chen is pretty much the coolest guy ever.

  5. Hermie13 5 years ago

    Gotta love having a $12M non-closing reliever on your team…..

    I don’t care how hurt he is, you HAVE to start Meche next year. If it causes his arm to blow out, so what? He’s more valuable to you as a starter even if he only lasts 70 innings and into early June.

    • Eh, oh well, KC will still be better than the Indians.

      Plus KC fans get to enjoy the best farm system in MLB with probably 5-6 top 25 overall prospects. The Indians have Beau Mills, LOL.

  6. moonraker45 5 years ago

    Free Zack Grienke!!

  7. Any word on Noel Arguelles? He didn’t get to do much this year after signing out of Cuba, but I hear his potential upside is as a SP3.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      poor fella is having some for arm problems that have sidelined him for the whole season. Hopefully he’ll be back to himself next season.

  8. Prince_Fielders_Donuts 5 years ago

    CMON CHEN!

  9. RBomb2844 5 years ago

    Whatever direction the Royals go in I really hope they focus on pitching in 2011. At least make an effort to put together a good rotation/bullpen. Pitching wins games…..Oakland, San Diego, Atlanta, etc. have all been successful with pitching….c’mon Dayton.

  10. Koby2 5 years ago

    Did I blame MLBTR for the Royals struggles? No, of course not. Just relax man.

  11. moonraker45 5 years ago

    Hooochie Mama!!

  12. Koby2 5 years ago

    It’s more than just typos, but I digress. I feel a bit nice about being compared to Costanza. Don’t worry, Dayton gets my frustration as well.

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