Kris Bubic won’t breaking camp in the Royals rotation, as the club announced Friday that he’s been optioned to Triple-A Omaha to begin the 2021 season.
Entering camp, Bubic seemed to have a good chance of cracking the Opening Day rotation. A former top 100 prospect, he debuted with the Royals early in the 2020 season and went on to make 10 starts and total 50 innings, ranking third and fourth on the team in those respective marks. Bubic worked to a 4.32 ERA in that time, adding solid ground-ball (46.6) and strikeout (22.1) percentages but posting a slightly elevated 9.9 percent walk rate.
For a 23-year-old making the jump directly from Class-A Advanced to the Majors, it was a strong showing. Bubic finished on a high note as well, turning in a 2.96 ERA with 30 strikeouts through 27 1/3 innings over his final five starts of the season. He also struggled in Spring Training, however, yielding eight runs (seven earned) on 14 hits and four walks with four strikeouts through 7 1/3 frames.
With Bubic out of the picture, at least for now, the rotation in Kansas City comes a bit more clearly into focus. The Royals have Brad Keller, Danny Duffy and Mike Minor all set in place. Right-hander Brady Singer, another former top prospect who debuted alongside Bubic in 2020, has been excellent thus far in Spring Training and could be the favorite for the fourth spot. Jakob Junis could be in line for the fifth spot, although the Royals have several non-roster players still in camp, including veteran Ervin Santana and top prospects Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar.