Home > Uncategorized > Some 2011 Possibilities – Rotation Talk

Some 2011 Possibilities – Rotation Talk

If you squint your eyes real tight, you can sort of make out what the 2011 Royals roster will look like. Well, maybe not what it’ll look like in August, but certainly what we’ll see when the Royals take the field on March 31st against the Angels. Let’s be honest with ourselves before we go any farther. It probably won’t be terribly pretty. Though as I’ve mentioned here in the past, it might not be as bad as it looks right now. The roughest part of the team will be the starting pitching, but the nice thing about the starters is that while they don’t have exceptional track records by any stretch of the imagination, they all have upside. Let’s start with them.

As the roster is currently constructed, Luke Hochevar will be your Opening Day starter and de facto ace of the staff. His numbers are not good throughout his Major League career, but as a pitcher who induces a lot of groundballs, he has probably been hurt more than any other Royal by the substandard defense they have fielded. That changes this year as the infield goes from a weakness to a potential strength. I’ve mentioned it before, but I think Hochevar has an ERA well under 4 this season with the strength of the defense behind him. One thing that has always struck me about Hochevar is that, at times, he is absolutely unhittable. Remember his 81 pitch performance against the Reds in 2009? How about his 13 strikeout game against the Rangers that same year? At some point, he is going to put it together, and I have a feeling that if anybody pitches a no-hitter for the Royals in the next five years, it’ll be Hochevar.  

The rest of the rotation doesn’t have quite as high an upside as the rest, but all have a chance in their own right to be very good. Vin Mazzaro may end up being nothing more than a good fifth starter or a mediocre fourth starter, but he has the stuff to be a solid three. If he can just improve his control a bit and raise his strikeout rate a tick, he will be fine and should put up an ERA around 4.00. Kyle Davies is the enigma you all know. I think at this point, we should just be happy with what he is. He’s a guy who will keep you in the game most of the time, will rarely truly dominate and will occasionally throw up an absolute stinker.

As for the rest of the rotation, I think you all know by now that I’m not exactly heading the Sean O’Sullivan fan club. He’s just not very good. He may excel as a reliever, but I just don’t think he has the stuff to be a successful pitcher in the big leagues. That said, he’s very young and stranger things have happened than a 22-year-old pitcher with a fast fastball figuring things out. I wouldn’t put money on it happening, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. The other spot will either be filled by a veteran with no upside who we can count on to not be worth his contract or by one or two of the young guys. You all know that I’ve been a big proponent of finding out what we have in Everett Teaford, but I think Danny Duffy has a real chance at the rotation, as does Aaron Crow. My best guess is that Crow doesn’t make the team out of spring training because of his poor 2010, but when he comes up, I think there’s a very good chance that he’s either the best or second best starter on the team. His stuff is just too good.

It’s funny how my Royals timeline works. At the end of the season, usually early October, I get sort of excited about the offseason and what it could bring. Typically I’m not so much excited about the Royals because they’re not a big mover or shaker, but I’m a big fan of the hot stove season. I guess you could call me a baseball gossip. So we go through that season, and I love to make my predictions about what big free agents are going where and I’m a huge fan of reading the winners and losers posts that typically come out just after the winter meetings.

Then, comes a quiet time in baseball. We’re probably at the tail end of that quiet time. most of the big name free agents have signed, but there’s still a couple hanging around and the topic turns to draft pick compensation. It’s about this time that I go from thinking the next year’s Royals team will be completely horrendously awful to thinking that they might have a chance. My optimism ranges from thinking they won’t be terrible to thinking that with just a few breaks they could win 86 games and the division.

Right now, I’m entering my optimistic stage of Royals fanhood as you may be able to tell from the above post. I don’t hold out much hope that they can become a playoff team this year. It would take way more than a few breaks in their favor for that to happen, but I do think that talks of them losing 110 games are greatly premature. I think at their very best this team can probably win 80 games. At their worst, they might be stuck around 60. I’m leaning toward a 71-91 prediction as things stand right now, but I”ll hold off on that until I see some spring training action to see just how bad or good this rotation might be. The next step is getting crazy optimistic throughout the spring before getting let down as the season progresses. It’s the progression as a Royals fan. Hopefully the progression is broken soon.

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  1. Patrick
    January 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    As bad as that rotation looks, it doesn’t look nearly as bad as 2005 or worse, 2006.

  2. TCreecy
    January 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Add Jeff Francis to the rotation. Good, low-risk signing.

  3. January 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Hey there,

    Hey man we do a Cubs podcast…do we play you guys this year? If so, want to be a guest on the show this year?

    http://www.ivyenvy.com

    Meehan

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