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Friday, February 13, 2004

Royals Rotation

As spring training approaches, the Royals position players appear to be pretty set. The makeup of the rotation is a little more up in the air however as noted in a recent article on the Royals site. Here are list of the candidates for the five starting spots and what I view as their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Darrell May (L) - As I mentioned in a recent post, I think May has figured out how to pitch his game in the major leagues and will continue to put up Jamie Moyer-like numbers. The fences being moved back will help him particularly since he did give up 31 homeruns last season and had a .63 ground out to fly out ratio last season. Barring injury, he'll certainly be among the top three starters.

  • Jeremy Affeldt (L) - Affeldt has had reoccurring blister problems the last 2 years throwing only 203 innings over that span. While he has he best stuff of the Royals pitchers, his h/ip has not been exceptional (about a hit per inning) although his bb/ip dropped dramatically last season. To address the blister problem he finally had half of his fingernail removed this offseason. Hopefully that will clear up the problem and we'll get to see him realize his potential. Although I think he can be a devastating reliever, the Royals don't really need him in that role this year and so of course I'd much rather see him get 200 innings in the rotation.

  • Brian Anderson (L) - Anderson had perhaps his best season last year, giving up a little over a hit per inning and walking only 1.95 batters per 9 innings. He'll be 32 this April and should be able to pitch a couple more solid seasons and will certianly be among the top 3 starters. Ground ball pitcher so the fences won't help him as much.

  • Kevin Appier (R) - Recovering from elbow surgery but won't be ready to pitch until mid to late April. I'd be suprised if he comes back with much at age 36. Although the Royals are paying him league minimum while the Angels pick up his $12M salary, I wouldn't look for him to contribute much but hopefully he can fill in and give a 100 innings or so like Lima did last year.

  • Miguel Asencio (R) - Just 23 years old but coming off surgery in the middle of last season to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. His problem is that his strikeout/walk ratio for his career is 1.0 (85 of each in 171 innings). That just too many walks and not enough strikeouts when you have that many walks. He doesn't give up many homeruns and is a ground ball pitcher which helps him. He might be a servicable 5th starter and if healthy could eat up some innings.

  • Kyle Snyder (R) - 26 years old but was on the DL twice last season with should stiffness and ended the season on the DL. His stats were bad, giving up lots of homeruns. Thus far he doesn't look like anything special and I'm concerned that he can stay healthy for an entire season.

  • Jimmy Gobble (L) - Also 23 and one of the most interesting options the Royals have. Gobble's stats were not that bad last year (better than I thought), walking 15 batters in 52.7 innings while giving up 56 hits. However, he's an extreme fly ball pitcher (.55 GO/FO ratio) so he gave up 8 homeruns in thost 50 innings (which is why I assumed they were worse, having witnessed several of those blasts). Moving the fences back may help him the most and he could conceivably compete for the 4th starter.

  • Chris George (L) - 24 year old who was beaten around mercilessly last year giving up 164 baserunners in 94 innings to go along with 22 homeruns and fewer strikeouts than walks. His 2001 season was more promising although he still gave up alot of homeruns. Given last year I wouldn't be suprised if he doesn't find a spot on the roster.

  • So what I see is May, Affeldt, and Anderson with solid jobs and Asencio, Gobble, and Snyder competing for the other two spots with Appier as insurance and Geroge aways behind.

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