There are many strengths on the Kansas City Royals, and one of those would be the pitching staff. It appears that the Royals have a young and solid bullpen to go along with a starting rotation that could be a surprise, depending on the efforts put forth by the team’s No. 4 and 5 starters. Here is a look at the fantasy prospects for Kansas City’s pitching staff going into the 2014 season.
2014 Kansas City Royals - Pitching Staff Preview
2013 Stats: 13-9 W-L; 3.15 ERA, 1.238 WHIP, 196K/68BB
Shields finished 13-9 last season in his first year in Kansas City with a 3.15 ERA. He is going to be expected to lead the Royals to big things in 2014, and he needs to come up with more wins to make that happen. If Shields can put up 14-17 wins and with an ERA around 3.30, he is going to help fantasy owners in a big way, as well. He is a solid pick around the seventh round.
2013 Stats: 15-12 W-L; 4.04 ERA, 1.394 WHIP, 111K/59BB
Guthrie put up a 15-12 record last season with an ERA of 4.04 for a career high in wins. With the Royals losing Ervin Santana to free agency, Guthrie is going to be depended upon to pitch well behind Shields in the rotation all season long. A season with 13-16 victories would be great for fantasy owners. He is a player who could be taken late in drafts to fill a back-end starting pitcher position.
2013 Stats: 9-8 W-L; 4.02 ERA, 1.387 WHIP, 109K/46BB
The big free-agent pickup for the Royals was Vargas, who went just 9-8 last season for the Los Angeles Angels with a 4.02 ERA. That kind of season won’t work for fantasy players if he is going to be worth drafting and owning. He can be better, and has won as many as 14 games in a season in the past. He isn’t someone worth drafting right off the bat in mixed leagues, but a pitcher worth keeping an eye on as the season wears on.
2013 Stats: 2-0 W-L; 1.85 ERA, 1.356 WHIP, 22K/14BB
Duffy got in just five starts in 2013 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he made the most of those starts with a 2-0 record and a 1.85 ERA. You can't expected that he will put up those kinds of numbers over a full season, especially since he has pitched in just 11 games over the past two seasons. Duffy shouldn’t be drafted right away, but if he starts solidly, he will be worth a pickup in deeper leagues.
2013 Stats: 9-4 W-L; 3.27 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, 78K/36BB
Chen went 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA over 34 appearances last season for Kansas City in a shuttle between the rotation and the bullpen. He is on a one-year deal and will be taking up the No. 5 spot in the rotation. He isn't going to help fantasy owners much out of the gate, but if he can come close to the ERA he posted last season, there may be some potential there for Chen to be have an impact in the second half.
2013 Stats: 2-1 W-L; 1.21 ERA, 0.866 WHIP, 103K/18BB
If fantasy owners are looking for the first closer off the board, it could easily be Holland after a 2013 year to remember. Holland went 2-1 with a 1.21 ERA and 47 saves. The ERA is likely going to increase some, but not too much. Another season with 40-45 saves is in the cards, with an ERA around 2.10 in all likelihood. He should be picked right around the fifth round at the beginning of the first run on closers.
2013 Stats: 7-5 W-L; 3.38 ERA, 1.479 WHIP, 44K/22BB
Crow showed what he can do in a set-up role in 2013 with a 7-5 record and a 3.38 ERA while finishing 14 games. He struck out 44 in 48 innings. He has the stuff to be a closer if something were to happen to Holland, but will be very effective in leagues where holds are a statistic. He should be able to get the ERA down around 3.15 by the end of 2014 with 20-25 holds and a couple of saves to go with it.
2013 Stats: 3-6 W-L; 3.54 ERA, 1.444 WHIP, 52K/28BB
The crafty lefty went 3-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 2013 and has pitched well in the seventh-inning role for Kansas City in recent years. His statistics have been very similar in each of his three years with the Royals, so not a lot of change should be expected. Collins is a pitcher worth drafting only in leagues where holds are counted, or as a short-term pickup for owners looking to work on their rate stats.
2013 Stats: 5-7 W-L; 3.86 ERA, 1.183 WHIP, 74K/21BB
Herrera is working into a more supporting role in the Kansas City bullpen, but is showing the ability to take over the seventh- or eighth-inning jobs if needed. Herrera went 5-7 with a 3.86 ERA in 2013 after posting a 2.35 ERA in 2012. He will be better this season, especially without having the pressure of pitching in late-game situations. Herrera isn’t someone worth investing in on draft day, though.
2013 Stats: 5-2 W-L; 1.92 ERA, 0.825 WHIP, 82K/17BB
Hochevar was sent to the bullpen full time last season, and came up with the best year of his career, compiling a 5-2 record and 1.92 ERA in 58 games. He will get plenty of chances to repeat those numbers in 2014. He could be worth a flyer with the last pick of the draft, especially if he can repeat his 2013 season, but there will likely be higher upside guys available.
2013 Stats: 8-11 W-L; 5.32 ERA, 1.677 WHIP, 114K/58BB
The 2013 season wasn't kind to Davis, as he pitched to an 8-11 record and 5.32 ERA in 24 starts. The Royals had higher expectations for Davis, but he wasn't able to deliver. The 2014 season has all the makings of a bounceback season, though, as long as he can crack the rotation. Davis should be able to shuttle between the bullpen and the rotation and manage an ERA closer to 4.45 in his second season in Kansas City, but he isn't worth drafting with that kin of production.