Predicting the Kansas City Royals 2013 Starting Rotation

Jeremy Sickel@ IIIAugust 23, 2012

August 19, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (33) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

It has been well documented over the years that the biggest obstacle preventing the Kansas City Royals from being competitive on a yearly basis has been the performance (or lack thereof) of its starting pitching.

Culpability for the Royals’ rotation woes can be aimed in many different directions. As a result, there really hasn’t been an encouraging year from the starting pitchers collectively in recent memory.

Lack of development, lack of talent, lack of confidence, lack of health and a lack financial resources to properly assemble a collection of capable arms have all contributed to the Royals’ lackluster results from the anchors of its pitching staff. 

In summation, the Royals simply LACK too much.

Unless once-highly-touted prospect Mike Montgomery learns how to pitch again, Luke Hochevar can flip the switch to ON for more than three consecutive starts, Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy can make successful (speedy) recoveries from Tommy John surgery or David Glass stops running the organization like a Wal-Mart, the Royals are staring at much of the same from its starting pitching in 2013—a rag-tag assortment of inconsistent underachievers.

Predicting the Royals’ 2013 starting lineup was fairly simple. Most of the offensive pieces are already in place and there are specific players on the way to fill the perceived holes.

But trying to guess how the 2013 starting rotation will be pieced together is like playing Yahtzee with 15 dice all bearing four or five pips. You get it? No ones, twos or threes in the entire bunch.

There are two ways to look at this: optimistically or realistically.

If the Royals are to continue striding toward the ultimate goal of the “process” set forth by general manager Dayton Moore, an optimistic view on how the starting rotation will look next year is imperative and must become reality. For that to happen, Glass must crack open the pocketbook a bit (a lot).

Here is a glass-half-full look at how the Royals starting pitching could look when camp breaks next spring.

  1. Shaun Marcum
  2. Anibal Sanchez
  3. Jeremy Guthrie
  4. Will Smith
  5. Jake Odorizzi

While this isn’t a cast of frontline arms, it is certainly an upgrade from what the Royals have been throwing out for close to two decades now.

The Royals’ allegiance to Hochevar and Bruce Chen is alarming, but must be tossed aside for this team to begin to transform into a competitor. And middling pitchers like Luis Mendoza have no place in the future of the organization (as a starter) and should be replaced by up-and-comer Jake Odorizzi. 

One of the talented arms in the Royals system has to pan out eventually right?

However, history has shown that either the money will not be spent or that Kansas City simply isn’t a desired destination when compared to the New Yorks, Chicagos and Hollywoods of the world.

So here is a more realistic look at what the Royals starting rotation could look like when the 2013 season begins.

  1. Jeremy Guthrie
  2. Luke Hochevar
  3. Bruce Chen
  4. Will Smith
  5. Jake Odorizzi


Jeremy Guthrie has stated that he likes it in Kansas City. But if the Royals really want him on the staff next season they will need to act quickly, as he is pitching very well lately and could demand a much larger price come the offseason.

Moore and the Royals like to squeeze every last ounce of what they can get out of certain players (see Kyle Davies and Jeff Francoeur). This means that Hochevar and Chen will more than likely call Kansas City home for at least one more season.

Smith has shown promise this year and Odorizzi should finish out the season strong in Omaha (and hopefully get a taste of the bigs in September) to earn a spot in the 2013 rotation.

The eventual returns of Paulino and Duffy could serve as an in-house excuse for the team to not make too big of a splash in the free-agent market, something that is absolutely necessary for the Royals to compete over the long haul. 

With 2014 being Moore’s target year—the season that everything comes together for the Royals—look for much of the same out of this organization in 2013.


Contact Jeremy at, on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy and at