Pair of Kansas City Royals Off to Hot Starts

Nino CollaSenior Writer IApril 10, 2008

Brian Bannister and Zack Greinke.

Huh, who?

Combined they are 4-0 with 15 strikeouts, three earned runs surrendered, and 27 innings pitched.

By comparison, Johan Santana has surrendered three earned runs in 14 innings pitched.

These two early season studs are probably the biggest reasons the Royals are sitting on top of the American League Central right now.

They've been nothing short of spectacular by taking on the juggernaut lineups they have faced and practically shut them down.

The Detroit Tigers with Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria added into the mix?

Come on, you can do better.

How about the New York Yankees and their slugging MVP Alex Rodriguez?

Piece of cake!

Greinke and Bannister held the Tigers to one single run, making them look foolish at the plate in the process.

Bannister used his off-speed stuff effectively and kept the Tigers off balance the entire game. It allowed him to go seven strong innings and only give up a pair of hits.

Bannister wasn't as dominant against the Yankees in his next start, but racked up a few more strikeouts, including three from Rodriguez himself.

Greinke has been equally impressive, shutting out the Yankees for eight innings. So far Greinke's lone run surrendered was a home run by Brandon Inge.

Both of these players have gotten to where they are in unusual ways.

Greinke is still young, despite being in the big leagues for a rather long time. He started 24 games his rookie year back in 2004 and showed some very nasty stuff as he struck out 100 batters.

Greinke returned next year to pitch in more games, but give up more runs, and lose more games. He followed that up with a basically lost year.

He pitched in three games, but Zack was a lost soul. He struggled in his personal life with social anxiety problems and some say he had trouble working on a team with others.

Last year he returned to the big league roster to pitch in 52 games, most as a reliever. He struck out 102 batters and seemed to get over his problems.

This year he won a rotation spot and is pitching like the young stud everyone in the Royals organization knew he could be. The beauty of it all is he is still only 24 years old, and his best years are in front of him.

Brian Bannister is 27 years old and last year was his official rookie season.

He actually made his debut when he was 25 and with the Mets, but it was cut short due to hamstring issues. He wouldn't get another shot with New York because that offseason they shipped him to Kansas City.

Bannister was one of the best pitchers in the second half of the 2007 season. His late charge gave him a third place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Bannister won nine games between the two months of June and August; not too bad for a walk-on second baseman at Southern Cal.

His strong second half has translated into a great start to 2008 where he is a guy the Royals can depend on in every start.

Big time, high run scoring potential lineups beware. These two young Kansas City studs are ready to shut you guys down.

If one doesn't get you, the other likely will.