Kansas City Royals: Predicting their 2012 Starting Rotation and Bullpen

Bill Robbins@bill_kc28Correspondent ISeptember 27, 2011

Kansas City Royals: Predicting their 2012 Starting Rotation and Bullpen

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    With the 2011 MLB regular season now just days away from being over, it's time to look ahead to what is to come in 2012.

    The Kansas City Royals had one of the youngest pitching staffs in all of baseball, as they had seven different pitchers that had their MLB debuts this season.

    Since both the starting rotation and 'pen were so young, I don't expect there to be much change in  personnel for next year.

    Here is the Royals predicted starting rotation and bullpen for the 2012 season.

SP: Luke Hochevar

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    Hochevar, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, has yet to pan out for the Royals.

    However, he did have one of his better seasons this year when he went 11-11 with a 4.68 ERA in 31 starts.

    His performance in 2011 will be good enough to give him another spot in the starting rotation next season, but if his numbers don't improve, this might be his last run in a KC uniform.

SP: Bruce Chen

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    The veteran lefty turned in another solid campaign for the boys in blue in 2011.

    He won 12 games and had a sub-four ERA for one of the worst starting rotations in all of baseball.

    Look for Chen's name to be called upon to once again be an innings eater for this staff next season.

SP: Felipe Paulino

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    Veteran Felipe Paulino was traded to the Royals from the Rockies in the early part of this season.

    He wound up going 3-6 with a 4.10 ERA and struck out 110 hitters for the year.

    Although he might not become anything more than an average ML starter, he has the potential to do great things on the mound in the future.

SP: Danny Duffy

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    Rookie Danny Duffy had an up and down first season in the majors in 2011.

    He went just 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA, but showed flashes of greatness in some of his starts with the team.

    The Royals are just hoping that these flashes of greatness can turn into big league success starting next season.

SP: Mike Montgomery

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    Mike Montgomery might be the biggest long-shot to make the KC rotation in 2012.

    Like his former minor-league teammate Danny Duffy, he has a ton of talent and loads of potential for a young starting pitcher.

    I expect him to have a solid spring training and likely make the team as the fifth starter heading into Opening Day 2012.

RP: Tim Collins

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    "Tiny Tim" Collins had a solid, not spectacular first season in the bigs this year.

    On one hand, he held opposing hitters to a .218 batting average and picked up 10 holds, while on the other hand, he had a 1.52 WHIP and issued 48 walks in 66 innings pitched.

    The Royals like him because of his lefty arm and his ability to get strikeouts, which should keep him on the team for many years into the future.

RP: Blake Wood

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    Wood was a very dependable right-handed arm out of the Royals' pen this season.

    He ended up going 5-2 with a 3.65 ERA and racked up five holds as well.

    Next season, he will once again be counted on to get out hitters before the team hands the ball off to setup man Greg Holland and All-Star closer Joakim Soria.

RP: Aaron Crow

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    Rookie Aaron Crow was easily one of the best surprise stories in all of baseball this season.

    After struggling mightily in Double-A ball last season, Crow made the big league team after an impressive spring and then made the AL All-Star squad after a very successful fist half of the season.

    Although there has been talks of Crow, the one-time starter in college, resuming that role in the majors, I see him staying in the KC bullpen for the time being.

RP: Nate Adcock

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    The former rule five pick of Kansas City did not have an impressive rookie season out of the 'pen.

    He went 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA and let opposing hitters bat .272 against him as well.

    I expect the Royals to give him another chance to succeed next year, as he needs much more time to help polish his skills on the mound.

RP: Louis Coleman

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    Coleman was very dominant out of the 'pen this year for KC.

    His side-arm delivery caught many opposing batters off guard in his first season in the majors, that he held hitters to a .207 batting average against him.

    I expect him to pick up where he left off next year in the Kansas City bullpen.

SU: Greg Holland

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    Greg Holland was one of the best success stories for the Royals pitching staff this season.

    After a dismal stint in 2010, he went 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA, while becoming one of the most dominant relievers in the American League.

    Look for the former Western Carolina star to continue his recent success in 2012.

CL: Joakim Soria

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    Soria had statistically his worst season in the big leagues this year.

    He went 5-5 with a 4.03 ERA and blew seven save opportunities in the process.

    However, he still had 28 saves and appears to be the team's closer when the new season begins next April.