...how do the Royals compete in the AL Central in 2012?
White Sox xFIP
Switch Duffy for Crow, and it gets even worse for the Royals. And it's likely that Aaron Crow's xFIP would be much higher as a starter. Of course, this is using 2011 xFIPs and thus is a very crude estimation. But it puts the Royals in 4th in the AL Central.
What this says is that the Royals did not improve the starting rotation, which was priority #1 this offseason. Adding Jonathan Sanchez is not enough…in fact, it made our rotation worse from a xFIP perspective (switching Sanchez for Francis).
These Royals starters do not strike fear into the heart of opponents like the starters on other teams. How many of them would you draft in a fantasy baseball draft? Maybe a late round flyer on Paulino? Maybe Sanchez for some K’s? That’s about it. We still need a big impact starter. You have to go through 34 AL starters ranking in WAR before you get to the first Royals starter:
Sabathia 7.1 WAR
Gonzalez 3.5 WAR
Paulino 2.6 WAR
This must change. Back when the Royals were in the playoffs, we had great starting pitching (Splitt, Leonard, Busby, Gura, Saberhagen, Gubicza, Liebrandt, Gordon, Black, etc.)
I just don’t see how we can compete with what we have now…nothing is going to change, even if we have a great hitting team, we won’t have the starting pitching to compete in 2012.
I hold out hope, though, by Dayton Moore's final sentence in the Bruce Chen KC Star story, "It’s a matter of getting the right guys. And we’re not done. We’re still looking to add another pitcher.” Let's hope that pitcher has the ability to post a higher WAR and better xFIP than Felipe Paulino, our best starter from 2011.