Heading into this season, the starting rotation was the primary reason that so many predicted that the Royals would struggle. Nor was this a controversial topic and nary a dissenter was to be found. As the poet once said, "everyone felt the same."
Perhaps because there was such a consensus, the starting rotation really hasn't been a topic of conversation. Make no mistake however, they've been bad.
Royals starters are last in the AL in runs allowed (115), last in the AL in earned runs (106), last in the AL in home runs surrendered (29), last in the AL in SLG allowed (.461), last in the AL in K/9 (5.07) and 13th in K/BB (1.85). The staff ERA is 4.75, which is 13th in the AL.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Although these struggles have been partially obscured by the overall downturn in run scoring in the AL (the league starter ERA is 3.89) the starting rotation has, indeed, been the disaster that everyone saw coming. The scary thing is that the Royals have received relatively good work from Chen and SOS, along with those handful of starts in which Francis looked like the new Jimmy Key or some such.
By reputation the Royals are also fielding one of their more competent defenses of recent vintage, with all-glove players at SS and 2B and better than expected defense in the OF. It hasn't been enough. Especially scary are the home run numbers, which are already high. If Royal starters are allowing this many round-trippers when the whether has been mostly cold and wet, I don't want to see what happens during the middle of summer.
I'd be lying if I told you I knew what the future was for this bunch. I didn't see the Hosmer promotion coming. So while many are predicting that a number of prospects will be up soon, the specific timetable or the names involved is anyone's guess. For now, we know what we're dealing with.