The Royals rotation is in a bit of flux right now with Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, and Danny Duffy all on the disabled list, and names like Yohan Pino and Joe Blanton receiving starts recently. Royals starters have the second-worst ERA in the league at 4.28, and are dead last in xFIP at 4.53. They have pitched by far the fewest innings in the league, and only Twins starters have a worse strikeout rate.
Danny Duffy is expected to return from the disabled list on Wednesday and Yordano Ventura and Jason Vargas could both return by the end of the month. Also coming into the mix soon is free agent pitcher Kris Medlen, currently rehabbing from a second Tommy John surgery in AA Northwest Arkansas. Chris Young has produced far beyond expectations, but his strategy of allowing fly balls can be an adventure at times as we found out on Sunday, and he wore down last year as the season progressed. Jeremy Guthrie has a tolerable 4.22 ERA outside of his disaster at Yankee Stadium, but that outing DID happen, and Guthrie's low strikeout rate leaves him little room for error.
Tommy John surgery survivor John Lamb is finally putting together a solid season in the minor leagues, but the Royals have been reluctant to give him a start. Joe Blanton has pitched well in a spot start, but it was his first Major League start in three years, so who knows what to expect with him going forward. Yohan Pino is also in the mix, although he struggled in a spot start last week. And is Brandon Finnegan still a starting pitcher or have his command issues this year hurt his chances of seeing a start at Kauffman Stadium this year?
Once Vargas, Ventura, and Medlen are back and healthy, how would you rank the starting pitchers the Royals have at their disposal?
Who is the odd man out of the rotation? Does Chris Young get demoted back to the pen or will the Royals have the guts to leave out J-Guts?
For reference, here are Fangraph's ZIPS projections for the remainder of the year: