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Gamethread LXIII: Royals at Athletics

The Kowar Strikes Back! (We hope)

Jackson Kowar throws a pitch against the Angels Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

2021 marks the first season the Royals have ever had four guys from the same draft class make a start all in the same season. Unfortunately while that sounds very impressive the results include a 54.00 ERA, a 15.75 ERA, a 4.85 ERA, and a 4.26 ERA. These were not the results Royals fans were dreaming of the day after the 2018 amateur draft started off with a bang when the Royals took four straight college pitchers with their first four picks, all either in the first round or immediately following it as part of compensatory rounds.

There is good news, though! Kris Bubic had three excellent starts before bombing in his last two. Brady Singer has been the second-most valuable starter on the staff after only the phenomenal (but injured) Danny Duffy and there are lots of reasons to think he’s pitched better than his results including a FIP, xFIP, and xERA that are all about a run less than his actual ERA. Daniel Lynch is currently toiling in AAA to resolve the pitch-tipping issue that led to his unsightly ERA and Jackson Kowar will make his second major league start today with a chance to put a massive dent in that massive ERA.

The Athletics will counter with rookie James Kaprielian. The bad news is that he’s pitched well so far for the Athletics so far, this year. The good news is that overall he projects as a reliever which means he’s not an infallible prospect. Even better news for the Royals is that his best pitch is allegedly his fastball; if there is a rookie who can be beaten by the boys in blue, it’s one who is going to rely a lot on his fastball.