Pitching Rebound in 2023

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals have been awful this year, however there are signs that things may turnaround quickly for the pitching staff next year.

The struggles for the rotation and the bullpen this year have different root causes. The rotation suffered from key guys not taking a step forward or regressing. With the poor rotation, the bullpen had to cover more innings with a relief corp hit by several injuries.

Below is how I think the pitching staff will shake out at the start of next season.

Rotation candidates in order of value:
1. Brady Singer
2. Daniel Lynch
3. Jonathan Heasley
4. Max Castillo
5. Angel Zerpa
Brad Keller
Carlos Hernandez
Kris Bubic

Zack Greinke can barely go five innings, he needs to retire unless the Royals let him pitch once per week – not likely.

The top five would not be a great rotation, but another year of experience and development with better coaches should show in the results. If the starters average one to three more outs per outing that would improve the bullpen (the best relievers would throw a higher percentage of overall bullpen innings).

Hernandez and Keller could be strong bullpen pieces after a winter of mentally adjusting to and accepting the role like Wade Davis did.

Bullpen candidates in order of value:
Returning veterans
1. Scott Barlow
2. Josh Staumont
3. Dylan Coleman

Rotation extras
4. Brad Keller
5. Carlos Hernandez
6. Kris Bubic

Return from Injury
7. Jake Brentz
8. Richard Lovelady
9. Tyler Zuber

Interchangeable guys
10. Amir Garrett
11. Jose Cuas
12. Taylor Clarke
13. Collin Snider
14. Gabe Speier
Several others/free agent signings/AAAA guys

The farm system has some pieces that could be ready to contribute by mid-season, especially if the pitching development staff is overhauled with quality coaches.

  • Alec Marsh
  • Andres Nunez
  • Andres Sotillet
  • Austin Cox
  • Drew Parish
  • Jackson Kowar
  • Jonathan Bowlan
  • Josh Dye
  • Nathan Webb
  • Yefri Del Rosario
  • Others

The keys to the potential rebound are starters pitching more innings and the bullpen being overhauled with the former starters and the return from injury of decent relievers with some experience.

For the off-season, the Royals should not look at signing free agent pitchers, but should put their money into the overhaul of pitching development staff. With the quantity of AAAA pitchers the Royals have, the new coaches should be able to turn a few into quality contributors in short order.

And if the young hitters build on their first year success, the Royals could easily be a wild card team in 2023.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.