Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter likes the potential of Nelson Velázquez.
It will be important for Velazquez to continue that upward trend in xwOBA against breaking and offspeed pitches, while still maintaining his sterling effectiveness against fastball pitches in 2024.
However, Royals fans won’t know for sure how much he has improved in this area until the games are played, starting in Arizona in the Cactus League.
That is why the Royals and Royals fans probably need to be cautious for now.
Kyle Jones at Farm to Fountains considers the best case scenario for the Royals.
Wacha has had a couple of down years, but he has been a steady option more often than not. Over the past two seasons, he had a 3.27 ERA across 47 starts. His WHIP in that span was just 1.14. Lugo, on the other hand, has kept his ERA under 3.61 in each of the past three seasons and has done so in all but two of his eight years in the majors. He also sports a pretty solid WHIP, hovering around 1.19 over the past two seasons. 2023 was his first season as a full-time starter, and aside from a slight drop in SO/9, he was essentially the same pitcher in terms of effectiveness.
Are those two aces? No. Are they the team’s top starters? Probably not. Are they going to significantly improve the Royals’ rotation and raise the floor of the team as a whole? Absolutely. They aren’t flashy, but they’re effective. Those two plus Ragans (assuming he stays at the same level as his 2023) are a solid trio and a substantial upgrade over last year.
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