2014 Opening Day: A Look At The Kansas City Royals Roster

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Kansas City Royals SP James Shields

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Pitchers:  James Shields, Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, Jeremy Guthrie, and Bruce Chen

Grade: C+

Pitching was one of the biggest strengths of this team last season, as both Shields and Ervin Santana were Top 10 in ERA in the AL and Guthrie was Top 10 in wins in the AL, according to ESPN.com. Shields and Guthrie are the only regular starters returning this year. Chen started 15 games last year, but shared the 5th spot with Luis Mendoza.

With the departure of Santana, a big hole was left. Vargas definitely will fill the void, but I doubt he can play as well as Santana did last season. Ventura beat out Danny Duffy this season for the final rotation spot. Ventura has been solid all spring, but we will see if that transition into the regular season.

Overall, this pitching staff is a downgrade from last season. The “C+” grade is based on what I see now; that can definitely change if Ventura continues to progress and pitch well once April comes.