Kansas City Royals: Rotation Continues To Struggle

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Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) – Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Exhausting the Bullpen

I do think it’s silly to hear people worry about over-working this Royals bullpen. I mean, yeah, if it were just Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, then go ahead and worry. That’s not the case though.

Maybe they don’t have elite stuff like the others, but Luke Hochevar and Ryan Madson aren’t far behind. When you then throw in a full season of Jason Frasor, and I’m simply not worried about over-working the pen. A pen with four to five closer type pitchers is plenty strong enough to weather this storm.

A rough estimate of 500 innings should be all you need from your bullpen, and probably a little less than that if you plan to be a good team. If the Royals only split that amongst the six relievers I mentioned above, that would be about 83 innings each. That is a lot.

The Royals generally carry seven relievers though. Dividing 500 innings amongst seven relievers evenly, puts them at about 71 innings. Obviously, the innings aren’t split evenly, but to give you an idea, here’s what the big three (HDH) contributed last year:

Herrera- 70 IP (has logged as many as 84 in a season, and remained effective)

Davis- 72 IP

Holland- 62 IP (highest he’s logged is 67)

Mind you, these three did this in a year that featured seven starts from a woefully awful Bruce Chen, just 17.2 innings from Frasor, and no help from Hochevar or Madson.

Chris Young seems ticketed back to the bullpen soon as the long relief guy as Vargas returns from injury, and he will eat up a large chunk of innings as well.  If Ventura and Duffy continue to flounder in the rotation, they may get demoted to long-reliever, and the Royals also have a healing Kris Medlen on the horizon who could help in either the rotation or the pen.

Throw in some contributions from Franklin Morales, garbage time innings from guys like Yohan Pino, and this bullpen is just fine, and is the least of my concerns.

Next: Tampering with the lineup