Kansas City Royals: Alec Mills Could Be Fifth Starter

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Alec Mills (63) - Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Alec Mills (63) - Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Royals desperately need a fifth starter with upside. The revolving door of inconsistent starters is hurting this teams chances of winning games. Alec Mills could be the answer.

Alec Mills appeared in one ball game for the Kansas City Royals this season. His first big league performance came against the Boston Red Sox on May 18th. Mills got called up to the big leagues to be the Royals 41st player due to a double-header taking place that day.

He pitched 0.2 innings giving up one hit, one run and two walks. Not the best game for the 24-year-old. After the game he got sent back to Double-A Northwest Arkansas to work on his craft.

He pitched effectively as a starter in Arkansas. He started 12 games for the Naturals accumulating at 2.53 earned run average (ERA) in 67.2 innings. He struck out 68 batters while walking 12 for a of 5.67 strikeout to walk ratio. He bolstered a walk hits divided by innings pitched (WHIP) of 1.020 for the Royals Double-A affiliate.

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Because of his fantastic numbers at Northwest Arkansas, Mills got promoted to Triple-A Omaha. In five games and 29 innings pitched, Mills achieved a 3.41 ERA with 24 strikeouts on 10 walks for a strikeout to walk ratio of 2.4. He’s got a WHIP of 1.340 at Omaha as well.

Mills started last nights game for the Omaha Storm Chasers. He lasted 5.2 innings before being pulled from the game. He allowed two earned runs off of three hits and four walks while striking out six batters.

Not the best line for Mills. The four walks stands out the most. He almost gave up a walk per inning pitched. He needs to work on that. The good news is that’s the most walks he’s allowed since June 24th when he gave up three. The previous two starts he pitched 11.2 innings and walked one batter.

Chris Young occupied the fifth starter role for much of the season this year. He struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark allowing 26 home runs. He also accumulated a 6.79 ERA in 61 innings. Most of the home runs were multi-run home runs due to allowing 29 walks.

Dillon Gee replace Chris Young to a various degrees of success. Gee kept the ball in the ballpark but he made a critical error which cost the Kansas City Royals two runs against the Seattle Mariners on July 10th.

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Gee has a solid 4.11 ERA in 57 innings for the Royals. He’s started five games and relieved in 13 games. He’s struck out 49 batters while walking 20 for a 2.45 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s allowed 11 home runs as well.

Both Gee and Young are much older than Mills. Young is 37-years-old, while Gee is 30-years-old. Mills is 13 years younger than Young and six years younger than Gee. This means the wear and tear on Mills’ body should be much less than Young or Gee.

Mills is also three inches taller than Gee at 6’4″. He might not be as tall as Young at 6’10” but big enough to be a prototypical starting pitcher in the major leagues.

Since Mills pitched last night, that sets him up to be available on Tuesday to be the mystery fifth starter. Ned Yost pondered on starting Mills over Gee on July 10th against the Mariners. Mills could be a name for consider again.

He will have to beat out Gee and Brian Flynn for the starting spot. Flynn’s looked good out of the bullpen for the Kansas City Royals. Yost could leave him in the pen as a left-handed specialist instead of trying to stretch him out as a starting pitcher.

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It looks more and more like Mills will get the start as each passing day goes by. Only time will tell if Mills gets the job however. His numbers and age seem to warrant a shot at taking the spot but it’s up to Dayton Moore, Ned Yost and their staff to make the call. Your move fellas.