KC Royals: Jake Junis making strong case to join rotation full time

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals have seen their fair share of problems within the starting rotation this season, so it’s been nice to see rookie Jake Junis step up when he’s been asked to make a spot start.

Early on the 2017 Major League Baseball season, the Kansas City Royals had one of the best starting rotations in the league. It was the lack of offense that strongly held this team back from starting off the season on a tear.

Now, however, the Royals’ rotation has fallen back down to Earth, as expected. Danny Duffy spent time on the disabled list, Jason Vargas has had a “meh” second half so far, and Nate Karns only started eight games before needing season-ending surgery.

The rotation had certainly seen better days, but it has been nice to see what Jake Junis has been able to provide in his few appearances this season. Junis, a 24-year old who the Royals drafted in the 29th round in the 2011 MLB Draft, has stepped up when he’s been asked to pitch (no pun intended) in.

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Junis has started eight games this year and appeared in 11 games total. He’s thrown in exactly 50 innings to this point and has a 4.50 ERA and 1.300 WHIP with a 5-2 record and 39 strikeouts to his name.

While his ERA isn’t the most eye pleasing, Junis has really delivered in his last two starts, throwing 14 innings and surrendering only three runs during that time. Both games resulted in victories for Kansas City.

When the Kansas City Royals went out and traded for Trevor Cahill, fans thought “This is it! This is our postseason rotation!”, but man… Cahill has been a dud. I’m not saying that Junis is a better pitcher than Cahill, but so far for the Royals, he’s outperformed the former Padre and it’s not even a close contest.

When Cahill gets off the disabled list, I’d stick him in the bullpen and leave Junis as a starter. Cahill has pitched in relief before, so it’s not too crazy of an idea honestly.

With a lot of questions remaining for the KC Royals after the 2017 season wraps up, it’s nice to see Jake Junis pitching well. Vargas will likely be gone this offseason, but it’s looking more and more like an option to put Junis into the rotation full-time.

In a season where rookies have really had some big flashes for the Royals, Junis is yet another bright spot for the future of this organization. He might not be an ace, but the Royals don’t need him to be. They just need him to keep pitching as well as he has been in his last two outings.