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Kansas City Royals need to stick with Eric Skoglund in rotation

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Eric Skoglund #53 of the Kansas City Royals makes adjustments as he stands on the mound during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 17, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Eric Skoglund
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Eric Skoglund #53 of the Kansas City Royals makes adjustments as he stands on the mound during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 17, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Eric Skoglund /
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Kansas City Royals fans might disagree, but sticking with Eric Skoglund as the fifth starter in the rotation is a smart move for the organization.

When Nate Karns hit the disabled list during spring training, it put the Kansas City Royals in a tough spot. They had to figure out who their fifth starter was going to be and they settled on former Central Florida pitcher Eric Skoglund.

Skoglund made a few starts last season, including his gem of a debut in May 2017 where he threw  6.1 scoreless innings while going toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander (then with the Tigers). Skoglund didn’t impress much after that stunning premiere, ending his rookie campaign with an ERA of 9.50.

The plan for Skoglund this season was likely having him start games in the minors or be a reliever for the Royals. Instead, the 25-year old was thrust into the starting rotation and while the numbers haven’t been great, the Royals can’t give up on Skoglund quite yet.

Dayton Moore made it clear that he didn’t have plans to move Skoglund into the bullpen not long ago. That happened when the team opted not to bring Clay Buchholz up to the big leagues and he cited being pleased with Skoglund as a reason why.

So far this season, Eric Skoglund hasn’t been tremendous, but he’s improving. Just three starts ago, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the White Sox. During that start, Skoglund walked just one batter while striking out nine.

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That start showed that Skoglund still has some of that “debut” potential in him. This is as good a season as any to give someone like Skoglund a chance to prove himself as a starter.

Worse case scenario, the Royals work some of that 2014-2017 magic where they convert him into a dominant reliever. You know, the whole “failed starter to reliever” area that they’ve excelled in under Dayton Moore.

I’m very pro-Eric Skoglund and people often ask why. The answer is simple. He’s still young and he’s shown that when he’s on, he’s VERY good. Right now the guy just needs to find his command and figure out his best pitches on the mound. He also needs to work on going past five innings, which he’s done just twice this season.

In his most recent start, which came Wednesday night in Baltimore, Skoglund surrendered three runs in 6.1 innings of work. He struck out three batters and walked one. The start brought Skoglund’s ERA down from 6.84 to 6.34, which isn’t great obviously, but hey… He’s still trying to figure it out.

Skoglund might get pulled from the rotation at some point, but for now, the Kansas City Royals need to not give up on him. The team is rebuilding and it’s a great opportunity to give the former third round pick some meaningful innings on the mound.

What are your thoughts on Eric Skoglund?