Kansas City Royals: Who will take over for Jakob Junis in the rotation?

Kansas City Royals pitcher Jakob Junis (65) (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jakob Junis (65) (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals placed Jakob Junis on the injured list this weekend and now there’s a spot open in the rotation.

Just when the Kansas City Royals‘ rotation was finally set, there’s been a setback, as Jakob Junis has landed on the injured list.

The rest of the rotation is made up of Brad Keller, Danny Duffy, Brady Singer, and Kris Bubic, which should remain for the duration of this shortened season assuming they all stay healthy and pitch well.

With Junis out of action for the unforeseeable future, however, who will fill his spot?

The Kansas City Royals have a few options for the fifth spot.

One is that they can continue to use an opener, something they’ve done frequently this season. It was especially useful when both Junis and Keller had to miss the first few weeks of the season due to their positive COVID-19 test results.

During this time, the Royals relied on Ronald Bolanos and Kyle Zimmer to open games for them and recently, they used Ian Kennedy as an opener and had planned to have Junis piggyback off of Kennedy’s start (which didn’t happen due to Junis’ eventual injury).

Kennedy and Zimmer would both do well in opener roles and we’ve seen both perform well when asked to open a game for the Royals. Kennedy has had many different roles from starter to reliever to closer to reliever and now to opener, but this season has been a tough one for him. He did look good on Saturday when asked to open against the Twins though.

Another option the Royals could, and very well might, consider is to bring up someone from their taxi squad. This could be either another prospect or maybe it could be someone who the team signed.

Royals Farm Report tweeted before Sunday’s game in Minnesota that if he had to guess who got the fifth spot, it’d be between 2018 first round pick Daniel Lynch or recent signee Matt Harvey, who was a first round pick by the Mets in 2010. Royals fans obviously recognize Harvey’s name because he was with the Mets when the Royals faced them in the 2015 World Series.

Should the Royals bring up another prospect and have three of their future starters in the rotation in this shortened season?

If Lynch is doing well, calling him up makes sense, but as Royals Farm Report said in the tweet above, Harvey might be worth a look. He’d provide them a nice veteran to have in the rotation and he and Duffy could help these youngsters with their mechanics.

What do you think, Royals fans? What should the team do with the fifth starter spot? Should they use an opener or bring someone up to fill that void?