4 Royals on Thin Ice Entering Spring Training

Jordan Lyles posted a 6.28 ERA in 31 starts in 2023
Jordan Lyles posted a 6.28 ERA in 31 starts in 2023 / Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Jordan Lyles - SP

Lyles was brought on board to chew up innings. In that regard, he was successful, leading all Royals pitchers with 177.2 innings pitched in 31 starts. Unfortunately, he wasn't successful at actually being an effective pitcher as he posted a 6-17 record with a 6.28 ERA.

Kansas City had to continue trotting Lyles out as a necessity in 2023, but the additions of Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha as well as the continued development of pitchers like Cole Ragans, Daniel Lynch, Alec Marsh, and even lower-tier guys like Asa Lacy could make reduce that necessity.

With an ERA above 7.00 in 2020 and 5.00 in 2021, Lyles has struggled for years to limit hard contact and keep his team in games. At some point, just pitching a lot of innings won't be enough if this organization wants to contend.

He gave up 1.98 home runs per nine innings, the third-worst mark in MLB last year and especially damaging considering so many of his starts came in the pitcher-friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium.

Should Lyles struggle and any one of the developmental pitchers succeeds, it'll be tougher to justify keeping Lyles in the rotation.

Considering he's a free agent after this season, this could be his last chance to prove he deserves to take the mound every five days in the majors.