The Royals had the third-worst team ERA in MLB last year (5.17), so massive improvements were necessary to field a competitive ballclub in 2024.
Well, J.J. Picollo has certainly made some improvements. Kansas City has been one of the most active teams in the offseason, whipping off trades and making huge signings.
It's an exciting time to be a Royals fan after years of mediocrity and that feels beautiful to say. Let's look at the Royals' projected rotation now that the dust is settling from our flurry of transactions.
Projected 2024 Royals' Rotation
1. Seth Lugo
Lugo will be the Royals' highest-paid pitcher this year, so it's logical that he'd get the nod on opening day.
The Royals signed Lugo to a three-year, $45 million deal after a phenomenal season with the San Diego Padres. He finished with a 3.57 ERA in 146.1 innings, striking out 140 batters while walking just 36.
For a rotation in need of reliable pitchers, Lugo provides a huge boost. He's got six pitches in his arsenal, though primarily throws a 4-seam fastball, curveball and sinker. Displaying elite control, Lugo ranked in the 83rd percentile in walk rate in 2023.
Lugo's off-speed pitches pair well with a strong Royals defense. Opponents hit just .206 off his sinker this year and I anticipate a beautiful marriage between these entities.
Perhaps most encouraging is Lugo's ability to eat innings. He threw at least six innings in 10 of his last 13 starts, alleviating pressure on the bullpen and making everyone's jobs a bit easier.
Welcome aboard Seth, we're excited to have you.
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