Should the Kansas City Royals Start Wade Davis?
When the Kansas City Royals shipped Wil Myers and company to the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the off-season, mostly everyone focused only on James Shields coming back to KCMo. No one seemed to care all too much that the Royals were getting another solid arm in Wade Davis, too. Just the other day, I wrote about how awesome I think Kansas City’s bullpen–including Davis–will be entering the 2013 season. Then it was discovered that Royals plan on using Davis in the rotation, making half of what I wrote irrelevant. While fair and entirely possible, should the Royals use Davis in their starting rotation?
Davis is a very peculiar case when it comes to pitching. He came up through Tampa Bay’s system as one of their better pitching prospects. I mean, what’s not to love about a guy who can consistently throw in the upper 90s? From 2009-2011, Davis was a full-time starting pitcher, yet he never really had that good of a season. In fact, his best season, in terms of fWAR, was his “rookie” season, where he only had six starts. In the two seasons following 2009, Davis never even earned a full win, according to FanGraphs.
With a stacked rotation in 2012, the Rays moved Davis and his diminishing strikeout rate to the bullpen. In 70 1/3 innings, Davis helped the Rays’ bullpen become one of the best in baseball, going 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA and a 11.13 K/9 ratio. The bullpen is where he belongs in 2013. He isn’t your situational, one-inning reliever either. He is the type of reliever that managers love having in their bullpen because he could throw multiple innings if needed.
If the Royals want to start him, it may hurt him and the team throughout the course of the season. Lastly, what would you rather have: an elite reliever or a mediocre starter? I would go with the elite reliever ten times out of ten, but that’s just me. What say you?