It might have taken him a little while to get there, but Luiz Mendoza might turn out to be a little more than a reliable back-end starter for the 2013 Kansas City Royals yet.
Coming off his first full season as a starter in 2012 in which he accumulated 1.6 fWAR while posting a 4.23/1.42 ERA, the right-hander’s role on this team — well, at least as far as season-long prospects go — were not all too positive. After all, there are several ‘set’ starters in front of him and with Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino looming … let’s just say he had to make a strong impression with the opportunity he got.
Yet, that’s exactly what the 29-year-old has done over the last month.
Sure, it wasn’t without its bumps (a 4.1 IP outing on June 4 where he allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks, for example), but since his six-run, four-inning beating at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays on May 1, Mendoza has been a minor revelation of sorts.
He picked up a little bit of revenge on the way, too. Taking on the Rays for the second time this season on Friday, the right-hander stymied Joe Maddon and co. through six innings, allowing just a pair of runs on seven hits, two walks, while striking out three.
That earned him just his second victory of the season, and while the walks remain a bit of concern with Mendoza (he’s allowed two or more in five out of his last eight), but it’s hard to argue with the results.
Quality results, that is. Aside from his little stumble at the beginning of June, the right-hander has given the Royals a chance to win more often than not. With five quality starts over his last eight outings and allowing just 15 runs on 50 hits and 16 walks in 46 innings, he’s been good for a nifty 2.93 ERA in that span (even if his WHIP is a not-so-good 1.43 … but we’re staying positive here, right?).
Take away the stumble at the beginning of June? That ERA/WHIP drops to 2.61/1.35.
Which is not to say that Mendoza is actually a fantastic picture, of course, but rather than he can be a plenty useful one. Just don’t be surprised if the decisions over the starting rotation end up being more difficult than they might have initially seemed after the reinforcements arrive later in the summer, that’s all.