By Aaron Charles @aaroncharleskc on April 21, 2014
The Kansas City Royals' pitching staff has been very impressive thus far in the young season. As a team, they've combined for a 2.90 ERA with 132 strikeouts in 143 innings pitched. Though keeping up that pace will not likely happen, let's look at some early-season grades for each starter and the bullpen.
Just like last season, Shields is not getting much run support from the Royals' hitters. That shouldn't take away from what he's done on the mound.
Is Vargas going to break out for his first Cy Young-caliber season in 2014? Probably not, but Royals fans are certainly loving his hot start.
Guthrie is performing right around the level he is expected to. His grade gets a small bump due to the fact that the Royals have won all three of his starts.
Chen needs to pick up the slack pretty quick or reliever Danny Duffy could get the call to take his spot in the rotation.
Ventura had an A before his first bad start on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins. The 22-year-old flamethrower will look to bounce back against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
The bullpen was a big factor in the Royals' slow start, but it was also a big factor in the team's recent five-game winning streak. Danny Duffy and Aaron Crow have been fantastic every time out this season. Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland have all looked great since some early rough outings. The rest of the pen has been disappointing, but none of them have had more than four innings to prove themselves yet.
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