Regression to the mean in baseball statistics is inevitable, which means the future should bring dramatic changes for several major aspects of this Kansas City Royals team. This simply means the offense can’t suck forever, and the the starters can’t be unhittable for very long. Many of the numbers that stand out in the stats sheet are probably unsustainable, for better or worse. Perhaps the most subject to change is KC’s multitude of ridiculous ERAs posted by starters.
Three Royals starters own ERAs below 2.1 after at least four starts. KC’s team ERA of 3.08 is second among all AL teams, and their 3.03 starters’ ERA is the AL’s best. It’s still possible that Danny Duffy‘s eventual emergence as a consistent starter will keep KC’s ERA among the best in the majors, but Jason Vargas cannot be expected to maintain his current 1.54 ERA. If he does, even I’ll have to wonder what illegal substance he’s using lately.
The only starter who hasn’t found success is the still-lovable veteran Bruce Chen. We know what we’re going to get with Bruce for the most part, so you can count that as another inevitable improvement. He won’t be Clayton Kershaw this year, but he won’t be Kyle Davies either. Fans in KC who can remember Davies’ years with the team may have just uncontrollably kicked something, so I apologize for any pets or relatives that may have been harmed because of this post.
Even if Chen continues to struggle, KC can make the much-alluded-to switch to Duffy as the fifth starter. If that happens, Chen could return to his role as a long-relief man or even consider retirement. He has an extremely promising coaching career ahead of him, so whenever the time comes, KC should definitely pounce on the chance to keep him around.
Those years are mercifully far behind us, and this starting rotation should be really good throughout the year. Just don’t expect a 31 year-old Vargas to become the next Pedro Martinez — that destiny belongs to future Rookie of the Year Yordano Ventura.