“No respect” should be the motto for the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. This is a team that always finds ways to win the big game no matter what the situation is. Currently, the Royals are at +1400 MLB odds to win the World Series.
In my eyes +1400 MLB odds to win the World Series at Bovada... that's a steal of a deal. Let's take a look at the Royals starting pitching staff and see if they have what it take's to get back to the promise land.
No Johnny Cueto
For all of you who didn't see the former elite Cincinnati Reds pitcher last season, he didn't have a great season in 2015. This only reinforces the idea that the Royals can win again. Simply stated, Johnny Cueto is expendable. The only question mark is “Who do the Royals get to replace Cueto in the starting rotation with?” If you're a Royals fan or bettor, this should have no effect on your decision making when and if place a future bet on K.C.
Who's the Ace?
I really don't think it matters if there is a legitimate ace on this team as the pitching staff is well balanced. While Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA) is considered the ace, he's not an elite pitcher. He's a veteran that had a solid season last year and did a solid job.
Volquez did nothing out of the ordinary as he allowed opposing hitters to hit .251 off of him, but he did manage to pitch 200 innings on the dot and that is important. What Volquez brings to the table is experience and a level head. I expect a similar season from the the 32 year old Volquez this season.
Bringing the Mustard!
Although he's not ready to be an ace, Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08) is the starter on this staff that most impresses me. Forget the ERA for the moment. This is a pitcher that keeps his cool in the big moments and just 6 foot 180 pounds, can really “bring it” velocity-wise. I actually think that he's much slighter in build than 180 pounds and whoever listed that weight is being generous.
Last season, Ventura pitched 163 1/3 innings and struck out 154 batters. That is just about a strikeout per innings. He also is not a pitcher that will allow many home runs. Combine that with the .248 BA that he allowed to the opposition, I think there's great room for growth from this 24 year old pitcher.
The one thing that I was disappointed about was his post-season performance. That's when a pitcher need's to come up big and he certainly didn't. We'll give him a pass as he has plenty of room to grow. His stuff is impressive and this is a pitcher to keep an eye on.
A Proven Star
I'm not saying that Kris Medlen is in the class of Clayton Kershaw, but he's pitched to an ERA of 3.06 with a 40-22 record for his career.
A lot of that was with the Braves and Kansas City needs to keep him a starter and they might see a go to guy here. If ever a game 7 and a must win situation was needed, Medlen could be the man.
Last season,he didn't pitch a full year of starting, therefore I'm throwing it out the window. To have Kris Medlen as a #3 starter speaks volumes!
In the tail end of the rotation, there's Danny Duffy (7-8, 4.08) and 6 foot 10 inch Chris Young. Young is the guy that I'm impressed with as he really came through for the Royals last season with an 11-6 mark with a 3.06 ERA in 18 starts. Young is not just a starter and that comes in handy. It certainly did last season when he was 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA in the post-season and held opposing batters to just a .157 BA. Young also bring's experience to the table an he's what I like to call an intangibles guy. With Young on the staff in this spot, this rotation is secure as can be.
As stated earlier, there's no legitimate ace on this staff, but unlike other teams, there are no weaknesses and the Royals definitely have a chance of winning the American League and returning to the World Series and +1400 odds are a gift for your MLB picks.