In this club's remade rotation, where's the smart money going?
In short: As long as you define "smart money" as "any money," James Shields is your only bet. Last season, he sort of split the difference, to the good, between his awful 2010 and brilliant 2011. His 8.82 K/9 and 2.29 BB/9 are ace-like figures, and he escapes the grind of war in the AL East. There's no reason not to expect the righty to put up very good numbers, perhaps even in the win column.
Jeremy Guthrie rewarded the Royals after they acquired him last year by posting a 3.16 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. The right-hander remains an innings-eater through and through, however. The lone, significant change is what could be a full season's worth of home innings in environs that are pitcher-friendlier than those to which the fly-ball pitcher had grown accustomed.
Ervin Santana wrapped up shooting of the film in which he plays Edward E. Nigma, so he'll be ready for spring training. This righty has produced some outstanding outings, occasionally looking like Dr. Freeze-the-hitter. The 2012 drop in his velocity and his somewhat checkered injury history warn you not to take too much of a chance that this season will be filled with them, though.
Will Wade Davis prove that he's worthy of a rotation spot now that he's free of the Tampa Bay Rays? His numbers in his attempts while with his first team don't signal that dividends will be immediate. Will Luke Hochevar put it all together to claim the spot that Davis aims to steal? Only some ST noise would even lend hope to that scenario. Will Bruce Chen be anything more than a somewhat worse, left-handed version of Guthrie? Uh, probably not.
And so KC has little of substance, beyond Shields, but at least there should be more experience in the rotation than there's been in other recent incarnations. That counts for something, right? Roto owners should stay alert for the impending returns of righty Felipe Paulino and lefty Danny Duffy. Each is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and each - particularly Paulino - has the ability to usurp a rotation spot once he proves that he's healthy.
Who will take the torch as prospect royalty after the departure of Wil Myers?
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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