It's very early, but Royals are struggling

By Steve Sell
April 03, 2018

To show how things are going for the Kansas City Royals so far this season, two of their longtime top pitching prospects have been cut loose.

Kyle Zimmer and Miguel Almonte were thought to be two of the crowned pitching jewels of the Royals’ minor league farm system and the cornerstone for the rotation in the coming years. But after exhaustive frustration over a period of years and little signs of development, the Royals have decided enough is enough and set them free.

The Royals have started 0-3 and a big reason has been the starting pitching, as Danny Duffy and Jason Hammel were terrible in their two games, sandwiched around an excellent effort by Ian Kennedy that went for naught because the bullpen coughed up the lead.

Maybe the harbinger of things to come occurred the day before the first game when All-Star catcher Salvador Perez suffered a torn knee ligament while misstepping while carrying some luggage. You just can’t make up stuff like this.

Then the Royals, in their season opener, looked like World Champions — for an inning. They were up on Chicago 4-0 just four batters into the season and everybody was revved up and Danny Duffy looked like nails.

Then he got nailed.

Duffy had one of those Duffy-like outings where he looks like the ace, then has an inning where he looks like Zimmer or Almonte. 

The rest of the rotation is loaded with five- and six-inning guys, which wouldn’t have been too bad in 2014 or 2015, but the foundation of the bullpen has evaporated and now the Royals are throwing guys out there that are marginal at best or would be in the minors if the situation weren’t so dire.

Getting back to Zimmer and Almonte. They were being counted on to head the rotation, but injuries derailed Zimmer while Almonte threw the ball too straight from what I saw. It doesn’t matter if you throw 100, major league hitters will send it screaming if it’s straight.

Three games doesn’t make a season, but the five alarm bells are going off and red flags are popping up everywhere. I thought this team was good enough to win 75 games, but it’s starting to look like those so-called experts — Sports Illustrated being one of them — might be right and it could be a team that makes a run at 100 losses.

The dark, dank and dismal days of Royalsmania from 2014 and 2015 might be over and it could be a return to the days when the the typical 13,000 showed up every night at The K.