Breaking down the Minnesota Twins’ AL Central Rivals: Kansas City Royals

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MESA, ARIZONA - MARCH 10: Hunter Dozier #17 of the Kansas City Royals bats against the Oakland Athletics during the MLB spring training game at HoHoKam Stadium on March 10, 2020 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
MESA, ARIZONA - MARCH 10: Hunter Dozier #17 of the Kansas City Royals bats against the Oakland Athletics during the MLB spring training game at HoHoKam Stadium on March 10, 2020 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins
Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Twins Rotation vs. Kansas City Royals Rotation

The Royals return what is close to the same rotation as last year, with four of five starters returning and the fifth starter moving to the bullpen. Both the Twins and the Royals have to wonder who their fifth starter will be, so there are multiple options listed.

Twins:

  1. Jose Berrios: 14-8, 3.68 ERA, 195 K, All-Star
  2. Jake Odorizzi: 15-7, 3.51 ERA, 178 K, All-Star
  3. Kenta Maeda: 10-8, 4.04 ERA, 169 K
  4. Randy Dobnak: 2-1, 1.59 ERA, 23 K
  5. Homer Bailey: 13-9, 4.57 ERA, 149 K
  6. Rich Hill: 4-1, 2.45 ERA, 72 K
  7. Michael Pineda: 11-5, 4.01 ERA, 140 K (39 Games Remaining on his Suspension)

Royals:

  1. Brad Keller: 7-14, 4.19 ERA, 122 K
  2. Danny Duffy: 7-6, 4.34 ERA, 115 K
  3. Jakob Junis: 9-14, 5.24 ERA, 164 K
  4. Mike Montgomery: 3-9, 4.95 ERA, 69 K
  5. Brady Singer: 12-5, 2.85 ERA, 138 K (MINORS)
  6. Glenn Sparkman: 4-11, 6.02 ERA, 81 K
  7. Jorge Lopez: 4-9, 6.33 ERA, 109 K

Here’s the deal: The Twins have a better rotation than the Royals. They built a rotation to compete, the Royals are putting one together. But make no mistake: the Royals have an underrated, deep, rotation, with multiple starters that have talent.

Brad Keller is just 24, and he took some lumps in his first full season as a starter, but he has a 3.68 ERA and 218 K in just over three hundred innings. He’ll be a strong starter. Danny Duffy is no longer an ace, but he’s a solid starter. Junis are Montgomery are decent fifth starters on a good team that knows how to use them.

If top prospect Brady Singer makes the leap this year and becomes the ace he is supposed to be, this rotation could win some games behind him. With all that in mind, the Twins have the better rotation, but the Royals are improving. Advantage: Twins.

Minnesota Twins
Sergio Romo #54 of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Twins Bullpen vs. Kansas City Royals Bullpen

We know about the Twins bullpen. Minnesota continuously rotates players from Triple-A to give them a bullpen that is twelve players deep, and all are capable of pitching valuable innings for the major league club. The Royals don’t have that, but they don’t have a bad group.

Twins:

Royals:

Now at first glance, the stats for the Royals relievers don’t look great, but Kansas City has the makings of a solid bullpen. Tim Hill and Scott Barlow are both very good relievers, and if Jorge Lopez doesn’t make the starting rotation, he and Kevin McCarthy will make a solid next two. Kennedy is a very good closer too.

If Holland can find the magic that made him the best closer in the league during his first stint in KC and if Trevor Rosenthal rediscovers the lockdown version of himself from St. Louis, this bullpen looks even better. Ditto for if Lovelady and Fillmyer (both under-26) can live up to their prospect grades and become solid relievers.

That’s a lot of “ifs” when compared to a Twins bullpen that doesn’t really have any. Similar to the rotation, the Royals don’t have a bad bullpen, it’s actually a little underrated. But it’s nowhere close to the Twins’ lockdown unit. Advantage: Twins.

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