As we continue to look at the Royals heading into Spring Training, this week we are taking a look at their bullpen. If you missed it, last week, we broke down the starting rotation. Although the starting rotation isn’t very strong, like last year, the bullpen should be one of the major strengths of the Royals. Usually the pitchers in the bullpen are the “unknowns” meaning most fans don’t really know who makes up the bullpen or what are each pitchers’ strengths and weaknesses.
However, this year will be different. We met most of the bullpen last year with guys like Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland. The bullpen even had a fan favorite, Tim Collins. Standing on the mound, Collins may be considered tall, but with a frame of 5’7” 170 lbs Collins appears to be in high school. The only All-Star from last year comes from the bullpen, and that all-star was Aaron Crow. The Royals bullpen was nearly untouchable last year. Aaron Crow, Greg Holland, and Louis Coleman led the dominate pen. In addition, there are three former all stars in the pen that Ned Yost can use when he is in a jam. These all-stars are Aaron Crow, Jonathan Broxton, and Joakim Soria.
Jonathan Broxton is the new addition from the Dodgers. Broxton weighs in at 300lbs. I’m assuming he has enjoyed the Kansas City barbecue (just look at him in the picture) . Last year Broxton was injured with a bruised elbow which held him out for nearly the whole year. Dayton Moore anticipated that Aaron Crow may earn himself a spot in the starting rotation subsequently he added the former all star in Broxton.
Last year, the Royals had a heavy bullpen with eight pitchers. This year the bullpen will consist of seven pitchers. The players that have a spot locked in are Jonathan Broxton, Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, and Joakim Soria. The others that will be battling for the last four spots are Tim Collins, Blake Wood, Vin Mazzaro, Mike Montgomery, Kelvin Herrera, Louis Coleman, and Jose Mijares. While Aaron Crow is suppose to try to compete for the starting rotation, I predict he will end up staying where he has had success: the bullpen.
Greg Holland has the “stuff” to be the future closer for the Kansas City Royals. With an ERA of 1.8 Holland deserves the title of “lights out.” I am hoping that he will be given a shot to become the closer. I want Joakim Soria to be traded for a starting pitcher. According to sources, Joakim Soria quit on the Royals for the last three weeks of the season. I would have liked to have seen a power thrower added to the bullpen. While Broxton has thrown in the upper 90’s, his velocity decreased last year. With a potential power thrower, Coach Yost would have another dynamic weapon to call upon in the later half of games.
While I do not expect the same lights out pitching we witnessed last year, I do expect pretty close dominance with the addition of Broxton and experience added to the young pitchers. If Broxton can remain healthy expect him to be the set up man for Soria. If Soria struggles like last year expect Holland, Crow, and Broxton to all receive their equal amount of chances to close games out.