Padres Hope to Follow Royals Blueprint
Big Games James has been able to match on-field performance with off-field talk and swagger. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
James Shields– Please can we stop this “Big Game James” stuff? BUT, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 16th round pick in 2000, he was the BIG gamble that would make or break Moore’s job. He was acquired with Wade Davis for top prospect and eventual 2013 Rookie of the Year Wil Myers. He’s answered the call, going 28-18 in his two years in KC and providing a staff presence this team hasn’t had since Kevin Appier.
Jason Vargas – Acquired in a trade with the Angels in the off season after coming up with the Marlins and Mariners. He is signed through 2017 and gave the Royals 187 IP and going 11-10.
Yordano Ventura – Signed as an international free agent by the Royals in 2008, he was a sensation this season going 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA as a rookie. He also made headlines by throwing 103 MPH. His cutter comes in around 98 MPH.
Danny Duffy – Seriously his name. He was drafted by the Royals in 2007 and struggled his rookie year in 2011. Fighting through injuries, he spent most of 2013 in the minors before re-emerging this season in the majors. He went 9-12 but with a 2.53 ERA in 25 starts and 6 relief appearances. He likely is the odd man out of the playoff rotation, but could be valuable in relief.
Jeremy Guthrie – The old guy at 35 on the staff, Guthrie was drafted by the Indians in the first round back in 2002. He was traded to the Royals in 2012 for Jonathan Sanchez who didn’t work out well for the Royals. In 2013 he posted his first winning record since a 7-5 record as a rookie finishing 15-12. This year he finished 13-11 and surpassed 200 innings for the second straight season.
CL – Greg Holland – Drafted by the Royals in 2007 with the 10th round pick, he debuted in 2010 but only pitched in 15 games. In 2013 he became the full time closer and has not looked back. 47 saves in 2013, 46 this year with 90 strikeouts in 62.1 innings and a 1.44 ERA.
Setup – Wade Davis – Part of the Shields/Myers trade Davis had been a starter with the Rays but settled in as a dominant 8th inning setup man for the Royals. This year he posted a 1.00 ERA, a 9-1 record, and struck out 109 in 72 innings.
*Wild Card: Brandon Finnegan: Played in the College World Series in June with TCU and now is lights out in the bullpen for the Royals, pitching several early high leverage games against Oakland and the Angels in the 2014 playoffs.