by John Viril—-
If the Royals are serious about making the playoffs this season, manager Ned Yost cannot keep Wade Davis in the Royals rotation. Danny Duffy is healthy and has superior stuff to the struggling Davis. Opponents are hitting Davis like they’re playing T-ball. He has the 3rd highest ERA among MLB starters with more than 110 IP. He also surrenders the highest batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of any pitcher in the league at .376.
While many would dismiss Davis’ BABIP as bad luck, he’s giving up hard contact. Hitters connect for 28.8% line drives on batted balls against Davis, the highest rate of any starting pitcher in MLB. Add in that defensive metrics like UZR and Dewan’s +/- system rate the Royals as the top defensive team in baseball, Davis’ high BABIP seems to be more than simple bad fortune.
Tbe bottom line is simple: the Royals should replace Wade Davis with Danny Duffy (1.86 ERA in 9.2 IP in 2 starts this season) in the Royals’ rotation.
I would be surprised if Ned Yost actually makes such a move. Davis was touted as a critical piece in the Wil Myers trade due to Davis being under team control until 2017—for prices that will be considered bargain basement deals if Davis is an effective starter. By removing Wade Davis from the rotation and returning him to the pen, the Royals would be declaring themselves the “loser” of the trade.
GM Dayton Moore has already made a number of humbling decisions this season. He DFA’d Jeff Francoeur and ate nearly 1/2 his $7.5 million contract. He and Ned Yost fired hitting coaches Andre David and Jack Maloof after less than two months on the job. Yost also demoted former no.1 overall draft pick Luke Hochevar to the pen in spring training, where he has thrived this season.
The Royals need to make yet another humbling decision if they want to make the playoffs.
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