DETROIT -- One of the many positives to emerge in the last six weeks of this Royals season has been the development and depth of the starting rotation.And that should bode well for manager Ned Yost come Spring Training 2019. Yost and general manager Dayton Moore always have talked about
DETROIT -- One of the many positives to emerge in the last six weeks of this Royals season has been the development and depth of the starting rotation.
And that should bode well for manager Ned Yost come Spring Training 2019. Yost and general manager Dayton Moore always have talked about going into a season with eight or nine viable rotation candidates.
The Royals appear to already have that type of depth, even before Moore and his staff possibly add some cost-efficient veterans this winter.
"We've seen a lot of growth in the rotation," Yost said. "We've seen positive things with the whole club, but yes, the rotation has pitched well."
Going into 2019, the Royals would appear to have four rotation spots set with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Brad Keller and Jakob Junis.
Eric Skoglund, Heath Fillmyer, Jorge Lopez, Glenn Sparkman, Scott Barlow and Trevor Oaks likely will all compete for the fifth spot.
"And you never know who will emerge out of Spring Training," Yost said. "It could be a name you don't think of right now."
Skoglund, Fillmyer and Lopez all have shown the ability to pitch well at this level.
After missing several months because of a UCL sprain, Skoglund has had two solid September starts, giving up just two runs and five hits over 11 innings.
Fillmyer has had five quality starts since late July and has impressed the coaching staff with his bulldog mentality and competitiveness.
Lopez, who has been battling a deep rib bruise, was dominant in two straight starts recently, including one against the Twins in which he became the first pitcher in Royals history to carry a perfect game into the ninth inning.
"They've had their ups and downs," Yost said. "But the thing that is impressive is they can go out and pitch a Major League game. What I mean by that is they can go out and pitch into the seventh inning, keep us in the game, control the pitch count, field the position, throw strikes. They've all done that, multiple times. That's pretty impressive.
"They all have had their stinkers, too. But they're building consistency. The games they have given us a chance to win far outnumber their stinkers."
Yost believes none of his young pitchers are flukes.
"It's a group that has been fun watching," Yost said. "It's a group that has really embraced the studying part of it. We've never had a whole group like that. They are constantly on the computer, breaking down what to look for. It's fun to watch kids with an idea [of] what they're doing, rather than just relying on the catcher. That's why we think they'll continue to be successful."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.