Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Royals Spring Training Report for Fri, 3/2
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 2 2012 5:37PM
The Royals played their second, and final, intrasquad game today and, once again, the pitching dominated in a 3-0 win by the “white” squad. The pitchers were helped by a strong wind that was blowing in. Joakim Soria, who gave up all three runs, struggled with his command. Afterward, manager Ned Yost said Soria’s delivery was a little out of sync and his arm was a little too far behind the rest of his body – an issue that plagued him at times last year – but he said pitching coach Dave Eiland picked up on in quickly and they don’t expect it to be a lingering problem. However, it is something worth watching the rest of spring training and into the regular season.
The pitcher who impressed me the most was Danny Duffy. Duffy showed promise last year, but had trouble repeating his delivery and throwing strikes consistently. Every time I’ve talked to Duffy this spring training, he’s been adamant that he’s corrected a lot of the issues that plagued him last season and, the more I watch him, the more I believe him. Duffy’s delivery looks much smoother and easier to repeat than it did last season. He’s commanding the ball effectively and keeping it down in the zone.
I think the Royals need Duffy in the rotation all year to be successful. Duffy in the rotation increases the chances Aaron Crow pitches out of the bullpen, where he was successful last year. Also, because of the limited innings he worked as a reliever in 2011, Crow won’t be able to pitch as starter the entire season, whereas Duffy would. While the Royals have plenty of pitching depth, I don’t think there’s any secret that their best-case scenario is Duffy and Felipe Paulino anchoring the back end of the rotation. I also think that, at some point, they’ll need contributions from one of their talented lefties slated to begin the year in Omaha – Chris Dwyer, Mike Montgomery or Will Smith – to have the sort of success they think they’re capable of having. Guys like Luis Mendoza, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan are intriguing – especially Mendoza and O’Sullivan, who are out of options – but it’s doubtful any of them are the answers in the rotation long-term. So, if 2012 is about getting back to around .500 and 2013 is about being a legitimate contender for the AL Central title, the Royals need to see at least one or two of their talented pitching prospects take a step toward being a long-term solution in the rotation.