14 al centr sp thru 6-4

That’s a mess of numbers trying to compare the performance of the starting rotations in the Central so far this year. The Royals numbers are schizophrenic, from good to ugly. Their big issue has been giving up dingers, something that should not be happening so frequently when they play half their games at Kauffman Stadium. Jeremy Guthrie, James Shields, and Jason Vargas are the main culprits, having already yielded 13, 12, and 11 homers respectively. It would be nice to say it has been purely fluky, but all three have struggled to limit home runs in their careers. Shields kept the ball in the park better over the last three seasons, but no such luck so far this year. For Guthrie and Vargas, this is only slightly worse than par. The staff as a whole has watched 11% of fly balls allowed sail over the fence, third highest in the AL. That’s probably a combination of poor pitching and a little bad luck, so hopefully more fly balls will fall in gloves instead of seats as the season trudges on.

Other than the homers (which pull down the FIP and attending fWAR numbers) things are going decently. Fantastic team defense allows the ERA to legitimately out-perform the fielder-independent numbers, though the ERA is only barely better than average. The Royals starters have been the most consistent at getting quality starts and going deep into games. But best of all, they are actually limiting walks for a refreshing change. The starters have not had such a low walk rate over a full season since 1996.

Here are the top 10 starters in the division by an average of fielder-independent WAR and runs allowed WAR:

1. Corey Kluber – CLE – 2.2
2. Chris Sale – CHI – 2.1
3. Max Scherzer -DET – 2.0
4. Anibal Sanchez – DET – 1.7
5. Jason Vargas – KC – 1.5
6. Jose Quintana – CHI – 1.4
7. Yordano Ventura – KC – 1.2
7. Justin Verlander – DET – 1.2
7. Rick Porcello – DET – 1.2
10. James Shields – KC – 0.8
10. Kyle Gibson – MIN – 0.8