Expectations Past And Present For Jake Odorizzi And The Kansas City Royals

July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA pitcher Jake Odorizzi delivers a pitch during the first inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Kansas City may use pitcher Jake Odorizzi out of the bullpen first, but the rookie is set to make his first major league start over the weekend against the Cleveland Indians.

By now you have likely heard that Jake Odorizzi will likely be making his first major league start this upcoming weekend against the Cleveland Indians. With neither team set to make the playoffs, the pressure will be relatively low. Not that any player making their starting pitching debut isn't pressure packed, but this is simply an audition to see how the young phenom reacts to his first stint at the major league level.

The 22-year-old right-hander was steller at Omaha this year after being called up from AA Northwest Arkansas. The WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratios lessened at AAA, but a 11-3 record with a 2.93 ERA is nothing to scoff at.

With the setbacks to Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer, and John Lamb, Odorizzi came to forefront of the cupboard of Royals pitching prospects.

There is really no downside to allowing Odorizzi a late season start, as Kansas City needed to add him to the 40-man roster this winter anyway.

As the Royals continue to build towards being future contenders, it's time for a pitching prospect to step forward and help right the ship.

Recent high draft selections Aaron Crow and Luke Hochevar have had mixed results to say the least. Crow, though a quality reliever, is not exactly what you envision after making him the 12th overall pick.

Hochevar on the other hand mixes in the occasional flash of brilliance, with the all too troubling inconsistency. The 29-year-old is arbitration eligible after this season with all signs pointing to the Royals bringing him back. That is to the bewilderment of many fans.

No matter what happens to Odorizzi in his first start, it shouldn't deter any enthusiasm that fans should have for his future. If you recall, Kelvin Herrera looked absolutely brutal in his initial two relief appearances at the close of last season. All Herrera has done this year is pitch to the tune of a 2.40 ERA and 4-2 record in 70 apperances out of the bullpen.

As for expectations, I would be ecstatic if Odorizzi pitches five innings while allowing four runs or fewer. If he were to last six or seven innings against the Indians, that would be icing on the cake.

For now we can sit back and hopefully enjoy the weekend. Don't let the crucial nitpicking start until next season, when hopefully Odorizzi breaks camp with the big league club.

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