Prior to getting started, I want to take a look at the last three years of Kwang-Hyun Kim's career and his total career numbers, showing the statistics that I utilize in my projections.
The 2020 season is our most recent sample size and professional sports are often reduced to a "what have you done for me lately" business. Here is his 2020 season (majors only) separated from the rest 1) to highlight it and 2) to more easily come back to it for comparison purposes.
8 games (7 starts), 39 innings, 5.429 IP/GS 1.62 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.026 WHIP
5.538 K/9, 2.769 BB/9, 2.00 K:BB 5-2 team record in his starts
This year, I plan to incorporate a couple of (I hope) interesting items to go along with the mean (average) projection. I am going to be adding in "THE GOOD" (an everything goes right)" projection and "THE BAD” (an everything went wrong)" projection prior to giving THE CERUTTI (my actual projection). THE GOOD is basically if a player is 10% better in a few of the listed categories while THE BAD is basically if a player is 10% worse in a few of the listed categories - based on THE CERUTTI projection, which is my 50th percentile-type projection that gets made every year by other projection services like STEAMER or ZiPS.
23 starts, 138 2/3 innings, 6.026 IP/GS 2.76 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 1.261 WHIP 8.818 K/9, 2.356 BB/9, 3.403 K:BB
So if KK can go 6 innings a start this year because of effectiveness - while striking out nearly a batter an inning - then I will be shocked. Last year's sub 6 K/9 and 2.00 K:BB against the weak hitting Centrals makes me believe this is not viable.
23 starts, 114 2/3 innings, 4.98 IP/GS 3.34 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 1.526 WHIP 7.287 K/9, 2.850 BB/9, 2.812 K:BB
This would be closer to what I'd expect than THE GOOD...but I don't think his WHIP will be that bad. I also am unsure he can rise even to that K/9.
(my system projection)
23 starts, 126 innings, 5.478 IP/GS 3.04 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 1.387 WHIP 8.016 K/9, 2.591 BB/9, 3.09 K:BB
If all of my projections come true, I foresee the Cardinals going 13-10 in his starts.
I think KK will be fine this year and be right around what these three projections say. All of them scream "He'll be fine!" to me. I'm not worried about him once he's back healthy. Just allow him to recover and get 23 games or so in, rather than rushing him back and potentially having another Mikolas situation going on.
Link back to all of my projections.