John Sickels put out his list of the top-20 prospects in the Royals system. Here is a link to the story and discussion on his site. I put a * next to those players who have a chance of playing in the majors next year.
Grade A prospects are the elite. They have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Almost all Grade A prospects develop into major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don't intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
There are no A prospects in the Royals system at this time.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Mike Moustakas, SS, Grade B+
*Luke Hochevar, RHP, Grade B
*Billy Buckner, RHP, Grade B
Dan Cortes, RHP, Grade B
Julio Pimentel, RHP, Grade B-
*Chris Lubanski, OF, Grade B-
Danny Duffy, LHP, Grade B-
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don't make it at all.
Blake Wood, RHP, Grade C+
Blake Johnson, RHP, Grade C+
*Carlos Rosa, RHP, Grade C+
*Justin Huber, 1B, Grade C+
*Craig Brazell, 1B, Grade C+ (old but I'd love to give him some at-bats)
Jeff Bianchi, SS, Grade C+ (not ready to drop him just yet)
*Tyler Lumsden, LHP, Grade C+ (too high? Time to pull the plug?)
Sam Runion, RHP, Grade C+
*Jarod Plummer, RHP, Grade C+ (sort of the Brazell of pitchers)
*Mitch Maier, OF, Grade C (Looks too low. Might move up to C+)
Joe Dickerson, OF, Grade C
Matt Mitchell, RHP, Grade C
Derrick Robinson, OF, Grade C
Adrian Ortiz, OF, Grade C (Utter lack of strike zone judgment from an alleged leadoff hitter.)
A major point to remember is that grades for pitchers do NOT correspond directly to grades for hitters. Many Grade A pitching prospects fail to develop, often due to injuries. Some Grade C pitching prospects turn out much better than expected.
Also note that there is diversity within each category. I'm a tough grader; Grade C+ is actually good praise coming from me, and some C+ prospects turn out very well indeed.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. You have to read the full comment in the book for my full opinion about a player, the letter grade only tells you so much. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
So, what do you think?
Some things that jumps out to me.
Hochevar receiving a "B" is quite an indictment. Hochevar was the first overall player chosen in the 2006 draft. In no way should a player chosen first overall have fallen all the way down to "B" in less than two years without sustaining a serious injury. Sickels is saying in his own way that Hochevar looks like a big mistake at this point.
No Rowdy Hardy. I guess Sickels does not see him moving up the ladder.
A lot of decent but not spectacular pitching prospects moving up. Not as many promising young position players.