The Royals Top 30 just got a little deeper--kind of. I realized I had neglected to put Kevin Chapman on the list. #26 seemed just right for him, so everyone below him gets bumped down a slot. That also means I'll cover 7 prospects in this installment and again next time. We now start getting to prospects who could easily be on other teams' Top 10 list. It's become a cliche but this is a really good group of prospects--we will probably be spoiled in a few years when this list isn't as good.
33. Clint Robinson
32. Crawford Simmons
31. Jeff BIanchi
30. Noel Arguelles
29. Buddy Baumann
28. Tyler Sample
27. Everett Teaford
26. Kevin Chapman--LHP--DOB:2/19/88
The Royals drafted Chapman in the 4th Round of the 2010 draft out of the U. of Florida as a senior. He had Tommy John surgery as a sophomore in college. He pitched a little as a junior but finally bounced back as a senior, pitching well and staying healthy all year. Chapman has a mid 90s fastball with good movement and also has a good slider. The Royals sent him to Wilmington after being drafted and he pitched pretty well in the 18 innings he got there (despite a 5.50 ERA). He struck out 20 while walking 8. He'll start 2011 either at A+ or AA. He's got the stuff to be a valuable late inning reliever that can get lefties and righties out.
25. Paulo Orlando--CF--DOB:11/1/85
The Royals got Orlando from the White Sox for Horacio Ramirez in 2008. He is a terrific athlete but being from Brazil which is not a baseball hotbed, he's always been considered a little raw. He has developed slowly but his 2010 numbers were encouraging (especially after a tough 2009). He started off slowly in April but hit well the rest of the season. Orlando upped his walk rate, dropped his K rate and increased his power. It should be noted his OPS on the road was 724 while it was 960 at home (he hit 10 of his 13 HR at home). Orlando is supposed to be a very good defensive CF. He was left unprotected for the Rule V draft and thankfully was not taken. He should get playing time at Omaha in 2011 but he will have to fight for time in CF with Jarrod Dyson and maybe Lorenzo Cain/Derrick Robinson. He could be a nice 4th OF in the future.
24. Will Smith--LHP--DOB:7/10/89
If you want to study how to not handle a pitching prospect, look at what the Angels did to Will Smith last year. Having all of 20 starts at Low-A, they gave him 37 IP at A+ -and while he wasn't very successful at A+, they moved him all the way to AAA where he (predictably) struggled. They dropped him down to AA before he was traded to the Royals in the Callaspo deal. He pitched really well at Wilmington--upping his K rate, dropping his BB rate and getting more ground balls. Smith doesn't have a big ceiling. His fastball is average and so is his curveball. His changeup is inconsistent but can also be a decent pitch. But lefties with 3 average pitches who can get groundballs have had long careers in the majors. He could get a little more time at A+ to start 2011.
23: Jason Adam--RHP--DOB:8/4/91
The Royals took Blue Valley Northwest righty Jason Adam with their 5th Round pick of the 2010 draft. The Royals gave him well above slot to sign ($800,000). He's a big right-hander known for a good fastball. The Royals didn't have Adam get in a few innings in the Arizona Summer League but he impressed in Instructional League during October. Both Keith Law and Baseball America wrote up an impressive outing where his fastball sat around 93-95 and touched 97. He also had an impressive curveball. He also throws a changeup that I'm sure he needs to be more consistent with because almost all HS pitchers need to be more consistent with their change. Law also noted that his command was excellent and that he looked like he should have been a 1st Round pick. It's probable that Law and BA saw Adam on a good day. But if shows that the kid has a good ceiling. If the Royals are feeling good about his progress, Adam could start 2011 at Kane County.
22. Louis Coleman--RHP--DOB:4/4/86
The Royals took Coleman in the 5th Round of the 2009 draft. He was a Senior pick from LSU. He had done both starting and relieving in college but the Royals have used him as a reliever. He throws a good fastball/slider combination. His delivery is very low from the right side making him particularly difficult on RH batters. He gives up a lot of fly balls, but so far the HR hasn't hurt him too bad. I find it interesting that he had 42 relief appearance and 92 IP--over 2 innings an outing which is pretty unheard of for a reliever. He'll turn 25 just as the season starts and I think he will compete for a major league job in Spring Training. It will be interesting to see how the Royals use him at the big league level--with a starting staff that could be tough to watch at times, a versatile and effective reliever who can come in and give 2 or 3 solid innings could be really valuable.
21. Derrick Robinson--CF--DOB:9/28/87
Derrick Robinson closed out 2009 on a tear, hitting and hitting with some power. He then opened 2010 with an OPS near 900 for the month of April. But the rest of the season was spent with OPS a little south of 700. He upped his walk rate a little bit. He's still a guy who can fly--stealing bases and covering ground in the OF. It's hard to imagine him being a starting CF for a good team but he could be a useful 4th or 5th outfielder. He might have to go back to Northwest Arkansas in 2011. There may not be room for him at Omaha as the Royals have cornered the market on mediocre CF prospects.
How many catchers last year finished with a wRC+ over 90 (over 400 abs)and with positive UZR (I realize catching defensive stats are far from perfect)? The answer: 5. That is why Salvador Perez is a sure fired major league player--at least as sure as you can be for a 20 year old prospect. His defense is considered very good and his bat was surprisingly good last year. For a 20 year old to have a 733 OPS at Wilmington and play the toughest defensive position is quite an accomplishment. Perez was streaky at the plate last year. He was putrid at the plate in June and July, good in May and great in August. He doesn't walk much but he also doesn't strike out much. Perez's development will make the moving of Wil Myers to RF much more palatable. Perez looks like the perfect fit for the 2013 Royals--a very good defensive catcher who won't kill you batting 7th or 8th in the lineup. He will either go back to Wilmington in 2011 or get bumped up to AA.