Royals Top Prospects: The Overview

If I were to lay out my blueprints for a great farm system, I would want some top notch bats at the top.  Players who can get on base and have power.  I would want to make sure their strikeouts aren't a big problem in the minors--as that can spell trouble at the big league level.  Those top level hitting prospects are about the most valuable thing you can have in a farm system.  For pitching, I would want depth--lots of it.  The average return on pitching prospects has been about the same between pitchers ranked in the Top 10 and others ranked 11-50.  I would want pitchers with good control and starters who know how to use a change-up.  Of course, I would want some young international guys--both pitchers and position players with incredible tools/velocity.  There would also be some bounce back candidates who are looking to improve after some disappointing years.  The Royals have all those things.

 

2010 was a good year for the Royals Farm System.  The Royals had some good luck/health and some players break out.  It was also a bounce back from a bad 2009.  A year ago, the Royals had a lot of talent on the farm, it just hadn't produced up to expectations.

The Royals farm system has received some attention this off-season.  It has become cliche to talk about all the prospects the Royals have.  Of course, being attention-starved and beaten down Royals fans, we have struggled with how to handle this news.  Some of us are excited at this twinkle of light on the horizon.  Others are still cynical after the list of failures in the distant and recent past.  I can't tell you who is right.  I did a little series earlier in the off-season about what we can (and can't) expect from a top farm system--but that still leaves a broad range of possibilities in the future.  To the cynics, I would say that, with all the praise heaped on the Royals prospects, not one bit of it is undeserved.  You can look at the Royals prospects a lot of different ways: the Top 3, Top 5, Top 10, Top 30.  (Fangraphs did an interesting take here, but I find it problematic for a few reasons).  I have never seen a farm system with this combination of impact and depth.  To the excited, I would say that we are guaranteed nothing in the future.  I can tell you we have a historically good farm system.  I can't tell you what it will translate to.  I feel reasonably certain that we will, in coming years, see more exciting baseball--with over .500 records--but that is still a long way off from division titles.  There is also the danger that some of these prospects might succeed--after they are traded away.

 

Here is the straight up prospect list.  It ended up being 65 names--after trades.  I added Greg Holland, who I mistakenly thought had used up his prospect eligibility.  Also, I inserted Nathan Adcock--our Rule V pick.

Rank Name
1 Wil Myers-C/OF
2 Eric Hosmer-1B
3 Mike Moustakas--3B
4 Mike Montgomery--LHP
5 John Lamb--LHP
6 Chris Dwyer--LHP
7 Dan Duffy--LHP
8 Jake Odorizzi--RHP
9 Christian Colon--SS/2B
10 Aaron Crow--RHP
11 Cheslor Cuthbert--3B
12 Brett Eibner--CF
13 Johnny Giavotella--2B
14 David Lough--OF
15 Tim Collins--LHP
16

Jeremy Jeffress--RHP

17 Tim Melville--RHP
18 Robinson Yambati--RHP
19 Yordano Ventura--RHP
20 Salvador Perez--C
21 Derrick Robinson--CF
22 Louis Coleman--RHP
23 Jason Adam--RHP
24 Will Smith--LHP
25 Paulo Orlando--CF
26 Kevin Chapman--LHP
27 Everett Teaford--LHP
28 Tyler Sample--RHP
29 Buddy Baumann--LHP
30 Noel Arguelles--LHP
31 Jeff Bianchi--SS
32 Crawford Simmons--LHP
33 Clint Robinson--1B
34 Jarrod Dyson--CF
35 Patrick Keating--RHP
36 Greg Holland--RHP
37 Manuel Pina--C
38 Lucas May--C
39 Blaine Hardy--LHP
40 Michael Antonio--SS
41 Kelvin Herrera--RHP
42 Humberto Arteaga--SS
43 Justin Marks--LHP
44 Elisaul Pimentel--RHP
45 Jorge Bonifacio--CF
46 Lance Zawadzki--SS
47 Rey Navarro--SS
48 Nathan Adcock--RHP
49 Edgar Osuna--LHP
50 Jose Bonilla--C
51 Henry Barrera--RHP
52 Greg BIllo--RHP
53 Kevin Pucetas--RHP
54 Yowil Espinal--2B
55 Paul Carlixte--SS
56 Keaton Hayenga--RHP
57 Shin Jo-Ho--C
58 Wilian Avinazar--RHP
59 Mike Mariot--RHP
60 Brandon Sisk--LHP
61 Justin Trapp--SS
62 Leonel Santiago--RHP
63

Murray Watts--1B

64 Brain Fletcher--OF
65 Pat White--OF

 

Below is the prospect list sorted by position.  The Royals have depth at lots of places--C, SS, pitching.  They are short in the outfield--especially corner OF, but that changes if Myers goes to RF.  They have a bunch of CF prospects but none of them are good enough that I'm comfortable penciling them into the future OF.  They also lack depth at the corner infield (although they do have quality with Hoz and Moose)

Position Name
Catcher 1. Wil Myers
20. Salvador Perez
37. Manuel Pina
38. Lucas May
50. Jose Bonilla
57. Shin Jo-Ho
1st Base 2. Eric Hosmer
33. Clint Robinson
63. Murray Watts
2nd Base 9. Christian Colon
13. Johnny Giavotella
54. Yowil Espinal
Shortstop 31. Jeff Bianchi
40. Michael Antonio
42. Humberto Arteaga
46. Lance Zawadzki
47. Rey Navarro
55. Paul Carlixte

61. Justin Trapp

3rd Base 3. Mike Moustakas
11. Chelsor Cuthbert
LF/RF

64. Brian Fletcher

CF 12. Brett Eibner
14. David Lough
21. Derrick Robinson
25. Paulo Orlando
34. Jarrod Dyson
45. Jorge Bonifacio
65. Pat White
RHSP

8. Jake Odorizzi

10. Aaron Crow
17. Tim Melville
18. Robinson Yambati
19. Yordano Ventura
23. Jason Adam
28. Tyler Sample
41. Kelvin Herrera
44. Elisaul Pimentel
48. Nathan Adcock
52. Greg BIllo
53. Kevin Pucetas
56. Keaton Hayenga
58. Wilian Avinazar
59. Mike Mariot
62. Leonel Santiago
RHRP 16. Jeremy Jeffress
22. Louis Coleman
35. Patrick Keating
36. Greg Holland
51. Henry Barrera
LHSP 4. Mike Montgomery
5. John Lamb
6. Chris Dwyer
7. Dan Duffy
24. Will Smith
27. Everett Teaford
29. Buddy Baumann
30. Noel Arguelles
32. Crawford Simmons
43. Justin Marks
49. Edgar Osuna
LHRP 15. Tim Collins
26. Kevin Chapman
39. Blaine Hardy
60. Brandon Sisk

 

Next, I've listed the Royals prospects by age, starting with the youngest at the top.  I found this to be a really interesting exercise--you might see two players close in age and yet one is a couple levels ahead of another.  There is almost a 10 year gap from youngest to oldest.

 

Rank Name Birthday
42. Humberto Arteaga--SS 1/94
45. Jorge Bonifacio--CF 6/93
11. Cheslor Cuthbert--3B 11/92
55. Paul Carlixte 2/92
40. Michael Antonio--SS 10/91
57. Shin Jo-Ho--C 10/91
23. Jason Adam--RHP 8/91
19. Yordano Ventura--RHP 6/91
32. Crawford Simmons--LHP 6/91
54. Yowil Espinal--2B 4/91
18. Robinson Yambati--RHP 1/91
1. Wil Myers--C/OF 12/90
61. J. Trapp--SS 10/90
52. Greg Billo--RHP 7/90
5. John Lamb--LHP 7/90
20. Sal Perez--C 5/90
8. Jake Odorizzi--RHP 3/90
30. Noel Arguelles--LHP 1/90
41. Kelvin Herrera--RHP 12/89
47. Rey Navarro--SS 12/89
62. Leonel Santiago--RHP 12/89
2. Eric Hosmer--1B 10/89
17. Tim Melville--RHP 10/89
15. Tim Collins--LHP 8/89
24. Will Smith--LHP 7/89
4. Mike Montgomery--LHP 7/89
28. Tyler Sample--RHP 6/89
9. Christian Colon--SS/2B 5/89
58. Wilian Avinazar--RHP 2/89
7. Dan Duffy--LHP 12/88
59. Mike Mariot--RHP 10/88
64. Brian Fletcher--OF 10/88
12. Brett Eibner--CF 10/88
3. Mike Moustakas--3B 9/88
50. Jose Bonilla--C 8/88
44. Elisaul Pimentel--RHP 7/88
56. Keaton Hayenga--RHP 7/88
26. Kevin Chapman--LHP 2/88
48, Nathan Adcock--RHP 2/88
43. Justin Marks--LHP 1/88
6. Chris Dwyer--LHP 1/88
29. Buddy Baumann--LHP 12/87
49. Edgar Osuna--LHP 11/87
63. Murray Watts--1B 10/87
16. Jeremy Jeffress--RHP 9/87
21. Derrick Robinson--CF 9/87
13. Johnny Giavotella--2B 7/87
35. Patrick Keating--RHP 6/87
37. Manuel Pina--C 6/87
39. Blaine Hardy--LHP 3/87
10. Aaron Crow--RHP 11/86
31. Jeff Bianchi--SS 10/86
22. Louis Coleman--RHP 4/86
65. Pat White--CF 2/86
14. David Lough--CF 1/86
51. Henry Barrera--RHP 11/85
36. Greg Holland--RHP 11/85
25. Paulo Orlando--CF 11/85
60. Brandon Sisk--LHP 7/85
27. Everett Teaford--LHP 5/85
46. Lance Zawakzki--SS 5/85
33. Clint Robinson--1B 2/85
53. Kevin Pucetas--RHP 12/84
38. Lucas May--C 10/84
34. Jarrod Dyson--CF 8/84

 

This is my best guess as to where each player will start 2011.  I will probably be off on several of there.  The nice thing is there is so much depth that prospects have to be carefully placed to insure playing time.

 

Majors 16. Jeremy Jeffress--RHP
22. Louis Coleman--RHP
36. Greg Holland--RHP

38. Lucas May--C
AAA 3. Mike Moustakas--3B
7. Dan Duffy--LHP
13. Johnny Giavotella-2B
14. David Lough--OF
15. Tim Collins--LHP
27. Everett Teaford--LHP
31. Jeff Bianchi--SS
33. Clint Robinson--1B
34. Jarrod Dyson--CF
37. Manuel Pina--C
46. Lance Zawadski--SS
49. Nathan Adcock--RHP
50. Edgar Osuna--LHP
53. Kevin Pucetas--RHP
AA 2. Eric Hosmer--1B
4. Mike Montgomery--LHP
5. John Lamb--LHP
6. Chris Dwyer--LHP
9. Christian Colon--2B/SS
10 Aaron Crow--RHP
20. Sal Perez--C
21. Derrick Robinson--CF
24. Will Smith--LHP
25. Paulo Orlando--OF
26. Kevin Chapman--LHP
29. Buddy Baumann--LHP
35. Patrick Keating--RHP
39. Blaine Hardy--LHP
47. Rey Navarro--2B/SS
51. Henry Barrera--RHP
60. Brandon Sisk--LHP
High-A 1. Wil Myers--C/OF
8. Jake Odorizzi--RHP
17. Tim Melville--RHP
28. Tyler Sample--RHP
30. Noel Arguelles--LHP
41. Kelvin Herrera--RHP
43. Justin Marks--LHP
44. Elisaul Pimentel--RHP
50. Jose Bonilla-C
56. Keaton Hayenga--RHP
Low-A 11. Cheslor Cuthbert--3B
12. Brett Eibner--CF
18. Robinson Yambati--RHP
19. Yordano Ventura--RHP
23. Jason Adam--RHP
32. Crawford Simmons--LHP
52. Greg BIllo--RHP
54. Yowil Espinal--2B
58. Wilian Avinazar--RHP
59. Mike Mariot--RHP
61. Justin Trapp--SS
62. Leonel Santiago--RHP
63. Murray Watts--1B
64. Brian Fletcher--OF
65. Pat White--CF
Short-Season 40. Michael Antonio--SS
42. Humberto Arteaga--SS
45. Jorge Bonifacio--CF
55. Paul Carlixte--SS
57. Shin Jo-Ho--C

 

Here is my overall Top 25 for prospects.  Also, I note below where I would rank other Royals prospects in a Top 100 list.

Rank Name
1 Bryce Harper--WAS--OF
2 Mike Trout--LAA--CF
3 Jeremy Hellickson--TAM--RHP
4 Julio Teheran--ATL--RHP
5 Wil Myers--KC--C/OF
6 Jesus Montero--NYY--C/DH
7 Eric Hosmer--KC--1B
8 Mike Moustakas--KC--3B
9 Dominic Brown--PHI--OF
10 Shelby Miller--STL--RHP
11 Matt Moore--TAM--LHP
12 Desmond Jennings--TAM--CF
13 Dustin Ackley--SEA--2B
14 Freddie Freeman--ATL--1B
15 Mike Montgomery--KC--LHP
16 Aroldis Chapman--CIN--LHP
17 Michael Pineda--SEA--RHP
18 Mike Minor--ATL--LHP
19 John Lamb--KC--LHP
20 Kyle Gibson--MIN--RHP
21 Jameson Taillon--PIT--RHP
22 Brandon Belt--SFG--1B
23 Zach Britton--BAL--RHP
24 Manny Machado--BAL--SS
25 Randall Delgado--ATL--RHP

 

I would rank Duffy and Dwyer in the 50s, Odorizzi in the 60s, Colon in the 70s and Crow in the 90s. 

 

Here are the AL Central farm systems and how they stack up against each other.

Rank CHI CLE DET KC MIN
1 Chris Sale Jason Kipnis Jacob Turner Mike Moustakas Kyle Gibson
2 Brent Morel Lonnie Chisenahall Nick Castellanos John Lamb Aaron Hicks
3 Dayan Viciedo Drew Pomeranz Andy Oliver Eric Hosmer Miguel Sano
4 Jared Mitchell Alex White Chance Ruffin Wil Myers Joe Benson
5 Eduardo Escobar LeVon Washington Daniel Schlereth Mike Montgomery Ben Revere
6 Gregori Infante Nick Weglarz Daniel Fields Chris Dwyer Liam Hendriks
7 Jacob Petricka Joe Gardner Drew Smyly Dan Duffy Alex Wimmers
8 Brandon Short Jason Knapp Casey Crosby Jeremy Jeffress Adrian Salcedo
9 Trayce Thompson Tony Wolters Francisco Martinez Jake Odorizzi Oswaldo Arcia
10 Anthony Carter Cord Phelps Bruce Rondon Christian Colon Carlos Gutierrez

 

I tried to use Kevin Goldstein's star rankings--but he hasn't done the White Sox/Twins--so I used BA's rankings and guessed at the stars.  5 star prospects=Top 50ish and are bold/italic.  4 star prospects=Top 100ish and are normal.  3 star=101-200ish and are bold.  2 star prospects=filler and are italicized.  The Twins have a good farm system and look to be a good team for the foreseeable future.  Cleveland has a deep farm system but not many impact players.  Chicago and Detroit are in win now mode--but have the deep pockets to stay competitive if they are smart.

 

A year from now what might the Royals farm system look like?  Below is some creative writing and a look into the future.

Rank Name Comment
1 Wil Myers One of top prospects in baseball after dominating Carolina and Texas Leagues
2 Eric Hosmer Ready to take over 1st Base after showing big power in AAA
3 George Springer The Royals 1st Round pick has the potential to be a more athletic Jay Bruce
4 John Lamb Could start 2012 in the rotation after lots of Ks and good control at AA and AAA.
5 Jake Odorizzi Put it all together at Wilmington--and pitched well at AA
6 Yordano Ventura Incredible stuff that dominated at Low-A
7 Brett Eibner Dominated at Low-A and then hit well at Wilmington after promotion.
8 Cheslor Cuthbert Hit for average and power as 18 year old at Kane County.
9 Sal Perez Handled the AA pitching staff with ease and the bat won't hurt you.
10 Humberto Arteaga 17 year old had strong short season debut--showing good bat and glove
11 Tim Melville Bounced back with a good 2011--starting in Wilmington and finished in NW Arkansas.
12 Noel Arguelles He exists and looked good but still battled some injuries.
13 Chris Dwyer Had an up and down year at AA--control needs help.
14 Robinson Yambati Showed good stuff in the Midwest League
15 Kelvim Herrera Finally got healthy at mid season and showed the stuff that has everyone excited.

 

The Royals could easily have a Top 3 system next year--even if they graduate some top prospects in 2011 (like Moose, Monty and Duffy).  They should add a top prospect with their 1st Round pick of the June draft.  They also have a lot high ceiling prospects (especially pitchers) who could emerge in 2011. 

 

There you go.  I've sliced and diced Royals prospects just about every way I can imagine.  All we need now is for games to start and be able to see how these kids perform.  Thanks to everyone for reading the series and all the great comments.

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