Ah, 2010. The Royals were assembling the Greatest Farm System Ever, as Hosmer found his eyes, Wil Myers soared and Moose started to pull it together.
By the time the draft rolled around, the plaudits were already rolling in, the Royals were back, the Royals knew how to draft and develop talent, the pipeline was bursting, etc. Then the Royals went college-heavy, really college heavy. Did this mean they thought they were getting close? That's what just about everyone thought.
When I checked in on the 2010 draftees last summer, the word I used to characterize the haul was "strange." Now that we have a full year of data to look at (still not very much, as these things go) what picture emerges?
4th - Kevin Chapman (LHP): Lifetime 5.06 ERA for the 22 year old, who reached AA last year. In 25 games (39 innings) he posted a 4.99 ERA for the Naturals. Still, he's a guy to watch, because he gets lots and lots of strikeouts. Wait for it... quite a few walks as well. A proverbial "if he ever gets it together..." live arm, only with less upside because he's already a reliever.
1st Pick- Christian Colon (SS): Colon was the fourth overall pick, and while he had his fans on draft day, he's had a rough go. He was going to be a divisive pick eventually (you could see it coming) but he's not even been good enough to divide. Everyone's just worried. Colon posted a .668 OPS at AA NWA and doubts about his ability to handle short persist. As a college hitter, he was supposed to adjust a little quicker to professional pitching, but that hasn't happened yet. Next season will be his age 23 campaign, and NWA is a nice place to hit. We're far far far from being able to say anything definitive about Colon yet, but he really needs to post a .900 OPS and draw good defensive reviews next season. Moreover, it might be time to proactively move him to 2B sooner rather than later. That'll be a painful admission, but as a hedge might help in the long run.
2nd - Brett Eibner (RHP -> OF): The Royals made Eibner a fulltime OF and he rewarded them by performing like an Astros prospect in 2011. Eibner hit ,213/.340/.408 last year as a 22 year old at A ball.
3rd - Michael Antonio (SS): He's now made it all the way up to Idaho Falls! I'm not even sure I'm being sarcastic, either. One of the few HS draftees at the top of the table for the Royals, Antonio has now progressed through 3 levels in two seasons, and should start 2012 with the Chukars. Has shown some moderate power thus far (.453 slg) which is interesting. He's still very very far away from the Majors, which is in this case a good thing. Let's loop back on him, say, July 2013?
5th - Jason Adam (RHP): There's been quite a lot of buzz about Adam thus far, really going back to Spring Training last season. Scouts like the kid. That being said, the numbers at Kane County in 2011 weren't terribly noteworthy. Definitely still an interesting pick, definitely someone to watch, and still potentially the steal that many hoped he would be in 2010. Now let's get that K rate over 7 per 9 in the low minors. Sickels had him as the #15 prospect in the system last fall.
6th - Scott Alexander (LHP): A lefty arm, Alexander struggled at Idaho Falls in 2011: 55 IP, 5.73 ERA. The main problem was that he allowed an awful 11.9 hits per nine. A profile two years ago notes that he allowed an extremely low batting average as a junior at Sonoma State. Live by the batting average, die by it, I guess. According to the link above, Alexander was considered a 2nd or 3rd round pick out of high school. For a college pitcher (he did two years at Pepperdine) 2011 was a major disappointment.
7th - Eric Cantrell (RHP): Another college arm (George Washington), Cantrell signed in time to appear in one game in 2010. In 2011, at Burlington, he went 0-5 in 13 games. Really all you can see out of 2011 is a vaguely interesting strikeout number (8.2 per 9). Has not allowed a homer as a professional and appears to be generating decent groundball numbers. Upside?
8th - Michael Mariot (RHP): The Royals have used Mariot as a starter and a reliever in his two minor league seasons. Mariot notched 50+ innings with the Chukars back in 2010, and 100.1 with Wilmington last season. The numbers year to year are quite similar - mid 3.00s ERA, 8 H/9, 2 BB/9, etc. The main divergence was that his strikeouts went from very good in Idaho (10.3/9) to ok as a Blue Rock (7.2/9). Yet another Royal to post good numbers in Wilmington, it will be decisive (perhaps, so, actually not) to see how Mariot handles AA hitters, presumably next year, as a 23 year old. Odd note: Mariot started 9 games in 2011 and finished 14, so apparently he's now a closer?
9th- Whit Merrifield (Extremely Southern): For me, the only question is this: did he have a buzz cut or did he have Bama bangs?
10th- Tim Ferguson (OF): A possibly interesting player. A CF out of Ole Miss, Ferguson has hit well as a pro. He signed quickly enough to play in 47 games in 2010 and in 2011, mostly as a Blue Rock, he hit well. Anyone who slugs .597 in Frawley in 430 PAs is worth following.