Royals Minor League All-Star Team

Christian Petersen

An examination, nomination, and election of Royals minor leaguers who have been undemocratically decided as All Stars

I believe in democracy, the American dream, and the right to vote. Unfortunately the internet, and specifically Royals Review, is nebulous. There's no signed constitution or outlining of rights for commentators. You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be quoted by Scott McKinney in a block format to facilitate his argument.


Normally the MLB All-Stars are chosen democratically by the fans. Well, democratically in the sense that anybody is allowed to vote like 7 times in a single day and Yankees fans can form Super PAC's to get Carlos Beltran 9th on the OF ballot despite hitting .220/.279/.412 in front of Alex Gordon who's only freaking got a 134 wRC+ and is 3rd in fWAR in the whole damn sport at the time of this writing and is the best fielder at any position by some margin and he's a really good looking guy and isn't even on the freaking ballot... but that's beside the point.

Because the internet is Thunderdome, I can undemocratically elect whoever I want to whatever All Star ballot I want. That is what I have done.

Below is the Royals minor league All Stars. Generally players will be nominated, and immediately elected without vote, regardless of their prospectdom, but if the results are close, I will side with the guy who's a better prospect against a guy who may not even be a prospect at all (I'm looking at you Whit Merrifield).

For the purposes of this selection we'll also skip any players who are in short season ball.

Also remember that any wRC+ numbers are not park adjusted.

Catcher

Frank Schwindel (Lexington) - .258/.284/.480 11 HR 106 wRC+

The 18th rounder who's split time between 1B, Catcher, and DH so far this year is slightly above the average age for the Sally League player, but has a 106 wRC+ this year in his sophomore season which is riding largely on the back of his 11 home runs.

First Base

Cheslor Cuthbert (Northwest Arkansas) - .268/.335/.418 117 wRC+

Truth be told I've never been a huge believer in Cuthbert. Defensively he is sloppy at any position and I don't even know if he could play DH adequately. Supposedly the Royals are going to try him at 2B, but I can't see any worldly way he can play there with adequacy. The other detraction I've had with Cuthbert is the lack of power. At 2B that can be excused a bit, but at 3B, and 1B even more, there needs to be some pop in the bat and Cheslor hasn't shown that for long stretches. Admittedly he's turned it on at times this season. To maximize his value I think he needs to be a third baseman in the long run, but he may not have the bat or glove to stay there at the major league level. On the positive side of things Cuthbert has shown both respectable walk and strikeout rates and is just 21 years old in AA.

Second Base

Ramon Torres (Lexington) -  .313/.356/.438 123 wRC+

Former Royals organizational affiliate POTY, Torres is a sleeper in this system. He was a July 2nd signee out of the Dominican Republic and has moved slowly up the affiliate ladder. He used to play shortstop but has been moved to second base. At 21 and in A Ball he'll need to move at a quicker pace to continue being prospect-worthy, but the MI glove is solid, has good speed, and there's some power there.

Short Stop

Raul Mondesi (Wilmington) - .241/.290/.330 75 wRC+

Shouldn't be a surprise here. Orlando Calixte gets some love down in Northwest Arkansas, but Mondesi is four years younger and is only one level below him. While the triple slash line is ugly on the face, once you put some context into it, aka his age, it gets prettier. There just simply aren't players his age competing at the same level. He's five years younger than the average age in A+ and the youngest player in the Carolina League by two years. Only for two games this season was Mondesi joined in the A+ level by another 18 year old, Deivi Grullon of the Phillies, but Grullon has since been demoted from A+ to A Ball then later to A- Ball. He's now the youngest player in the A+ level. Mondesi just needs to continue to play games. He was out for a span with back spasms, but he's been healthy historically. Just always remember, Mondesi would be a Senior in High School right now.

Third Base

Hunter Dozier (Northwest Arkansas/Wilmington) - .295/.397/.429 135 wRC+

Okay, if you didn't call the SS one, then surely you saw this one coming. I'm not going to ramble on and on about Dozier, but he's now in AA with only a handful of 2013 draftees. The above line is solely from his action in Wilmington. Solid OBP, walk rate, strong arm at the hot corner, a plus hit tool and potential plus-power. I remember after a month and a half into the season when he was hitting .246/.370/.333 and Twitter was abuzz about him being  a bust.

Outfield

Dominique Taylor (Lexington) - .305/.338/.457 119

Taylor was one of my sleepers to begin the season. I loved what he did in Idaho Falls last year where he mixed speed and power with good defense and a smooth swing. He's moved into place as my #1 sleeper for the Royals. Taylor was a Sally League All-Star as a backup to top prospect David Dahl, but he ended up winning the Sally League All-Star Game MVP award. For winning he was awarded a recliner which he donated to his parents.

Jorge Bonifacio (Northwest Arkansas) - .223/.297/.330 83 wRC+

Bonifacio wins by default almost as there's little competition in the Royals organization for the outfield spot right now. Boni is just 21 years old, but the power still isn't there and he's been smited strongly by the BABIP Gods (.277 for a guy who usually hits for a strong average). This is Jorge's second, and longer, look at the AA level. I had some hopes we could see him in Omaha perhaps this year given his profile and results, but that seems unlikely at this point.

Bubba Starling (Wilmington) - .210/.295/.340 80 wRC+

Starling finds himself on this list for three reasons; 1) He's still a prospect and still have massive potential. 2) He's flashed his ceiling in spurts throughout the year. Since the Carolina League All-Star Game Starling has hit .295/.325/.530 with home runs in back-to-back games. That's also just a weeks separated from his 15 game hitting streak. 3) There's really no one else...

Starling has really struggled against right handed pitchers (he's right handed as well), but his results against lefties have been noticeable: .286/.373/.571

Pitchers

Christian Binford (Wilmington) - 10.16 K/9 1.41 B/9 2.19 ERA 2.14 FIP

While the results haven't matched the profile that's been a good thing . Many see Binford as a #4/5 starter in the majors leagues, but he's been pitching like a potential #1. Binford is 21 years old and has dominated the Carolina League and has been one of the best pitchers anywhere in the minors. Counting pitchers with 70+ IP, Binford has the 3rd best FIP in all of minor league baseball and a Top-10 K/9.

Binford continued his FIP dominance Monday night with a 6.2 inning 8 hit  3 earned run outing that saw him strikeout six and walk none.

He hasn't walked a batter in FOUR straight games. That's a 23.2 inning span that's seen him strike out 23 guys also.

Sean Manaea (Wilmington) - 12.32 K/9 4.56 B/9 4.89 ERA 3.76 FIP

The command hasn't been there for Manaea, but that hasn't prevented him from still striking out hitters at an insane rate. Manaea is first in all the minor leagues in K/9 (minimum 50 IP). He seems to be healthy and just getting back into the swing of pitching. The Royals organization seems to be taking him slow as he's yet to pitch more than 5 innings this year in a single outing.

The velocity has been there. Sits mid-90 with fastball and touches 97. Speed alone puts it as a plus pitch without factoring in movement.

Manaea is producing fine results and you'd imagine a guy with his good command profile will return to the swing of things a lower his walk rate.

One could expect Manaea to move to Northwest Arkansas at some point this year like Kyle Zimmer was last year in July.

Daniel Stumpf (Wilmington) - 9.55 K/9 2.39 B/9 4.96 ERA 2.32 FIP

Another guy with results that don't match the profile and with Stumpf it's double.

First Daniel doesn't have the profile of a front end starter, but as a 21 year old in A+ he's been very good. Stumpf has a plus fastball, but his slider and change need some work. They'll flash average at times, and he's been able to use that to oppress hitters in A+.

Second, his FIP has been above and beyond better than his ERA. More than a 2.5 run differential. The Wilmington defense is likely playing a part of that as Binford, Manaea, Stumpf, and Miguel Almonte (four of the five Wilmington rotation) have a better FIP than ERA in some form.

Stumpf could be another sleeper in this system as he's always had good strikeout numbers.

Jason Adam (Northwest Arkansas) - 7.99 K/9 2.66 B/9 5.69 ERA 3.74 FIP

Adam has always been an enigma. He's been young for his league by at least two years at every step and he's got good stuff. His problem is getting hit around often. The Royals have been aggressive with the young KC native and he's been punished at each level from an ERA standpoint.

The good news here is his FIP shows he's a good pitcher on some level; 3.74 FIP this year and 3.83 FIP last year. He's seen his FIP drop this year and his K/9 Up - B/9 down. Almost everything you want to see from a DIPS theory standpoint for a progressing pitcher .

Jonathan Dziedzic (Wilmington) - 9.27 K/9 2.69 B/9 2.69 ERA 3.11 FIP

Dziedzic shows similarities with Christian Binford. Both are later round guys who live off of command and don't have explosive profiles. Dziedzic was recently a Carolina League All-Star this year and his results have earned that award.

Like Binford, Dziedzic lives off a low-90's fastball and average-ish secondary offerings in a curve/change.  If the fastball can maintain that velocity long term then he could slot in as a back end starter who gets ground balls. Dziedzic is just 6-foot tall so if you buy into the small pitcher equals reliever theory then Dziedzic could be that too...but so could any other pitcher.

I didn't mean for four out of the five pitchers, and six out of the 13 players to be from Wilmington, but that's where a lot of the talent is.

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