The ranks of the Royals prospects swelled this past week. I'm not sure what I can add about the Greinke trade--I went through the same cycle I've heard from many Royals fans: Initially disappointed that the Royals didn't go for more upside and then becoming more optimistic when looking at the whole package. Once you start making a 2013 lineup and it looks very strong with lots of intriguing leftovers. We now have 32 prospects left to cover and so I've got reports on 7 this and there will be 7 more next time. You can find prospects #62-33 here. After the jump I'll give some thoughts on Escobar and Cain and then get to the scouting reports.
By now every Royals fan knows Alcides Escobar was ranked #12 on Baseball America's prospect list last year. And they all also know that he stunk at the plate last year. And most of them also know that his BABIP was really low. If that bounces back then Escobar can be quite useful. Lorenzo Cain--as Dave Cameron pointed out over at Fangraphs--has the opposite problem; his inflated BABIP will probably come back to earth. But he can be a plus fielder who doesn't kill you with the bat.
When I wrapped up the series on what we can expect from a top rated farm system, I noted that the Royals will probably need to find 15-20 WAR to supplement the farm system. I think its reasonable to expect that DM has found 4-5 WAR a year combined in Escobar and Cain. As for Jeffress and Odorizzi, they will have their own reports as we move through the Top 32. On to what is now the Top 32 Prospects for the Royals in 2011.
32. Clint Robinson--1B--DOB:2/16/85
Clint Robinson is a fun guy to root for. Drafted out of Troy University the big first baseman put up pretty good numbers his first few years but has always been a little old for his league. In 2010, he put up pretty good numbers to start the year at AA but then got on fire in June and never cooled off. I don' have the exact numbers, but from June on it was something like 400/480/750. Robinson ended up winning the Texas League triple crown. The big concern is that he hit 285/347/532 on the road. Those are still good numbers but they aren't the jaw dropping numbers that his home park helped create. Robinson's power is real and he's gotten better defensively. It's hard to see where he fits on the Royals club going forward. He will get to enjoy another hitter friendly league in 2011 when he's at Omaha.
Schaum did an interview with Robinson here.
31. Crawford Simmons--LHP--DOB:6/10/91
The Royals drafted Simmons in the 14th Round of the 2009 draft and gave him an above slot signing bonus ($450,000). He debuted in 2010 at short-season Burlington where he posted a 3.71 FIP while averaging 8.2/k and 2.1 bb per 9ip. He has a traditional fastball/curve/change arsenal. The stuff isn't overwhelming but he commands it well. The question will be how more experienced hitters handle his stuff. He should get to challenge Midwest League hitters at Kane County in 2011.
30. Jeff Bianchi--SS--DOB:10/5/86
Somewhere out there is an alternate universe where Jeff Bianchi was healthy for 2010, put up decent numbers at Omaha and what DM looked for in the Zack Greinke trade is very different. But Bianchi did have TJ surgery and miss the 2010 season. As far as I know, he should be back in 2011. Bianchi has a good bat for a SS and the defense chops to stay at SS. The question has always been health--he's had a lot of injuries and his arm needs to come back for him to stay at SS. He should get a chance at Omaha to prove he is healthy. With the addition of Escobar though, his future is somewhat cloudy with the organization.
29. Noel Arguelles--LHP--DOB:1/12/90
The Royals signed Cuban defector Noel Arguelles last offseason to a $7 million contract. 2010 was a disaster for the pitcher and he didn't throw a single pitch in a pro game. He faced injury and there whispers about his attitude. Arguelles had surgery on his shoulder--it wasn't major surgery and he is expected to be ready to pitch in spring training. When healthy he has an above average fastball with a curve and change that can be above average pitches. As with many young pitchers, he needs better command and control of both. I'm guessing he will be at Wilmington in 2011. He's got a lot of talent and could be in the Top 10 next year if he can prove he's healthy and motivated.
28, Buddy Baumann--LHP--DOB:12/9/87
A personal favorite of mine, the Royals took Baumann in the 7th Round of the 2009 draft out of Missouri State--where he had had an extremely successful junior year. He has a fastball, slider, change-up arsenal and he knows how to use it and commands it well. He's only 5' 10" so there will be questions about his durability as a starter. As you can see, he dominated at Wilmington. He should be in the running to be on an extremely talented Northwest Arkansas pitching staff. It will be very interesting to see how he responds to moving to such a hitting friendly environment--Baumann is a sleeper to keep an eye on.
Schaum did another excellent interview with Baumann here.
27. Tyler Sample--RHP--DOB:6/27/89
The Royals took Sample in the 3rd Round of the 2008 draft out of HS in the Denver area. He's a big righthander who a very good fastball that sits in the low 90s with downward movement. He has a curve that has potential but his change-up has been very inconsistent. It looked like Sample was making progress in 2009 as his control took a step forward. But 2010 was a disaster. His control was non-existent. Sample has a ton of potential but needs to put it together. He could also be moved to the bullpen to see if that helps. I'm not sure where he goes for 2011--he could go back to the Midwest League or they could ahead and let him go to Wilmington and see if he benefits from an extremely pitching friendly environment.
26. Everett Teaford--LHP--DOB:5/15/84
The Royals took Teaford in the 12th Round way back in the 2006 draft. He had pitched OK but then something clicked last year. After getting pounded at AA in 2009, Teaford was great in 2010--getting better as the year went on. Our own 306008 chronicled Teaford here. Teaford was showing an above average fastball/curve with a good change to go with it. I'm not exactly sure what we have here but there is the possibility Teaford has figured it out and is a late bloomer. He'll be 27 in 2011 and only has 4+ innings at AAA but he may get a shot at Royals #5 starter in Spring Training. His development only adds to the embarrassment of riches the Royals have pitching from the left side.