Today the Arizona Fall League announced their rosters. The AFL is the "premier" fall prospect league often where top prospects go to get additional in game action and work on aspects of their games. There's also a mix of injured minor leaguers rehabbing there.
Last year players like Kris Bryant, Jorge Alfaro, Abert Almora, Addison Russell, Andrew Heaney, Aaron Sanchez, and other top prospects appeared. While the players aren't generally worrying about the score and more so whatever aspect of the game they are working on, this does give top tier guys looks at other top tier guys. Something the everyday life of the minor leagues rarely provides.
Each team submits seven players to fill the large 35 man rosters of each team. Team can also send "taxi squad" players who are only eligible to play Wednesday and Saturday. Teams also provide the managers, coaches, and trainers.
The league holds a position draft to determine what players go into each team and the majority of those players are from the AA and AAA squads. Teams can only include up to two players from below the AA level.
The Royals players play on the Peoria Javelinas. In 2013 they sent Jason Adam, Noel Arguelles, Angel Baez, Malcom Culver, Orlando Calixte, Cheslor Cuthbert, Lane Adams (taxi squad), and Jorge Bonifacio. They also sent Omaha hitting coach Tommy Gregg.
In 2012 the Royals affiliate was the Surprise Saguaros. To that team they sent Edwin Carl, Jon Keck, Justin Marks, Orlando Calixte (taxi squad), Alex McClure, Whit Merrifield, and Brian Fletcher. NWA pitching coach Jim Brower also attended.
In 2011 the Saguaros were the affiliate as well. That team had Nate Adcock, Jeremy Jeffress, Brendan Lafferty, Bryan Paukovits, Christian Colon, Clint Robinson, and Wil Myers. Trainer Masanabu Koyangi from the former Suprise Royals joined them.
This year the Royals will send:
Just on the surface this is the best AFL squad the Royals have ever sent I believe. That's three or four top-10 org prospects if you think Starling is top-10 (where's Scott?).
The sore thumb in there is Ali Williams a 34th rounder in AA at age 24. He's a high-strikeout but wild command guy and if he's Rule 5 eligible (somebody help me here?) then the Royals might be playing the "what do we have here" move with him.
Another interesting note is that I was under the impression that only two players from lower than AA can be selected yet low and behold Starling, Mondesi, and Almonte (all in A+ ball) are on the roster. Perhaps the taxi squad is an exception.
You know most of these guys. Starling got the same signing bonus as Stephen Strasburg but has been an enigma mixed in rawness through his career. Dozier is the slot bonus value-play draftee who despite being under-appreciated during the pre-draft rankings has made himself into a top-50 prospect. Mondesi is the US-born Domincan wunderkind who's got an elite glove at SS and plus-plus speed but needs work with the stick. Almonte is a former sleeper prospect turned bona-fide top-100 prospect and is young. Sam Selman is another enigma as a former Vanderbilt draftee who will either strike out 8+ guys in one night or walk 5+ of them.
Also NWA manager Vance Wilson will coach the Peoria.
Of note, Kyle Zimmer did not make the AFL team which either means the Royals plan to let him rest over the offseason or send him to Venezuela or Dominican Republic Winter League.