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Royals 2015 Shadow Farm System Update

In another reality...

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As you may be aware, the community over at John Sickel's site and Royals Review sister site Minor League Ball does a community shadow draft every June. I've been in control of the Royals draft (in some capacity) the past three years. With that draft comes the requite article a few months later reporting the stats of those players.


I actually participated in this draft from a Dunkin Donuts in Chicago while awaiting for a train to the airport. We did the draft over the weekend series where the Royals were playing the Cubs. I believe I made all the picks but the last one.

Rnd/Pick Player Pos School Level 2015 Stats
1-21 Nick Plummer OF MI, HS R .228/.379/.344 127 wRC+
1-33 DJ Stewart OF FSU A- .218/.288/.345 89 wRC+
2-64 Thomas Eshelman RHP CSF A 7.11 K/9 4.26 BB/9 4.26 ERA 3.24 FIP
3-98 Marquise Doherty OF MO, HS N/A Did not sign; attended Mizzou
4-129 Jeff Harding RHP Chipola JC N/A Did not sign; drafted by KC

I was a big Nick Plummer fan and viewed him as one of the best prep bats in the entire draft. He actually hung around in the draft long enough for the Royals to take him but they passed and he went to the Cardinals instead.

Stewart was one of the more polished college bats, but he was an offensive first outfielder. Struggled of course in his pro debut as he was sent directly to Low-A.

Eshelman was one of, if not the best, control pitchers in college baseball history. Eshelman pitched 137 innings in 2015 for Cal State Fullerton and walked just four batters the entire time. Unsurprisingly a bit the walks surfaced in pro ball as he got used to facing much better batters.

I took a shot on Doherty much like I expected the Royals would. Our draft doesn't go 30 rounds and a lot of the will they/won't they signs go after the first two rounds simply because we're taking a shot on them actually signing. Doherty did not sign and instead is playing football/baseball at Mizzou.

I expected Harding to sign for the most part when I drafted him but he instead fell in the real draft until KC picked him. Ultimately he did not sign.


Rnd/Pick Player Pos School Level 2015 Stats
1-17 Brad Zimmer OF SFU A+/AA .273/.368/.446 139 wRC+
1-28 Spencer Adams RHP GA, HS A/A+ 6.68 K/9 1.25 BB/9 2.99 ERA 3.22 FIP
2-40 Erick Fedde RHP UNLV A-/A 8.30 K/9 2.25 BB/9 3.38 ERA 3.00 FIP
3-56 JJ Schwarz C - N/A Did not sign; attended Florida
4-92 Sam Travis 1B Indiana A+/AA .307/.381/.452 143 wRC+
5-123 Dylan Cease RHP GA, HS R 9.38 K/9 6.00 BB/9 2.63 ERA 3.98 FIP

Like with Plummer, I really liked Brad Zimmer (brother of Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer). Zimmer's ceiling was just okay going into 2015 as far as what we thought until he just exploded in 2015. He's probably a top 50 or so prospect now as he's answered questions about staying in CF and hitting for power.

Adams fared well, but you'd like to see more strikeouts.

Fedde bounced back from Tommy John just nicely.

Schwarz didn't sign and instead attended Florida. He was a monster as a freshman there this year. He hit four home runs in a single game, 18 total on the year, and made just about every All-American list you could think of in some fashion. Would have been nice to have him, but he'll likely be a big time draft prospect in 2017.

Travis ended up going to the Red Sox and just hit at every level he's seen:

Level Age wRC+
A- 20 140
A- 20 124
A+ 21 146
AA 21 140
AFL 21 132

First baseman all the way but Travis is among the top 1B prospects in baseball and is probably the future 1B for Boston.

Cease didn't get much action in 2015 as he didn't debut after being drafted in 2014. Decent start but long way off.


Rnd/Pick Player Pos School Level 2015 Stats
1-8 Hunter Renfroe OF MSU AA/AAA .273/.320/.473 115 wRC+
1-34 Eric Jagielo 3B ND AA .284/.347/.495 141 wRC+
2-46 Ryan Eades RHP LSU A+ 6.07 K/9 2.88 BB/9 3.11 ERA 3.48 FIP
3-82 Dylan Covey RHP USD A+ 6.41 K/9 2.76 BB/9 3.59 ERA 4.61 FIP
4-114 Drew Ward 3B OK, HS A+ .249/.327/.358 103 wRC+

I saw this story all the time, but I remember in 2013 jumping up in excitement when I heard Bud Selig announce the Royals were drafting "Hunter..." However it ended up being a different hunter (Dozier) than Renfroe. Renfroe had a big setback when he debuted in AA last year, but return this year, hit well, moved to AAA, and hit even better (158 wRC+). He's going to be the Padres starting RF soon with some of the best power in the minors and one of the best arms.

Jagielo might be one of the more underrated prospects in baseball. He's hit in every single level with power across the board.

Level Age wRC+
A- 21 153
A+ 22 132
AA 23 141

The question has always been the hit tool and defense at third base. However he's still one of the best 3B prospects in baseball, but not quite at the level of Rafael Devers or Ryan McMahon.

Eades has taken a step forward control wise each year and had his best season of his career this year. More strikeouts would be nice but he could settle in nicely as a back end starter for the Twins.


Rnd/Pick Player Pos School Level 2015 Stats
1-5 Mark Appel RHP SU AA/AAA 7.94 K/9 3.56 BB/9 4.45 ERA 4.30 FIP
2-66 Kyle Twomey LHP USC N/A Did not sign; attending USC
3-100 Kieran Lovegrove RHP CA, HS A- 5.49 K/9 4.60 BB/9 6.08 ERA 4.87 FIP

Appel has been Mr. Inconsistency. He went from the best college pitcher in baseball, then his velocity disappeared and he struggled in the low minors. Then there was controversy around him as he threw a bullpen session at Minute Maid Park without Bo Porter's knowledge, as outcries of pampering him (Appel) despite his poor stats. He still hasn't had a successful full season but still flashes #1/2 starter stuff. He's not that far away from getting starts in the major league.


Rnd/Pick Player Pos School Level 2015 Stats
1-5 Trevor Bauer RHP UCLA MLB 8.69 K/9 4.04 BB/9 4.55 ERA 4.33 Fip 1.8 fWAR
2-66 Charlie Lowell LHP USC N/A Did not pitch; Arrested for assault in 2014
3-100 Dominic Jose - - N/A Did not sign

Bauer has been a bit enigmatic but was a roughly average pitcher for the Indians this year.


Rnd/Pick Player Pos School Level 2015 Stats
1-5 Yasmani Grandal C UM MLB .234/.353/.403 115 wRC+ 2.3 fWAR
2-66 AJ Vanegas RHP SU A+ 7.02 K/9 5.19 BB/9 2.59 ERA 4.76 FIP
3-100 Jason Adam RHP KS, HS N/A Did not pitch in 2015; elbow injuries

Grandal had a breakout season a bit for the Dodgers this year as he was an above average player after years of meh results for the Padres.

Vangeas is also in the Dodgers organization but has never found his stride.

Adam of course was the key to the Josh Willingham trade. After really no injuries during his Royals tenure he suddenly couldn't stay healthy for the Twins in 2015 and didn't pitch a single inning. He underwent an elbow surgery (not Tommy John) that seemed to go fine until Adam couldn't straighten his arm at one point.

The 2016 Royals need outfield help with the departure of Alex Gordon. In this reality they have their choice of Zimmer or Renfroe who could fill in possibly. Meanwhile Jagielo and Travis could be MLB ready by the time Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas depart.

Pitching is thin at the upper levels for the most part other than Mark Appel who himself isn't a sure fire bet.

It's impossible to compare the Royals real life organization against this one, but I think I'd take this alternate reality over the current state of the farm.

Likely Top-100 prospects

Brad Zimmer

Hunter Renfroe

Mark Appel

Spencer Adams