FanGraphs has unveiled their Top Prospects list, and its tier-based system centered on Future Value (FV) rankings makes it a bit different. Kiley McDaniel, fresh off his scouting trip to the Dominican Republic, wrote yesterday, "Try not to get too bent out of shape if you think some guy that’s 23rd should be 45th; that is so much closer to being the exact same thing than many people realize."
With that said, feel free to get bent out of shape if any of the Royals are not where you'd put them.
Top Tier: 70 FV prospects
There are no Royals in this tier; this tier is reserved only for Kris Bryant and Byron Buxton.
2nd Tier: 65 FV prospects
No, just kidding, no Royals here either, nor in the next tier, which is for prospects in the 60 FV range.
4th tier: 55 FV prospects
In the intro article for the list, McDaniel gave an example of what to expect from a prospect with a 55 FV:
The FV grade primarily takes into account upside, likelihood to reach that potential, and distance to the big leagues. So, for a big league ready player with relatively little risk that I peg as a 55 FV — Rays RF Steven Souza, for example — this means I think his most likely peak season(s) in the big leagues will be +2.5 to + 2.9 wins, with a relatively equal chance of his peak being a notch higher or lower than that.
Sean Manaea falls into this category, and is ranked #37 overall. McDaniel says says his upside is a #2 or 3 starter, with fastball and slider as his best offerings.
Down the list a little ways, at #56, is Brandon Finnegan. McDaniel says it's "still not clear if he’s a mid-rotation starter or closer long-term, but we saw in September that his stuff will play wherever you put it."
At #61 is Raul Mondesi the Younger. McDaniel notes that the Royals' aggressive promotion of Mondesi makes it hard to evaluate his bat, because he's a kid facing much more developed arms, but his arm, speed, defense, and raw power are all there.
5th tier: 50 FV prospects
Kyle Zimmer appears a little ways down, at #94. McDaniel indicates Zimmer's ability would put him way higher, but injury risk is a huge factor that knocked him down quite a ways.
At #105 is Miguel Almonte, who McDaniel thinks is held back by his inconsistency and his lower arm slot. It will take more than 93-96 mph with a plus changeup "at times" to have consistent big league success.
Hunter Dozier is the next Royal on the list at #139. McDaniel says if he can solve his contact issues from last season, he'll be "close to a callup" this year. How big of an "if" is that?
The last tier: 45-50ish FV
The only Royal in the final, non-numbered section of the rankings is outfielder Jorge Bonifacio. Bonifacio did see some time at Omaha last year, but it was in the playoffs so it's not listed on his FanGraphs or B-Ref pages. I saw him with my own eyes (and camera), though. Before that, he spent the whole season, his age 21 year, at AA. It was, frankly, not a good showing, so I was a little surprised to still see him listed here. But he was in everyone's Top 100s before 2014 so perhaps there's still some cachet there.
How did you all feel about these rankings? Is there anyone you'd have in a different tier altogether? Did McDaniel omit anyone you would have featured?