Keith Law has released his annual ranking of minor league systems in baseball and he has ranked the Royals as 23rd best. He ranks the Atlanta Braves at the top of the list after their deal to trade Shelby Miller away for a massive haul including 2015 top draft pick Dansby Swanson. Law also ranks the Angels at the bottom, calling it the "by far the worst" he's ever seen.
Law remarks that the Royals farm system is " very light on position players" with "many of their remaining pitching prospects are several years away." That should come as no surprise as the Royals had many of their top prospects become established Major Leaguers like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Danny Duffy, and traded away their next wave of prospects to acquire James Shields, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist for pennant runs.
The ranking is the lowest Law has given the Royals since 2008, showing how much work Dayton Moore and his staff have to do. However, the last time they were ranked this low, they produced the top-ranked farm system in just three years.
Law ranks two Royals prospects in the list of his top 100 prospects. Shortstop Raul Mondesi ranks 73rd on his list, quite a bit lower than he has ranked on other lists. Law notes Mondesi was overmatched at AA, and faulted his approach.
He was the only teenaged position player in the Texas League last year and didn't belong there due to poor plate discipline and a mandate to try to bunt for hits that limits the times he can work the count and develop an approach. His swing is fine, and as he gets stronger he should develop plenty of doubles power, while the other key tools -- glove, arm, running speed -- are already in place.
Law still likes his upside however, and thinks he can turn into the player currently blocking him at shortstop - Alcides Escobar.
Kyle Zimmer ranks 94th on the list and is praised as a top ten talent, with the usual caveats that his health continues to be a major concern.
Zimmer works as a starter with three legitimately plus pitches in the fastball, curveball and changeup, with only his slider lagging behind, and despite what the arm problems might imply, his delivery is pretty clean and he repeats it well. He's an excellent athlete, a former position player who fields well and has excellent body control.
Law notes that Zimmer has the ability to become a true number one pitcher on a staff, and could even serve as a dominant reliever this year. Zimmer is expected to compete for a rotation spot in spring training with the Royals this year.
Also ranking on the list were former Royals pitchers Cody Reed (#54) and Sean Manaea (#59).