2016 Minor League Watchlist

The 2016 just_another_fan minor league watchlist is here.

Just as a reminder, this is not a top prospects list. Most of the players on this list are actually not prospects at all. These are mostly guys on the fringes. I try to avoid top 10 prospects unless I am really interested in a guy, and generally will avoid top draft picks as well, unless they are considered a bust (or potential bust) already. I also try to avoid following the same player more than once, so watchlist alums Elier Hernandez, Christian Binford, Aroni Nina, Brett Eibner, Jack Lopez, Chris Dwyer, John Lamb, Cheslor Cuthbert, Terrance Gore, Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado (2014), Jake Newberry, Brian Brickhouse, Daniel Rockett, Dominique Taylor, Glenn Sparkman, Angel Baez, Logan Moon, Samir Duenez, Chad Johnson, Ramon Torres, Torey Deshazier, Jake Junis, and Whit Merrifield (2015) won't be back on the list.

So we will start with 10 guys again this year, and look to follow them all year, barring injury, trades, etc.

I also try to spread guys out over multiple levels, so some guys may get left off because I don't want to follow just AA or AAA guys. Also, because I try to follow guys over the whole year, I only follow guys in full season ball.

With all of those caveats, this year's guys:

1. Luke Farrell, RHP - Born June 7, 1991, pitched at A+ and AA last year, posting a 3.07 ERA across the two levels in 123 innings of work. He struck out 20.6% of batters last year and walked just 6.8%. He's a pretty big guy, checking in at 6-6, 210. He's interesting because the Royals are looking for innings eaters at the back of the rotation. He isn't a world beater, but if he can make it to the big leagues and eat innings, that's a victory for the Royals staff. He should get a few innings in the Texas League before heading to Omaha.

2. Jorge Bonifacio, RF - Born June 4, 1993. He was a prospect at one point, but he hasn't hit since 2013. He has been in AA since then, and hasn't done much of note, unless racking up strikeouts is notable (struck out in nearly a quarter of his PA last year). Word is Bonifacio sold out for power last year at the expense of his contact skills, but he still only hit 17 bombs. This is a big year to figure out if he still figures into the Royals future.

3. Pedro Fernandez, RHP - Born May 25, 1994. He was very good in the Sally last year, but got rocked in a short (32.2 innings) stint at Wilmington. He's another smallish (6-0, 175) Dominican righty. He needs something to emerge because he doesn't have great command and really doesn't have three pitches, so it's hard to see how he progresses as a starter, but again, this is the watchlist to find fringe guys, and he's pretty fringy, so he's perfect.

4. Balbino Fuenmayor, 1B - Born November 26, 1989. He's too old for his level. He was out of affiliated baseball two years ago. He's not athletic and he's coming off a serious knee injury. Still, his OPS last year was .972 between AA and AAA. He's the longest of long shots, but he could be a fun follow this summer.

5. Julio Pinto, RHP - Born November 18, 1995. This is assuming that he pitches in the Sally this year. He doesn't have much in the way of control and may be a nightmare to follow through a series of 3 inning appearances with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks, but he also may find something this year and be ready for the Carolina League next Spring.

6. Amalani Fukofuka, OF - Born September 25,1995. I have been waiting for two years to follow him for the name alone. He should be ready for full season ball now, so it's time to have fun all summer typing that name. It's also worth noting that after struggling for two years, Fukofuka found something in the Pioneer League last year and raked to the tune of .339/.401/.500. He struck out a lot (22% of PA), but when he made contact, it was ripped (30 of his 95 hits last season were for extra bases).

7. Cole Way, LHP - Born October 23, 1991. The former collegiate punter is very tall (6-11). He and Chris Young would form a pretty imposing front court if the system ever needs to play pickup basketball. But this is about baseball, and Way hasn't been very good yet, but his size could make him and interesting player in the system. Just another fun guy to keep track of, hoping he's in the Sally this year.

8. Mauricio Ramos, 3B - Born February 2, 1992. This is just a wild guess. Ramos has been a slow moving, fairly averagish player in the minor leagues, advancing a level at a time through rookie ball and through two years at full season ball. After being a high contact guy in the rookie levels, the K's increased dramatically at full season stops in the Sally and Carolina league. This is a big year for him to demonstrate he can hit in full season ball.

9. Zach Lovvorn, RHP - Born May 26, 1994. Lovvorn pitched at two levels last year. His midseason promotion was a bit of a surprise, as he was solid but not dominate at Lexington. He doesn't strike out enough guys to really be a prospect, but he's still young for A+ ball, so there is a chance he can develop. He's another smaller righty, but the Royals saw enough to make him a 6th round pick in 2012.

10. Parker Morin, C - Born July 2, 1991. I always try to follow a catcher because the skillset is so distinct that it makes for an interesting follow. The downside is that this season, there really isn't an organizational catcher that is a fringy type prospect. Gallagher and Evans are both prospects of sorts. Everyone else is kind of org filler between there and low A.

It should be another interesting year in the minors. The Royals system ranks as below average right now, but if some of these guys take a step forward, that ranking could improve.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.