The Royals farm system is a shell of what it once was, writes MLB.com prospect expert Jim Callis. Some of that was through trades, some through draft limitations, but some of it was just bad picks in the draft. The Royals failed to land anyone on the Top 100 prospect list, and Callis writes there is no “obvious middle-of-the-order hitter or frontline starter on the way” in his ranking of the top 30 Royals prospects.
Left-handed pitcher Matt Strahm tops the list, and he is lauded for improving each year. Callis notes that his “fastball and curveball tend to tick down over longer stints, so he has a ceiling as either a mid-rotation starter or a setup man.”
Hunter Dozier sits at #2 in the organization and Callis likes the progress the former first-rounder made after a disastrous 2015 season, noting that although he is blocked at third, he could become a decent outfielder. Fireballing right-hander Josh Staumont is third on the list with “the highest ceiling”, but with big-time command issues. Callis does not seem to think it is necessarily a mechanical issues, writing “there's nothing glaring with his delivery, though he struggles to keep it in sync.”
Pitchers Eric Skoglund, Scott Blewitt, Jake Junis, catcher Chase Vallot, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, pitcher Kyle Zimmer, and outfielder Seuly Matias round out the top ten for the Royals. Their top pick in the 2016 draft, pitcher A.J. Puckett comes in at #11. Recently acquired outfielder Donnie Dewees is #13 and is given the best hit and best run tool grades. Disappointing 2015 first round pick Ashe Russell is #27, and is cited along with outfielder Bubba Starling (who did not make the list) as having the biggest fall in the organization.
Callis also answered a few questions on Twitter. He thinks Matt Strahm could make it as a starter.
He thinks Donnie Dewees could be an option in center.
If the @Royals could merge Dewees' hitting ability w/Bubba Starling's D, that would be a nice CF. Not sure that technology exists, however.— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) February 22, 2017
On whether Chase Vallot or Meibrys Villoria could one day replace Salvador Perez, he cites Sebastian Rivero as well.
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