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A look at Royals prospects in the Arizona Fall League

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Khalil Lee, arguably the Royals top prospect, headlines a group of Royals prospects that are playing in Surprise, AZ, this fall.

AFL West All-Star, Khalil Lee #15 of the Kansas City Royals warms up before the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Our fearless leader, Max, wrote a while back that the Royals were sending a group of prospects headlined by Khalil Lee to the Arizona Fall League, also known as “Prospect Finishing School”. It’s been a while since that group of prospects made it to Surprise, so I figured now may be a good time to update you on how they are doing.

Khalil Lee, OF

.167/.265/.267/.531, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 3 SB

Khalil Lee was banged up at the end of his season in AA and was probably sent to the Arizona Fall League in order to make up for lost time. After destroying the competition in High-A at the beginning of the 2018 campaign, Lee only played in 29 games with AA Northwest Arkansas. One could make the argument that Lee may have been rushed a bit, but the Royals clearly felt that Lee both needed the at-bats and was capable of handling the competition. I wouldn’t worry too much about the slash line here.

Nick Heath, OF

.333/.429/.407/.836, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 11 SB

I am trying very hard to temper my excitement here. Nick Heath was fantastic between High-A and AA in 2018. Now he is running (literally) amok in the Arizona Fall League. Heath has an incredibly high ceiling as a defender, he has a knack for getting on base, and he’s probably the fastest player in the Royals system. That all sounds great, right? Sounds like a top prospect. The only things tempering expectations of Heath at the moment are his age (he’ll be 25 next season, was much older than his competition this year), and a really high K% for a guy that needs to be on base frequently. If Heath can get his K% down closer to 15% (was up around 27% in 2018), the Royals may have something here.

Meibrys Viloria, C

.179/.425/.250/.675, 2 doubles, 1 SB, 0.64 K/BB ratio

We got a pretty decent look at Viloria this past September, and I was thoroughly impressed with what he saw. When I got my first live look at Viloria last February during Spring Training, I wrote that Viloria was a sure-fire big leaguer. I did not expect it to happen that quickly. Viloria has shown the ability to walk at an above-average rate and his defense behind the plate is advanced for a 21-year old. I am a big fan of Viloria. Oh, check this out:

Scott Blewett, RHP

2.21 ERA, 20.1 IP, 15 K, 7 BB

Blewett has been dealin’ lately in Arizona.

Blewett threw four innings of one-run ball last night in a 10-1 Saguaros win. After struggling a bit in AA this season as a 22-year old, the Royals will certainly be looking for Blewett to bounce back between AA and AAA in 2019.

Grant Gavin, RHP

0.90 ERA, 10 IP, 6 K, 3 BB

Nothing new here for Gavin. The 23-year old out of the University of Central Missouri has done nothing but deal since being drafted in 2016. Strictly a reliever, I’d expect to end his 2019 campaign in AAA Omaha with a shot at a big league debut in 2020.

Arnaldo Hernandez, RHP

1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP, 7 K, 4 BB

Hernandez is almost certainly going to be added to the 40-man roster this off-season and I fully expect him to make his MLB debut in 2019. Hernandez posted an ERA of 3.55 in AAA (9 starts) this season after beginning the year with High-A Wilmington. The soon-to-be 23-year old is one of KC’s most under-the-radar pitching prospects and I for one am excited to see him in the big leagues.

Walker Sheller, RHP

9.64 ERA, 4.2 IP

Another intriguing relief option for the Royals. He pitched fairly well at AA in 2018.