Below bottom: Burlington Royals fall to 2-11 in Appalachian League

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

BLUEFIELD, Va. – You’re not sure what to drink when you’re looking this far up at the bottom. You start to feel like Pabst Blue Ribbon may be a little high class. Would a six pack of Old Milwaukee be more appropriate? Or is it time for a single Colt 45?

Today’s release of the Midseason Farm System Grades left little hope for Kansas City Royals fans hoping for better years to come. The Royals farm system scored a C- to nail down the distinction of having the worst farm system in the AL Central.

Within the Royals farm system, the rookie-level Burlington Royals, now 2-11 following tonight’s loss to the Bluefield Blue Jays, hold the worst record.

Last week I got excited when Kansas City General Manager Dayton Moore showed up in Burlington. You would think he and Vice President of Player Personnel J.J. Picollo would have good reasons for spending several days in our small North Carolina town. One would hope it served as a much-needed wake up call. If the Burlington Royals are any indicator of the kind of talent Kansas City is developing, Moore and Picollo need to make some major changes fast.

Here’s a look from the cheap seats:

Hitting: Burlington was batting .178 for the season going into tonight’s game. Burlington’s ninth batter, left fielder Montae Bradshaw, is batting .034. Yes, he’s a starter. He’s played 9 games for 29 at bats. This week the Royals sent us a fresh outfielder, Hunter Strong, from Arizona. His batting average at Arizona: .182. I think he’ll fit right in. Our best hitter, Jeison Guzman, actually is pretty good—at the rookie level. The biggest concern for Guzman is that he only hit .220 at single-A Lexington. His defensive play at short stop needs some work, too.

Pitching: Our team ERA ranks 8th out of 10 Appy League teams, though that’s likely to worsen now that right hander Charlie Neuweiler has been promoted to Lexington. Neuweiler rang up an impressive 10 strike outs in 10 innings pitched, but he also allowed 7 earned runs, including 2 homers. Ashe Russell, a 2015 first-round draft pick who hasn’t been seen since 2016, was on our roster (reserve status) until last week. Now he’s quietly been moved to Lexington’s roster, on the seven-day disabled list. Elvis Luciano, another highly lauded prospect, has shown signs of promise but nothing that would indicate he’s on any kind of fast track.

The Burlington Royals will be back home Wednesday. At least I have the fireworks to look forward to after the game.

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