Outfielder Khalil Lee, one of the top prospects in the Royals’ system, will go against some of the best minor league competition this fall in the Arizona Fall League. The 20-year old will be joined by catcher Meibrys Viloria, outfielder Nick Heath, and pitchers Scott Blewett, Grant Gavin, and Walker Sheller. The league, which begins play October 9, is typically meant for high-level players close to the big leagues. Last year, Nicky Lopez headlined the Royals sent to play in Arizona.
Lee, ranked as the #2 prospect in the system by MLB Pipeline, has one of the most patient approaches by a Royals prospect, batting .263/.382/.390 with a 14% walk rate. He has struggled since being promoted to AA Northwest Arkansas, batting just .245 in 29 games. Lee brings a good blend of speed and power, and has consistently drawn walks, although he has a fairly high strikeout rate as well.
Viloria was added to the 40-man roster last year, although he is not ranked in the top 30 by MLB Pipeline. The 21-year old Colombian catcher hit .256/.338/.358 with six home runs in 99 games for High-A Wilmington. Nick Heath is a graduate of Junction City High School in Kansas and was taken in the 16th round of the 2016 draft out of Northwestern State in Louisiana. The speedy outfielder hit .282/.386/.369 with 39 steals in just 86 games across High-A and AA.
Scott Blewett was a second-round pick out of high school in 2014 who was highly touted and ranks 26th on MLB Pipeline’s list, but has had an inconsistent track record. This year, the 22-year old righty had a 4.89 ERA with 6.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings in 141 2/3 innings for AA Northwest Arkansas. Walker Sheller was a ninth-round pick in 2016 out of Stetson University who posted a solid 3.25 ERA in 55 1⁄3 relief innings across High-A and AA, although his strikeout rate declined significantly from last year. Grant Gavin is a Parkville, Missouri native and University of Central Missouri grad who had a 3.10 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 52 1⁄3 relief innings across High-A and AA.
The Royals prospects will play for the Surprise Saguaros, where they will be managed by Cardinals minor league skipper Stubby Clapp. Royals minor league hitting instructor Brian Buchanan will also be on the staff. You can see their schedule here. The league runs through November 17. The league will feature top minor league talent like Vladimir Guerrero, Jr, Keston Hiura, Luis Robert, and Forrest Whitley. You can see complete rosters here.