Baseball America has released its top ten prospect list for the Royals organization, and to no surprise, last year’s first-round pick Bobby Witt, Jr. heads the list. The Royals selected Witt second overall in last June’s draft out of Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas, where he was named Gatorade National Male High School Athlete of the Year. Baseball America writes “Witt is a five-tool talent with the potential to become a franchise player, though not everyone is convinced he will hit for a high average.” Baseball America expects him to begin the year at Lexington, with a move to Wilmington by midsummer if he performs.
Much of the rest of the list is populated by the Royals’ 2018 draft class. Brady Singer, the 18th overall selection in that draft, comes in as the #4 prospect in the system. He is actually eclipsed by two other pitchers in that draft, with lefty Daniel Lynch ranked #2, and right-hander Jackson Kowar at #3. Baseball America writes that Singer needs to develop more of a change up, although they note that he is gaining confidence in it. On Kowar, they write that he will need to develop his breaking ball, but that he is an “effective strike-thrower.” Lynch is praised for having above-average control, clean arm action, and two plus pitches with a 92-97 mph fastball and a hard slider, along with an average curveball and improving change up.
Outfielder Kyle Isbel, who missed much of last season with injury comes in at #5, with Baseball America calling him the center fielder of the future. The Royals spent $3.897 million on a bonus for #6 prospect Erick Pena. Baseball America says the 16-year old outfielder projects to be “an average or better hitter with plus power, but he doesn’t yet show the necessary plate coverage to keep down the strikeouts.”
Outfielder Khalil Lee, who was second among all minor leaguers in stolen bases with 53 comes in at #7. Kris Bubic, who led the minors in strikeouts, comes in at #8. Austin Cox, an underrated left-hander who was also part of that 2018 draft class, is ranked #9. First baseman Nick Pratto, the 2017 first-round pick, rounds out the top ten despite a very disappointing season in Wilmington. Baseball America notes that Pratto spent the fall working with new Royals hitting coordinators Drew Saylor and Keoni De Renne.
Baseball America notes that the Royals farm system took a step forward due to the selection of Witt and progress by pitchers, but that many bats failed to live up to expectations. You can read scouting reports on players listed, plus their projected 2023 lineup for the Royals and a listing of all the best tools in the organization at Baseball America.