MLB Pipeline has released its top 100 prospects for the 2020 season, and the Royals have landed three prospects on the list, including 2019 first-round pick Bobby Witt, Jr. in the top ten. Right-handed pitcher Brady Singer made the list at #59 with left-handed pitcher Daniel Lynch right behind him at #61. MLB Pipeline ranks the Royals 13th in baseball in “Prospect Points” based on a weighted measure of the top 100 rankings.
With Witt, the Royals have “star power” and the evaluators at MLB Pipeline write there is “no question” he will be able to stick at shortstop if he needs to. While there were “some concerns about the swing-and-miss tendencies” in his game, he “improved on that front a good deal during his senior year.” They write that Witt has the power and speed blend to have 20/20 potential for home runs and stolen base, and his excellent bat speed and barrel control should allow him to hit for average. Witt is the first Royals prospect to ever be ranked in the top ten by MLB Pipeline since they began their rankings in 2011. He was ranked #24 on the Baseball America top 100 prospect list released last week.
Singer was the only Royals prospect on the list in 2019, after two consecutive years with no prospects on the list. The 2018 first-round pick had a 2.85 ERA with 138 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings across High-A and Double-A last season. MLB Pipeline writes his calling card is a sinker/slider combo that he uses to induce weak contact on ground balls. Singer uses a plus sinker to overmatch right-handed hitters and can reach back for extra velocity on his four-seam fastball. His slider is said to be a plus pitch, although they note that his change up needs work. He projects to have “a realistic future as a mid-rotation starter.” Singer was left off the Baseball America list.
Lynch jumps onto the list, also making the Baseball America list at #39. The left-handed pitcher had a 2.99 ERA across Low-A and High-A, although he was limited to just 96 1⁄3 innings due to a bout with arm soreness. MLB Pipeline asserts the time off was just what he needed, lauding Lynch for an impressive performance in the Arizona Fall League. Lynch is noted for his velocity, with a fastball that “sits around 94-96 mph consistently with his fastball and has even reached the upper 90s in shorter stints.” He adds in a plus slider and plus change up to go with an average curveball. They project him as a mid-rotation pitcher with the ability to surpass even that projection.
The Royals last had this many prospects on the MLB Pipeline top 100 prospect list in 2015, when they had five prospects on the list - Adalberto Mondesi (#40), Sean Manaea (#56), Kyle Zimmer (#58), Brandon Finnegan (#75), and Miguel Almonte (#84).
Like Baseball America, MLB Pipeline anointed Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco as the top prospect in baseball, but differed in their rankings from there, with Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux at #2, White Sox outfielder Luis Robert at #3, and Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman at #4. The Rays had the most prospects on the list with six, but the Padres led all clubs in “Prospect Points” for a third consecutive year.