I decided to lower my rankings amount this year as going 40 deep just turns into a bit of noise at the bottom of the group. Â With that said the Royals still have a deep farm system with plenty of talent that one could go deep naming off possible contributors down the line. Â Remember in our rankings at PTP we eliminate guys as soon as they make it into a MLB game so unlike BP and BA Yordano Ventura isn’t eligible. Â If he had been I would spot him in the 2 hole behind Zimmer while ranking Dwyer at 10 and Donnie Joseph at 13 if you wanted a reference.
1. Kyle Zimmer – A potential front of the rotation starter with the body to carry the Royals rotation. Â If he continues to build on his 2013 finish he’ll be in KC very quickly.
2. Raul Mondesi – A stud defender with the potential to be a star if the bat, speed and pop continue to grow. Â The trip to the Carolina league should be a good test for Mondesi.
3. Miguel Almonte – Change Up. Â How many 19 year olds do you see in Single A throw a mid 90’s FB and will throw the change to both side hitters. Â Expect to see him dominate in Wilmington.
4. Hunter Dozier – A patient approach along with body and approach to be a solid corner. Â Wilmington should be a solid test for the college stud.
5. Jorge Bonifacio – The power and strong arm to become an everyday right fielder. Â Can he stay healthy for an entire season? Â Expect a repeat trip to AA where his power could play up.
6. Sean Manaea – A surprise return to the mound in October is sending hopes inside the org that the lefty is getting back to his old form. Â Which form is that though? Â The possible #1 overall pick folks saw at the Cape or the Jr/Sr pitcher at Indiana St. Â Either one is a solid lefty but the former is a superstar and the top prospect in the org. Â I’ll wait and see which we get before making that decision. Â A trip to Wilmington is realistic for a college starter.
7. Bubba Starling – This is the year to decide if Bubba is a star in making or a man who will weigh whether to give football a shot. Â Wilmington will offer a challenge to him.
8. Orlando Calixte – Solid defender at short who still gives too many ABs away but he’s got some rare pop for a shortstop in the depressed power league. Â A repeat at AA is needed.
9. Jason Adam – A horse of a pitcher who put up 170+ innings despite a tough April and should be expected to be a 200+ innings eater at the major league level if he can continue to progress. Â The Royals for years have had to acquire starters to just that and even if Jason develops into just a 4/5 starter that stills adds value at his controllable cost. Â A repeat at AA to see if he can build on his finish there wouldn’t be a bad start.
10. Elier Hernandez – I don’t think he can live up to the hype that he started with as the Royals highest ever paid international player but he’s got tools to build from in terms of pop and arm strength.
11. Cheslor Cuthbert – The Royals showed their confidence in Cuthbert by protecting him on the 40 man roster. Â It’s time Cuthbert rewards the org by exhibiting dedication and results. Â Perhaps a repeat at AA will give Cheslor the confidence he needs to release the patient approach and pop that he flashed last season. Â Work on defense is needed as well. Â Key Stat – ISO increased despite a lower BABIP at AA.
12. Christian Binford – Impressive big body with good downward angle and a solid fastball that can get into the low to mid 90’s. Â Solid control will allow him to continue to impress at High A but he’ll need to improve his secondary pitches if he wants to make an impact at the higher levels. Â Key Stat – Throws at a 3/4 arm angle with big size that proved difficult on RHH as evident in his .218 BAA RH and a .562 OPS versus them.
13. Cam Gallagher -Â I’m probably higher on Gallagher than most but I still think a kid with that size can show off some pop as well as exhibiting that he was able to handle a good group of pitchers at Single A last season. Â Key Stat – Gallagher was showing pop times in eh 1.87 – 1.92 range which is a step up for him from the past. Â A step up to High A is worth a shot.
14. Sam Selman -Â Control problems remain for the lefty who probably turns into a Donnie Joseph type reliever if he doesn’t fix them at AA this season. Â Key Stat – A .197 BAA is nice but walks lead to difficult results. Â He’s ready to get a shot at starting at AA.
15. Zane Evans -Â You would expect a college catcher to be a bit more refined behind the dish but Evans needs to continue to work on his footwork and receiving skills. Â He’ll get a better test with the stick at either Single A or High A depending on who the Royals feel is better to work with their pitchers at those levels. Â Key Stat – Dominated as expected against young competition putting up a 29% LD rate in the Pioneer league.
16. Lane Adams -Â Adams continues to climb the ladder in the org and has impressed enough people that they felt he needed to be protected on the 40 man roster this offseason. Â The outfielder exhibits solid athleticism, a little pop and decent approach. Â He’ll never be a superstar but a 4th outfielder isn’t out of the question as he continues to refine his game and show off his average tools across the board. Â Key statÂ 15 SB in 15 attempts at AA.
17. Cody Reed -Â Big arms from the leftside are hard to find and that is just what Reed has with his mid 90’s fastball and hard slider but much like Selman a few spots ahead needs to refine his control. Â At 6’5 and in the low 200’s if everything could come together the Royals could have a middle of the rotation starter but knowing the orgs history a bullpen arm could happen for Reed as well if he can harness just the FB/SL combo. Â Key Stat – K% 17.6 BB% 16.2
18. Mike Mariot – Continues to climb the ladder and has enough confidence from the org to earn a 40 man spot yesterday. Â A starter type repertoire helps him in the bullpen where his average stuff plays up and allowed him to more than hold his own in the offensive friendly PCL. Â He should get a chance to compete for a bullpen role in KC this spring if the Royals free up a spot with a trade this offseason. Â Key Stat – 7% Line drive rate against Mariot last year.
19. Brian Fletcher -Â Lack of position is likely what kept Brian off the 40 man roster this offseason. Â He’s got solid bat speed and patient approach with some pop and could be a short term solution at DH if the Royals would ever need it. Â He’s no Billy Butler but could be a cheap alternative if ever needed.
20. Bryan Brickhouse – Its easy to forget this guy after an injury season but if he can regain his velocity he was starting to show that he was able to induce weaker contact in his repeat trip to Single A.
Ones to Watch
Daniel Rockett – Â Hard playing college kid who excelled in the Pioneer league but will need to dispel off field probs.
Humberto Arteaga – Smooth fielding middle infielder who could handle SS if the path clears.
Samir Duenez – Big bat potential that will need to continue to work on defense and body otherwise bat has to probably carry too much weight.