LHP Noel Arguellas -#24 prospect- Noel had a tough 2010 part of it was his fault and part of it was not. He signed a large deal with the Royals out of Cuba and appeared to be ready for a huge start to his pro career but after battling with elbow tendinitis and some shoulder issues (eventually cleaned out) he never pitched in his introductory season to American baseball. He also battled with cultural differences and after one year appears (according to some) to have matured quite a bit. He still does not speak the language so you can imagine how tough that could be for him. He will be surrounded by several Spanish speaking teammates this summer.
RHP Manauris Baez- The 25 year old returns to Wilmington where he was 2-4 with a 4.13 e.r.a last season in 25 games with 15 starts. He also started 6 games for AAA Omaha.
LHP Kevin Chapman #32 prospect
Lefties that throw hard are a commodity and Chapman has a chance to put his name on the national map in the very near future. The former Florida closer can dominate at times with hard stuff that crumbles lefties and flusters righties. He has been threw a lot since leaving high school as one of the premiere arms in the country. The bullpen suits him even though he has command of 3 pitches. He should be able to compete for a big league job in the near future.
LHP Ryan Dennick 24 year old pitched at 2 levels last season going 5-4 with a 4.47 e.r.a in 35 games (all relief) he struck out 49 and walked 22 in 56 innings. He was a 22nd round pick in 2009
LHP Glenn Gibson- Glenn was originally a 4th round pick of the Nationals in 2006 before moving on to the Rays and back to the Nationals again. He has a career mark of 14-17 with a 5.89 e.r.a in 240 innings with 196 strike outs and 105 walks. He is still only 23 years old.
RHP Kelvin Herrera- Kelvin is a guy that might be better suited for the pen as he just can not stay healthy. He has a truly good arm though but has only showed that off in 34 games over 4 seasons. He runs a mark of 11-6 with a 2.07 e.r.a in 152 innings with 143 strike outs and just 37 walks.
LHP Brendan Lafferty The former UCLA Bruin has put up some solid numbers as a professional. He was drafted in the 18th round in 2009 and enters the season with a career mark of 9-4 with a 3.03 e.r.a in 137 innings with 124 K and just 40 walks. The soon to be 25 year old could see a early promotion to AA.
RHP Michael Mariot Â The former Nebraska Husker is a intriguing prospect. The Royals 8th round pick in 2010 was 2-2 with a 3.54 e.r.a last summer with 64 K, 16 BB in 56 innings for Idaho Falls
LHP Justin Marks- The Royals acquired Marks from the A’s in the David Dejesus deal and Marks looks to re-emerge as a legit prospect. He was the A’s 3rd round pick in 2009. He has struggled as a pro going 6-14 with a 5.29 e.r.a but I really liked him at Louisville University.
RHP Tim Melville #16 prospect
It would be easy to write off a guy like Tim Melville if you are a casual observer of the minor leagues. After all, he did go 2-12 with a 4.97 e.r.a last season at Wilmington. The 21 year old should return to Wilmington where I think he will have a huge year ending up at NWA in time for a playoff run. He went back to some old habits in instructs and changed things that were not working and I am told by Tim and others that he looks like Â the type of guy they thought they drafted again. I have always comped him in some ways to Mark Gubicza. Both have those Hollywood good looks and both could be rattled early in the game if things were not going well. In Marks case he had a support system around him and grew past that to become one of the all time great Kansas City Royals. I think Melville is maturing before our eyes and loving every second of his baseball career.
RHP Jake Odorizzi- #9 prospect. When it is all said and done this might be the jewel of the Zack Greinke deal. He can straight deal with hard stuff. Â Scouts believe this could be the righty that replaces Zack Greinke in a future Royals rotation. Obviously, that is big praise for a kid not out of A ball yet. He was going to be the Brewers #1 prospect before the trade to the Royals. A kid that, by all accounts, is a wonderful young man. He is a true power pitcher with a fastball that sits in the mid 9â€²s and a outstanding out pitch in his power slurve. I understand he needs to develop his change up more but people feel it is close.
RHP Bryan Paukovits- He is very much a solid control pitcher that has generated some positive numbers in his time as a pro. He started 2010 with Burlington before a promotion to Wilmington. He went a combined 6-8 with a 4.34 e.r.a and had 114 k’s and 39 walks in 130 innings.
RHP Elisaul Pimentel #40 prospect. Pimentel was acquired from the Dodgers for Scot Podsednk.Â Pimentel is your typical Dominican righty. He is tall and skinny but has some solid power stuff. He pitches in the low 9â€²s and has developed a nice feel for his slider that he used to get out lefties. He also has a average change up that works well with his power stuff.
RHP Tyler Sample- #30 prospect- This is a big year for the power righty from Colorado. He is another guy that might be best suited for the bullpen. He has a legit power arm with his fastball and secondary pitches. I said when he was drafted that his stuff might end up playing better out of the pen. I believed that even more after watching him start last season. Mentally the pen might be a better place for this max effort guy.
He has ranked very high on my list in previous posts. But, he is just one of those guys that needs to mature on the mound. When he was drafted I thought he reminded me quite a bit of another native Coloradoan (?) in Rich â€œGooseâ€ Gossage and yes he has that kind of arm. A arm that could be even more impressive as a reliever. I thought Dan Cortes would succeed as a reliever and it looks like he will. The mentality of Cortes and Sample are similar and I just see Sample as a guy that will be a lot higher on this list as he learns to pitch. I understand he has now changed some of the ways he trains so I could see the talent really arrive this season and push him way up this list.
C Jose Bonilla – Bonilla should do the brunt of the catching until Kevin David is ready. He played for Burlington last season and batted .239 with 4 HR in 284 at bats. The 22 year old Dominican will be playing his 5th season as a member of the Royals organization
C Juan Graterol- Juan’s season ended after a injury last season after just 34 games. He played 3 games for Wilmington and will also see time at 1B. The 22 year old Venezuelan has a career line of .278/.349/.315/664 with 0 home runs in 565 at bats.
INF Deivy Batista He played 2B,3B, and SS for the Bees last season batting .236 with 6 HR in 390 at bats with 100 strike outs.
INFÂ Adam Frost- Frost was signed out of the Independent league where he played for Winnipeg after being a Detroit Tigers draft pick. He hit .250 with 5 HR in 228 at bats last season for Burlington and Wilmington where he played mostly 3B.
1B Joey Lewis- The Royals 41st round pick in 2009 has some legit power. He hit 8 HR last season in 363 at bats but struck out 113 times.
SS Alex McClure- Alex has a fantastic glove and reminds me quite a bit of organizational warrior Chris McConnel (now a Nationals prospect) I think Alex will be a better hitter and he has a chance to carve out a nice little career as a defensive minded middle infielder.
INF Rey Navarro- The Royals picked up Navarro from the Diamondbacks for Carlos Rosa last season. The former 3rd round pick was once a top 10 prospect of the D-Backs but his career has not progressed as planned. He still has some talent and carries a career mark of .251/.293/.337/630
INF Johnny Whittleman- Johnny is yet another former top prospect that is trying to put something together again. The Royals picked him up late in spring training from the Texas Rangers where he had been their 2nd round pick in 2005. The 24 year old spent most of 201o at AA Frisco where he batted just .201 with 5 HR in 259 at bats. He is a fine defensive 3rd baseman.
OF Tim Ferguson- The Royals 10th round pick last season is a versatile, speedy OF. He played in 47 games after signing but missed significant time with a hamstring injury.He hit .277 but also struck out 50 times in 191 at bats.
OF Nick Francis- I thought Nick would move up to NWA but numbers are keeping him at Wilmington for now. He has really good power and batted .284 with a .516 slg last season swatting 16 HR and 24 db in 335 at bats.
OF Whit Merrifield- One of my favorite college players in recent memory. Last summer I texted a Royals f.o guy and said are you guys looking at Merrifield? I said that I really like him and think he has a chance to be a very solid role player ( a la Willie Bloomquist) in the big leagues. I was assured he was on the radar and was a guy they had watched for some time. About a month later Whit had the biggest hit in South Carolina baseball history as he had a walk off hit closing out Rosenblatt stadium and giving the Gamecocks the CWS title. I am hoping Whit sees time in the infield this season to better round out his game and push him closer to a career as a role player.
OF Carlo Testa- Testa has been in the system since 2008 (18th round pick) he played for the Bees last season hitting .275 with 50 extra base hits in 461 at bats. He has some pop and will run a bit too as he has swiped 50 bases in 3 seasons.
OF Adrian Ortiz- Adrian has moved very slowly in the organization. The former Pepperdine star broke his hand late in the season and missed all of winter ball. Adrian was taken out of HS in the 5th round by the Cubs in 2004 and again in the 5th round by the Royals in 2007. The 24 year old has a career line of .288/ .319/.359/678 and also has 105 career stolen bases in 414 games.