Royals Positional Depth Charts – Left handed Pitchers
Heading into last season it would have been a pretty simple proposition to line up an organizational depth chart at each position considering the Royals had the #1 farm system based primarily on the strength at the top. ¬†A year later with the graduation of 9 different prospects the organization looks much different but despite that large number of graduations the farm system was still rated the #3 overall talent organization in all of baseball according to Baseball America. ¬†This ranking was built largely on the overall depth something I’ll show you over the next few days.
Left Handed Starting Pitcher
What better position to start from but the position that got it all started a couple years ago. ¬†Danny Duffy and Everett Teaford have graduated but a couple high ceiling lefties remain.
#1 Mike Montgomery – A reliable breaking ball is holding Montgomery back currently but he’s flashed a positive curveball and the improvement of his change up lead to better results vs RH than LH (.746 OPS vs .809). ¬†Stat – Montgomery’s walk rate improved greatly as the season went on going from 5.26 BB/9 his first 15 starts and dropping to 2.88 his last 13 starts.
#2 John Lamb – Despite dealing with the injury John showed the moxie and feel for pitching that many think will prove him to be a front of the rotation starter allowing just a 3.08 ERA in his 8 starts with a heavy decrease in velocity. ¬†John proved capable of handling adversity out of high school when he missed his entire senior year, this is just another hurdle he should be able to get over.
#3 Chris Dwyer – Chris has two major league quality pitches in his fastball and curveball when he can locate them, on top of that his change up took a step forward last season according to scouts Baseball America spoke to. ¬†Stat- Dwyer finished second in the organization to Greg Billo in strikeouts looking with 41.
#4 Noel Arguelles – Arguelles like Lamb above him has a solid feel for pitching and also like Lamb he has encountered arm problems that has lead to a loss of velocity in his fastball. ¬†If Arguelles can find that 5 mph he has lost then he can become a middle of the rotation starter without it he’s probably a long man at best. ¬†Stat – Organizationally Arguelles finished below only Billo in OSwing% getting hitters to swing at pitches outside of the zone 45.6% of the time.
#5 Will Smith – Smith made it ! ¬†Will has advanced high enough in the organization to use his slider and it started to pay dividends for him towards the end of last season with the lefty putting his best stretch together during an Aug/September six start span. ¬†During those six starts Smith threw 42.3 innings of sub 1 WHIP ball along with his best K/9 (7.87) numbers of the season. ¬†Will doesn’t have one dynamic pitch so he has to lean on all four to achieve his back of the rotation profile, he’ll likely be on the cusp of major leagues in Omaha this season. ¬†Stat- RH hitters versus Smith hit ground balls 48.2% of the time as opposed to LH 33.8% rate.
#6 Crawford Simmons – Simmons showed a increase in velocity to the low 90s prior to getting injured last season.
#7 Justin Marks – 6.83 K/BB ratio versus lefties probably profiles best in a relief role.
#8 Cesar Ogando – 94 mph throwing lefty with a long way to go, flashed a decent breaking ball when I saw him at instructs but 2 innings does not make a starter.
Left Handed Relievers
#1 Kevin Chapman – Power throwing reliever who can get his pitches into the upper 90s while mixing in a solid slider. Lefties only hit .217 against Chapman in 2011 while striking out 38% of the time.
#2 Antonio Cruz – ¬†Lefties were powerless to Cruz putting up a weak .196/.287/.275 slash line while striking out 27% of the time. ¬†Cruz works in the low 90s with a breaking ball that looks like it could be a average pitch down the line.
#3¬†Brandon Sisk¬†- Sisk is the definition of a LOOGY and it is too bad the Royals don’t like to incorporate one. ¬†Sisk is a three pitch reliever who dominated lefties with a sub .500 OPS last year while holding them to a .139 BAA. ¬†Kansas City could be looking to use a LOOGY more often with the signing of Jose Mijares but should he fail Sisk could be next in line.
#4¬†Ryan Verdugo – Verdugo’s stuff doesn’t jump off the page with a low 90′s fastball but he combines it with an above average change and a slider that is improving. ¬†He held his own in a starting role in the Eastern League so the step up to the pen in the PCL shouldn’t be too big of leap, especially if he can cure his walk record(4.5 BB/9).
#5¬†Allen Caldwell – Dominated both sides in ’11 Checkout more about him here
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