Top 40 Royals prospects end of season 2011
1- OF Wil Myers- I know the regular season numbers donâ€™t show the progress fans wanted but I watch this guy play and I see a star. He has a terrific approach at the plate and his swing is so fluid and quick that I feel like I am watching a young Chipper Jones. He is not a switch hitter but I remember watching Chipper when he first came up and he just had that old school swag about him. He loves playing the game and when he is off the field he is always busy doing something like finding a fishing pond, playing video games with his buddies, or perfecting his golf game. Don’t let his laid back nature fool you as I have been told by his teammates he is obsessively competitive. We all tend to forget he is a kid playing a game he is still developing in. He is having a terrific fall league playing with some of the games best prospects.
2- LHP-Mike Montgomery- Mike has the stuff to be an ACE even though he did not throw like one this season. The one thing I see Monty do (I have seen Duffy do the same thing at the big league level) is not routinely get out the guys he needs to get out. He nibbles to much with the Robinson Cancel and Tommy Manzellaâ€™s of the world. He should identify who will be tough outs and just blow away those lesser hitters in the opponents line up. By, not doing this he runs his pitch count up and often gives up walks or hits by not just trusting how good he really is. A lefty that blasts 95 is dangerous and when he gets it on the black watch out baseball world! I know he has a fantastic work ethic and as stubborn as he is it leads to him being a perfectionist. I have heard names like Cole Hamels and Steve Carlton mentioned with his name and while no one is ever compared to Albie Lopez and Dave Eiland (well, I think you get the point)
3-CF-Bubba Starling- The potential 5 tool talents of Bubba will be interesting to watch in the future. My worry has always been â€śwhat if he struggles as a 21-22 year old?â€ť The option he has is so much different than others as he could decide he wants to give QB1 a try at Nebraska or some other school. Hey, there is no reward without a little risk, right?
We all know he is a kid and definitely acted like one in Arizona with his MIP arrest…he will be so closely watched by the Kansas City community that we will really watch him grow up before our eyes. I watched local kid David Freese become a overnight legend for his exploits in game 6 of the World Series for his hometown Cardinals ( Freese btw, has had his own issues with maturing under the public spotlight) and I can’t help but to think maybe Bubba has a chance to become our local boy becomes a legend.
He is still learning the game after years of playing inferior competition ( the risk of drafting a kid not from one of the baseball states) but he is such a tremendous athlete that he will figure out the nuances of this great game.
4-3B-Cheslor Cuthbert- What can I say an 18 year old from Nicaragua from a great family background has been the best story in Royals baseball this season. He will only turn 19 in November and he is absolutely owned the midwest league into July with a .342/.383/.520/903 clip while playing stellar defense. He slowed down as the year went on ( more just his body tiring than anything) I have comped him to Gary Sheffield and JJ Picollo has thrown out Adrian Beltre. The glove is so much better than I thought . He will be a blast to watch the next 3 seasons before he becomes a 2 way force in the middle of the line up.
5-RHP-Jake Odorizzi- Jake has a nice 4 pitch mix of fastball, slider, curve. change. Eventually he might have to push one of the 2 secondary pitches aside as many coaches would like to see that 3 pitch concentration. I hear he favors his slider which is basically a feel pitch so maybe we will see him concentrate on the curve the rest of the way this season. His achilles has been the long ball but he will tell you he knows the adjustments he needs to make going forward at each level. He might not be the next Zack Greinke but he has a chance to be a very good #2 SP in the big leagues.
6- RHP- Kelvin Herrera- He has not been able to stay healthy in his pro career and the Royals did the right thing moving him to the pen to protect his arm. Still, the Royals have not ruled out a return to the rotation because of his 3 potentially plus pitches. He has a blazing fastball that can touch 100 and he supports that with a knee buckling change of pace pitch (change-up) and a curveball, that at times, is borderline criminal. He could become a terrific closer but he might have more value as the 7th, 8th inning guy because he has shown that he can give you 2 knockout innings before handing the ball off to the closer.
7-LHP-John Lamb- I have no issues at all placing Lamb in the top 7 in this organization. He is not going to pitch again until the 2nd half of 2012 and it should give him a chance to compete for a big league job at 2013 ST. More than likely he will make his debut in 2013 as a 23 year old. This surgery might actually have been a good thing for John. The reason I say that is sometimes you have to fail to truly succeed and I know John will reflect on this time and become a better pitcher for it. He has been cleared to throw but as I understand he will not throw until spring training.
8- CF- Elier Hernandez- Elier is a special talent and gives the Royals 2 potential 5 tool CF of the future. He covers a lot of ground has a nice arm and has very projectable power. He was believed to be the 2nd best prospect in the international free agency period and would have been a 1st round pick in this years draft.
9- LHP- Chris Dwyer- I know that in 10 years we are going to look at the numbers of Dwyer and say â€śewwwwwwwâ€ť but for now we just have to believe that this kidâ€™s arm will win in the end. He is a P with arguably the best curveball in the system. I still believe he can be a Mike Hampton type P for the next decade. But, if his command does not improve than yes, we have a problem.
10- 2B- Christian Colon- I still believe that Colon can be a regular big leaguer similar to Placido Polanco. But, I think if he is going to be a 2B letâ€™s move him there now. I say that because I am a big fan of the mental part of the game. I think Colon has all you would want in a player off the field but at the same time I have to ask â€śis he trying to hard to prove that SS is his spot and it is affecting other aspects of his game.” I know people see him in uniform and don’t see a big league body. I get that, as it is easy to do but you don’t see the heart when you look at a player. He possesses the 6th tool and that was a important factor in why he was the 4th pick in the draft. The job is Giavotella’s for now but Colon will be nipping at his heels from Omaha in 2012.
11- RHP- Yordano Ventura- I talked to a coach from another major league franchise in the spring and he gushed about Ventura, Adam, and Yambati (he coached against all 3 in the instructs) but had concerns about the body of Ventura at this point. He uses his Pedro Martinez like frame to sit in the mid 90′s and he finished the season at Kane County with 88 K in 84 IP.
12- RHP- Jason Adam- The concern I have with Jason right now is what happened to the velocity? But, at the same time I know that he is just learning to P at the pro level and sometimes that means other things are sacrificed. We have to understand that for minor leaguers (especially big time prospects) the low minor leagues are a canvas and that canvas takes work to become a masterpiece. Jason is a smart young P that has the potential to be a 94-95 mph workhorse with solid to plus breaking pitches. His velocity began inching back to that mark towards the end of the 2011 season so we will have to pay attention in 2012 when he pitches at Wilmington as a 20 year old.
13- CF- Brett Eibner- Power from the right side of the plate is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered by scouts all over the world. For whatever reason it has just become that one spot that everyone covets. Eibner has a chance to be a special player. He is charismatic, has a terrific arm, plays a solid OF, and can hit a ball 500 feet. But, he will struggle with consistency at times before hopefully rewarding fans with a clutch jack. The one thing about Eibner that makes him more special than others is the Royals fall back option they have with him. He is a terrific P with 94 MPH heat and a valuable secondary power off speed pitch. If and when the Royals decide to move Eibner to the bump I believe has already been discussed. But, at the same time you have to develop that bat.
14-RHP-Bryan Brickhouse- A big bodied kid from one of the most baseball rich high school programs in the country (same school as Brett Eibner, Paul Goldschmidt, Kyle Drabek, and Jameson Taillon) delivers a heavy fastball that is already touching 95. He has that horse body of a power pitcher and should begin his full season career this year on a loaded Kane County team.
15- DH-Clint Robinson- Put record back on â€śClint has a chance to be a terrific DH in the big leagues reminiscent of another former Royals prospect that never got a chance in KC by the name of Ken Phelpsâ€ť Like Lough, I look forward to Robinson getting an opportunity with someone in the near future. He has had 2 years in a row now where he has been one of the most feared slugger in his league and I know that AAA is full of AAAA types. But, to be a AAAA type you have to have had a chance….Clint needs the chance to prove what he is or isn’t.
16- LHP-Will Smith- Smith is one of those guys that has the potential to be a back end of the rotation starter. He does not throw hard and relies on grit and craft to succeed. He is not a soft tosser by any means but his fastball lacks that the zip that makes you blush. But, others like him have had long big league careers so do not write him off.
17- LHP- Noel Arguellas- Noel threw a lot harder in Cuba. He throws 90 now but was lighting up 96 in Cuba. Has the shoulder issues from last year affected him that much? Or, has a change in practice affected him more? I know that eventually Noel will get back the velocity to some degree and I think we see that in 2012 when he comes to realize that he needs to go back to what works for him.
18- RF-Jorge Bonifacio (on left with Arteaga) The younger brother of a big leaguer looks like the real deal. He has always shown the ability to give you solid at bats. He has a mature approach at the plate, can run, and has some projectable pop.
19- OF- David Lough- Everyone knows what a big Lough fan I am. But, at his age it is time for someone to give this kid a shot. To me, I see a guy that can handle all 3 OF spots, can run, has a very good, quick swing that can drive the ball to all fields. I think he is a guy whose name I check in someone elseâ€™s box-score in the near future.
20- LHP- Kevin Chapman- The power lefty from the University of Florida has put himself on the map as a legitimate candidate to make the Royals out of ST in 2012. At some point, I would love to do a contest to nickname the nasty combo of Herrera and Chapman who I believe will be 2 terrific power arms to watch out of the Royals pen in the future.
21- RHP- Robinson Yambati- The same coach I talked to about Ventura said he loved Robinson because his body and he would become a truly special pitcher. So, the ranking should be higher but he stays here because of the uncertainty and ugly numbers he had in 2011. When he is right he is a power pitcher that has touched 100.
22- 3B- Michael Antonio- I will admit I questioned this pick out of New York City in 2010. But, I really do like to be wrong. Reports I get are of a terrific kid with a great belief in himself and willing to do what it takes to be successful. He has a very quick bat and seems to have the advanced ability to make adjustments during the game.
23- RHP- Tim Melville- Tim has terrific stuff but to this point, in his young career, has been unable to find consistent movement or outings. He is a candidate that makes you think he is a late bloomer but with his fastball/curve combo maybe he is a future relieverâ€¦I donâ€™t think so and I look forward to him continuing to figure out what will make him succesful.
24- SS- Orlando (#6)- A smooth defender at SS that played for the Kane County Cougars this season. We all know the story of the name changes and odd signing of the man with 3 names before he settled on this one. But, Calixte and Humberto Arteaga give the Royals 2 fine future middle men down the road. The 19 year old certainly struggled in the midwest league but he has drawn rave reviews on the defensive side of the game and I believe the bat will play as he matures.
25- SS-Humberto Arteaga- The 17 year old SS impressed me at Royals spring training this season. He did not watch any pitches but at the same time he made contact with everything against older competition. He picked it well at SS and showed a good arm. He struggled in the AZL but his name is on this list for a reason. Will he climb or fall?
26- LHP-Justin Marks- I really liked Marks at Louisville and when I saw his name in the Dejesus trade I thought they got a good one. But, then I looked at his numbers and they were not good. He also was not good to start out his Royals career but in the middle of 2011 he went back to throwing his bread and butter pitch in his slider and he has begun to look like the guy that pitched so well as a freshman at Louisville. Of course, AA hitters are much more advanced so he won’t be able to get buy on just a effective slider so 2012 will be a great test for this potentially fast rising prospect.
27- C-1B- Cam Gallagher- Everything I read about Gallagher reminds me of Mike Napoli. The video I have seen supports thatâ€¦.a big strong kid with that coveted RH pop that might or might not end up at C. Obviously, the Royals believe he can catch and he should give the Royals another shot at the weakest position depth chart wise in the system (although I have heard good things about the 2 Royals C’s in the Dominican and also I like Kevin David quite a bit) Clint Scoles pointed out in his coverage of instructs that Cam was working out at 1B.
28- OF- 1B-Brian Fletcher- The power is real but at the same time a player from the conference Fletcher came from in college should be mashing in low A ball. So, the real test will be the ladder for Fletch and if he climbs and produces he will be a legit future big league candidate. It appears he is making the move to 1B which is a good thing as he was given the butcher moniker in the OF
29- SS- Adalberto Mondesi- Like most teenagers he will probably stick around this number over the next couple of seasons. But, he could pull a Cuthbert or Profar and surprise all of us and shoot right up the list. He comes from a solid baseball blood line and has shown quick hands and a nice arm handling the most important position in the infield.
30- CF- Derrick Robinson- He can steal a lot of bases but to this point he just does not give me the feel that I got with another player that he is often comped to in Jarrod Dyson. He is not as good (even close) as a defender as Dyson and has not been a guy that the Royals seem to be in a hurry with. Unfortunately, they will have to be in 2012 as it could be his last in the organization.
31- RHP- Kyle Smith- Smith has Pinpoint control working with a low 90â€˛s fastball and his solid 12-6 breaking curve is his calling card. He reminds you of a young Tim Hudson
32- SS- Jack Lopez- the son of a long time baseball man the Royals signed Jack away from the University of Miami where he would have been the starting SS as a freshman. A very smart player with quick hands and feet he was a great sign close to the 24th hour this summer.
33- RF-3B- Patrick Leonard- Leonard has all the tools you look for in a HS hitter. He played under Craig Biggio. He has fine power and can handle the glove. He is a big kid for a SS so you have to think a move to 3B or a corner OF spot are in his future. I do know that he has adapted well to the OF.
34- RHP- Greg Billo- With the numbers Greg put up you can make an argument that Billo should be higher. But, I need to see him at Wilmington and continuing to develop. He is, arguably, the smartest P in the organization. But, has he found success tricking inferior hitters or is he really this good. 2012 will provide us with more evidence.
35- 2B- Daniel Mateo- switch hitting 2B that arrived on the prospect scene with an excellent 2011 at Idaho Falls. He hit .348 and drove in a run a game playing very good defense up the middle.
36- C- Manny Pina- A true defensive first catcher that profiles as a backup C. He might have that opportunity in 2012. He has really learned to call a good game and while his hands can get heavy at times he is a solid defender that can hit enough to spell your starter every so often.
37- INF- Jeff Bianchi- The Royals have another option as a true backup middle infielder in the near future. He could be a fine choice as he has worked hard to get past injuries that have really stalled his promising career.
38- INF- Rey Navarro- The Royals might show their hand on Rey this off season as he will need to be protected on the 40 man roster. He had an excellent start to his 2011 campaign but slowed quite a bit when he was promoted to AA. He projects as a utility player if he ever makes it to the big leagues.
39- OF- Yem Prades- Quite the discovery by the team of Rene Francisco last spring. Yem was a former star in the industrial leagues of Cuba that found his way to the Dominican. He had VISA issues and began playing the season in the Dominican before coming to the states for the first time in Wilmington, Delaware. He has all the tools to go with a terrific baseball frame so he is one to watch in 2012.
40- RHP- Tyler Sample- I still believe Sample can be a quality power arm out of the pen. He has sacrificed velocity for control this season and that is fine. He often relied to much on his fastball and I knew it was a matter of time before the better competition feasted on him. He does have a solid heater and he uses a power curve to compliment that pitch. His overall numbers (the ones I look at ) our down this season with a 86/58 k/bb ratio in 130 innings. I know the organization sees what I see and I think it is a matter of time before he becomes a full time reliever.
A name to write down but not on the list- OF- Terrance Gore- athletic 5’7 OF from Gulf Coast Community College who made the Arizona Fall League his toy after signing as a 20th round pick. He has plus speed and is a very gifted athlete. If he is not overmatched by better pitching he could be one to watch going forward.
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