Thursday, February 25, 2010

1st Annual Royals Top Prospect Starting Lineup

You've seen top prospect rankings everywhere that are entirely more accurate and informative than mine. So I thought to myself how can I change mine up, how can I seperate myself from the pack. And then boom and epiphany I will rank them by position only. 1 and 1a at each position, yes that brilliant thinking will set me aside from almost no one.

Starting Pitcher ACE

1)Lefty Mike Montgomery- Duh he is the #1 consensus Royals prospect. Lets see Fastball-Check already consistently 90's touches 94-95 should be able to hit those speeds consistently as he fills out. Breaking stuff- Still a work in progress two types of curveballs as usual the youngster is inconsistent with both. Changeup- I would think it won't take long for him to find a consistent grip since he likes to use the palm grip on one of his curveball deliveries. Montgomery has the drive and talent to become a #1 and hopefully will develop in time to stand next to or in place of Greinke in that spot.

1a) Righty Tim Melville- Most like Aaron Crow in this slot and that is probably the right pick but I really like Melville. Melville projected as a 1st rounder in 2008 but struggled his senior year and combined with his draft demands fell to the Royals in the 4th round where he signed for 1.25M. He didn't pitch any pro ball in '08 so for him to jump into the midwest league hold his own and not have to be demoted showed me something. Yes the midwest league is a pitchers league but for the 19 yo to hold up against much older competition and actually get better as the season(10.65 k/9 last 10 starts) went on is a very good sign for his career. Melville's repetoire is the same as the FO office prefers solid fastball touches 95 that is a good strikeout pitch but also is heavy and produced quite a few groundballs. He also is working on his curve and change up. Tim starts the season in Wilmington and will hopefully enjoy similar success as Montgomery and Duffy. Melville doesn't have the polish of Montgomery but I believe after seeing him he could match his upside. BA says 2/3 is his upside but with his body and size I think he could peak into that 1/2 range.

Honorable Mention- Kelvin Herrera, I love everything I've ever read about this kid and will definitely be checking out one of his starts if he repeats Burlington. He is yet to have a problem at any level even holding his own against much older competition at Burlington(IA) in '08 and his one '09 start. In 111 total innings Herrera has given up exactly 1 HR. While his size is not impressive 5'10 162 lbs his pitchability and combination of pitches is. Herrera could skip Burlington(IA) if he proves to be healthy in ST and bounce to Wilmington but I doubt it. I wouldn't be shocked if Kelvin started in Burlington and ended the season in Arkansas. The kid is just polished when healthy he can touch mid 90s and already has solid command on his change. I will be checking him out early in Burlington(IA) as I expect him not to last there long.

Outlook- There is nothing wrong in this system when you talk young starting pitchers. I would say Tampa Bay is the only other team that can match KCs depth from Top Major League level to the Rookie levels in terms of starting pitching talent and they don't have a CY Young winner.
Potential Major Leaguers (Potential IMO): Montgomery (1), Melville (1/2), Crow (2), Herrera (2/3), Lough (3), Lamb (3)

Bullpen
1) Louis Coleman- Drafted out of LSU after putting away the touches on a national title run Coleman was signed for 100k and immediately had success in his bp role. Coleman can get to the mid 90s out of the pen and has a nice slider. His 3/4 arm slot might lead one to think he would struggle against lefties
1a) Brandon Sisk- There are quite a few options in the bullpen for the Royals in the lower minors even at the upper levels they are building some arms but few have had the ups and downs of Sisk. The ups are that Sisk has had quite a bit of success in the minors at every level even a nice performance in the AFL this fall overall Sisk has pitched 151.2 Innings since the start of '08 and has 189 k's versus only 56 Bbs. That's a 11.21 K/9 with only a 3.22 bb rate and a 0.99 WHIP you would be hard pressed to find better stats out of any Royal pitching prospect. Is Sisk a prospect? Probably not he rates as a lefty specialist pitching 89-90 while touching 92-93 with a average change up but you have to like the success he had last season in Wilmington and the Arizona Fall league. Look for him to start in Arkansas or maybe even Omaha.

Honorable Mention- Josh Worrell, playing against younger competition the big Worrell (6'5 215lbs) had some nice numbers 16.46 k/9, 1.73 FIP in 13.2 IP. Lets see how he does against more advanced competition this season. He definitely has good bloodlines as the son of Todd Worrell.

Catcher
1)Wil Myers- Myers fell to the Royals in the 3rd round due to signability concerns, some speculated KC would take him in the 1st rd but they lucked out having him their in the 3rd. He is still relatively inexperienced at the position allowing 6 passed balls in only 11 games. His bat is explosive (14 extra base hits in 22 games)and might cause the Royals to move him out of this position. Expect him to start the season in the extremely tough hitting environment of Burlington (IA) where Moose and Hosmer struggled early. New position, cold weather and older competition could lead to some struggles watch his numbers after the allstar break to see if he is pickin up the position and the pitchers. If(Big) he excels early lookout KC could be onto something.
1a) No One
Honorable Mention- Salvador Perez, Perez the youngest of the Burlington trio last season struggled early in A ball but had a nice bounce back after being demoted to Idaho Falls to find Abs. Perez has nice size at 6'3 and should fill out and add some pop to his swing as he ages. He is only going to be 20 years old but could be the victim of Myers development at Burlington(A) this season making it tough for him to find time at the position but at least he should get Abs at DH. Fernando Cruz was converted from 3b to Catcher this last season and performed decently at Burlington (NC). His batted showed a little progress this season but he still has a long way to go. He'll probably play at Idaho Falls this season.
First Base

1) Eric Hosmer- A tough first year for "The Hos" but I'm still a believer. He was injured quite a bit (hand and wrist) and had problems with his eyesight(Lasik). Hopefully his eyesight is what created his bad GB rates(62.5%). I'm still a believer and think that GMDM created a little bit of the problem with the tough assignments. Midwest League A ball is difficult for any young hitter and then to give him an unjustified promotion didn't help things. All in all it was a difficult season for the Hos hopefully he bounces back with the improved wrist and eyesight.
1a) Kila Kaaihue- I really wanted to put "The Alabama Hammer" in this slot but just couldn't do it. Kila deserves to be on the 25 man roster and only GMDMs shortsighted view of him is keeping him off. Just look at Kilas Total Zone rating defensively while Total Zone isn't a great predictor of defense it should be noted that his defensive game is better than Billys and he could possibly put up neutral defensive stats. Chone has him as slightly below average defensively but positive offensively. Kila's rated as worth 2.6 million according to Chone as opposed to JoGuis 300k value under Chone but anyway.
Second Base
1) Johnny Giavotella- Gio like many position players in the KC org had a difficult season last year. Unlike many others though his was due to bad luck as opposed to his own impatience or injury. Giavotella like Kila is one of the few patient hitters in the organization and showed good patience at High A Wilmington. Gio had a nice 11.8% BB rate although that dropped from 14+% as he drew less walks the last couple months. His ISO was the same as it was in A ball .122 but with his drop in BABIP from .325 to .279 his production fell. Hopefully a promotion to AA and a better hitting environment will bring back the previous production.
1a) Fernando Garcia- Garcia, 20 probably profiles as a defensive second baseman at best had a pretty decent season at Burlington(IA) for a young guy. Garcia doesn't have much pop in the bat (.345 SLG) but has a good eye and should develop with the glove with his athleticism. He drew more walks than Ks (61 v 56) and swiped some bags when he got on (29). He is a fringe guy at best but that plate discipline combined with his athleticism gives him some tools to work with. I don't know if he could handle SS but it would be nice if KC gave him the opportunity.
Honorable Mention- This kind of shows the weakness of the Royals system when I can't place a few positions with legit 2nd spots. Irving Falu shows outstanding range and defensive skill but his lack of power makes him nothing more than infield injury depth.

Shortstop
1) Jeff Bianchi- Bianchi had an extremely solid season at Wilmington and NW Arkansas w/.798 OPS. Bianchi propsect status had fallen due to prospect fatigue and lack of overall success but his nice bounceback season has people peeking once again. Bianchi like so many Royals lacks patience at the plate and will need to change that to improve. Many prospect experts didn't believe Bianchi could handle SS but the Royals showed confidence in his ability to play SS and may be rewarded with a potential solid defender at that premium position.
1a) Yowill Espinal- '07 Dominican signee has some pop in the bat but little patience to go with it. He could get his first taste of full season ball this year and could get exposed by more advanced pitching if he can't control his tendancy to swing away. According to minor league splits he only had a 6.2% line drive rate which is abnormally low. He is still young and has good frame and tools to build on. BA had some great quotes on his defense in '08 Brewers skipper Tony Diggs compared him to Alcides Escobar, who didn't hit much in the lower minors but has improved since reaching Double-A and has become one of the game's top shortstop prospects.
Third base
1) Mike Moustakas- Moose showed very little patience and a desire to pull everything last season. Those weaknesses lead to a very difficult season for him. He once again proved he can pack tons of power into his swing(52 XB hits ) but none of that will matter if he can't be more patient at the plate. His defense also seems to be improving at least according to Total Zone. Moose has a couple solid tools good pop in his bat and a cannon arm but if he can't increase his patience at the plate he will struggle. Especially at the AA ball level where he will get exposed.
Honorable Mention- Cheslor Cuthbert was signed out of Nicaragua for 1.35M. Scouts believe he is an advanced hitter although Nicaragua doesn't have the top level competition.
Right Field
1) Jordan Parraz-I've talked about Parraz in my other blog but with a good start in AAA this year he could add the depth the Royals need to trade off Ankiel or DDJ if teams come a biting at midseason. BA surprisingly said he can be a CF fill in, I knew he was athletic but didn't think he had that type of athleticism. He already has the best OF arm in the system so if he can show that kind of athleticism in Left or Right Field then KC could have a above average corner outfielder in the mold of DDJ. Above average defense with a decent offensive game.
1a).
Center Field
1) David Lough- Talk about a coming out party David had the best season of any Royal positional player last year. Lough had a solid .850 OPS in Wilmington when the FO decided to promote him and wow did he respond at AA. Finally away from the cooled off hitting environments Lough exploded on the scene putting up a .934 OPS in 265 ABs including 28 extra base hits. Lough hasn't played CF much unfortunately playing next to speedsters Adrian Oritz, Derrick Robinson and Jarrod Dyson have limited his exposure to the potential but many believe he can play average defense in CF. Lough is pushing Moustakas and others for being the highest rated positional player in the system.
1a) No one
Honorable Mention- You can name any number of Royal speedsters here. Jarrod Dyson, Adrian Ortiz, Hilton Richardson and Derrick Robinson all possess ++ speed but all have little pop with the bat and even less on base skill. The Royals FO love speed as they have drafted some 2 sport speedster pretty much every year since GMDM was hired hoping to land the next Kenny Lofton, thus far they have had little success but it's still early with some of these guys. Richardson is the most intriguing of the group as he looks like he could fill out and add some pop to his skillset but from what I've heard his swing is less than ideal to do that. All of these guys with the exception of Richardson are in make or break years of their career if they continue their struggles this season they might be done.
Left Field
1)Tim Smith- Smith doesn't possess any particular great tools but he does have decent plate discipline which is a rare trait in the Royals system. Expect the 24 year old to repeat AA where he had a .819 OPS in 36 games last season.
1A) No one

As you can see and as everyone already knew prior the Royals system is heavily pitcher weighted. This excercise proves extremely difficult with so little talent in the system positionally.

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