Ahh Christmas in March as my Baseball America Prospect Handbook arrived. I quickly turn to the Royals section and am reminded of the disappointment that was the 2009 season by positional prospects. More on that later. That disappointment got me thinking how big this season is going to be for some of those Royal prospects. For a few, failure this season will mean the end of a career. Here is a list of important comebacks for 2010.
#1 Blake Wood- Wood has been on the prospect scene for quite sometime and why not 6'4 225 righthander with a 94 mph fastball that touches 97 a solid curveball that can be a strikeout pitch and average change. When it's all working Wood can be unhittable and on rare occasions it has all worked but those times are coming fewer and fewer. Time for change it sounds as though KC is giving up on him as a starter and moving him to the bullpen where he can use his strong fastball and spot his curve and change. It's a move that if it doesn't work Wood might be out of the system this time next season. If successful Wood should move quickly into the bullpen possibly reaching KC this year and ready to take Farnsworth or Cruz' place in 2011.
Prospect Mountain #4-'08, #10-'09, #24-2010
#2 Kila Ka'aihue- Kila never a tremendous prospect exploded on the scene in 2008 with 100+ walks and 37 HRs. The most patient hitter in a system devoid of that skill is on the verge of his most important season. While Kila's career might not be over after this season (some smart GM might pick him up) another season similar to '09 or worse will more than likely end his Royals career. What does Kila need to do to get a chance? Well it might be difficult but he needs to get close to the 2008 numbers to open GMDMs eyes. I might be wrong but I think he needs to get into that .925 OPS vicinity to prove our uninformed FO that he deserves a spot in the big league lineup.
Prospect Mountain UR-'08, #9-'09, #15-2010
#3 Derrick Robinson- Robinson has been "The Project" for quite sometime and 2010 is his make or break year. According to BA the Royals were about to scrap his switch hitting prospects when he made an adjustment to his stance leading to his first breakout month of his career in August. While his RH hitting talent is limited if Robinson can't hit lefthanded then his speed value down the first base line decreases quite a bit. Robinsons speed has never been a question and according to Total Zone he uses it quite well in the field but if he can't reach base it all goes for not. For some reason Robinson is in Major League camp lets hope DeJesus rubs off on him but I doubt it. For the Robinson lovers who say hey August was a sign, I point to his next 44 abs in September in which he put up a .337 OPS, UGH.
Prospect Mountain #11-'08, #16-'09, #22-2010
Overall this season is going to be a big season for a number of Royals prospects. Lots of guys are coming back from injuries Henry Barrera, Julio Pimentel, Kelvin Herrera, Ed Cegarra and Matt Mitchell. Those guys need to prove their arms are 100% or they will fall behind a very deep Royals pitching system. Moustakas and Hosmer need to get better to prove they were worth their draft slot and the players the Royals passed for them. Even if they aren't great this year they are still young and this season won't make or break whether they can be major leaguers. While another down season by the prospect pair would ultimately be bad for GMDM and the ranking of the Royals system, Moore has already pitched an excuse for those moves by firing Ladnier essentially blaming him. You got to give GMDM credit he has never said Hoch was his pick when he could've put more influence in and now he has created a scapegoat for Moose and Hos. Myers, Crow and this years draftees I guess are going to be legacy, well until he can create another excuse.