Results tagged ‘ Kansas City Royals ’

Bonus Royals prospects: Nos. 21-25

It’s time to continue my march through the bonus prospects on each of my lists. Next up: the Kansas City Royals.

Not long ago, the Royals had the label of “best farm system” bestowed upon them, with a slew of pitching (mostly left-handed) prospects. Some have made it (Danny Duffy, finally), some have not (Chris Dwyer), some have been traded (Jake Odorizzi, Wil Myers as one of the hitting prospects) and some are slowly working their way back from injury (John Lamb, who is now back on the Royals’ Top 20). As I said in the most recent Pipeline Inbox, it’s a cautionary tale to not make a huge leap from a talent-laden system to guaranteeed big league success.

That being said, the Royals system today is pretty solid, with six players in the current Top 100. Recent drafts have certainly helped, and beyond the Top 100 guys, there is some interesting, and young, talent. So this 21-25 has some potential:

21. Cody Reed, LHP: Reed was on the Top 20 earlier in the year (No. 15 at the start of the year), but came off with the additions made via the Draft. He’s going to land back on the list when it’s time for Christian Colon to graduate due to service time. The tall left-hander taken from the junior college ranks in 2013 has had an up-and-down first full season performance-wise, but his fastball-slider combination is plenty good enough. If Reed’s changeup can continue to improve, he has a chance to start, though a future in the bullpen seems a bit more likely.

22. Lane Adams, OF: A former two-sport star who could’ve played Division I college basketball, Adams has made slow progress up the Royals’ ladder, but it looks like he could be a late bloomer. His speed is his best tool, and it gets a plus grade. He’s a base-stealing threat and his speed plays well in the outfield. He’s played all three spots, though he’s only been in center this season in Double-A.  He’s starting to show a little more pop as well. At worst, he profiles as a very good fourth outfielder. If the bat continues to come, then who knows?

23. Brandon Downes, OF: He didn’t have the kind of season many hoped for (a wrist injury didn’t help), as some thought Downes could move up Draft boards since there were so few good college bats in the 2014 Draft class, but he is big, strong and athletic. Coming from a program like Virginia, fresh off making it to the College World Series championship, doesn’t hurt either, and the Royals felt he was worth a seventh-round selection. He’s had a solid pro debut in the Pioneer League. He has a short, quick swing and can make hard contact to all fields. There should be more power in his bat as he matures. He’s a solid defensive center fielder with decent speed.

24. Zane Evans, C: A really strong pro debut in 2013 had many excited to see what this Georgia Tech product would do in his first full year. The fourth round pick went straight to the Class A Advanced Carolina League, where got off to a hot start with the bat, but has struggled since. He has some extra-base pop and has shown a solid approach at the plate. He has plenty of arm strength — he was Georgia Tech’s closer and hit the mid-90s off the mound — but is still working on his hands and footwork. If the defense can come, the Royals still feel with his power potential, he could develop into an offensive-minded regular behind the plate. If all else fails, they could always put him back on the mound as a power reliever.

25. Humberto Arteaga, SS/2B: Arteaga began the year ranked No. 19, but the combination of 2014 draftees and the young Venezuelan infielder’s struggles knocked him off the list. Signed to a seven-figure bonus in 2010, he’s had some difficulty establishing himself in full-season ball the last two seasons. He’s still just 20, so there’s plenty of time. Arteaga’s best tools are defensive ones. He has enough arm and range to be an above-average defender at shortstop, and he’s also seen time at second (though not as much this year). How much his bat develops will determine what his future role is. He’s an aggressive hitter who needs to add strength and refine his approach at the plate. He’s likely to always be the type who hits at the bottom of a big league lineup, but the glove might be enough to get him there, at least as a utilityman.


Who’s Next: The Shortstops

You know the drill by now. The Top 10 shortstops story is up and you can look at the list directly as well.

There’s some depth at the position, and not just in Arizona (they now have Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings AND Nick Ahmed!). Here’s who would make the 11-15 list:

Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins — He came over in the huge deal with the Blue Jays. The glove has never been a question. Now he’ll get to show if he can hit big league pitching.

Luis Sardinas, Rangers — Yup, that’s right, another shortstop prospect in the Rangers system. He’s taken a bit longer to develop, but has the chance to be a good one, too.

Jose Iglesias, Red Sox — He needs to stay on the field and he needs an opportunity to show he can hit big league pitching, especially with Xander Bogaerts charging up from behind him.

Trevor Story, Rockies — Very intriguing all-around skills. Even if he outgrows the position, should be enough bat for third.

Adalberto Mondesi, Royals — Raul’s kid is exceptionally young and exceptionally talented. Don’t be surprised to see him higher on this list in years to come.

Who’s Next: The LHP list

Tuesday, it was time to launch our rankings of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects in the game. And, as promised, I wanted to post the next group of lefties to keep an eye on, as we continue to move toward the “big reveal” of the Top 100 list on Jan. 29.

So, without further ado, here are lefties No. 11-15:

Sean Gilmartin, Braves — Advanced college lefty made it to Triple-A in his first full season of pro ball.

Casey Crosby, Tigers — He’s had two healthy seasons in a row. Now it’s time for him to produce. Could have future as a reliever.

John Lamb, Royals — Before Tommy John surgery, he was one of the better southpaws in the Minors. All signs point to him reclaiming that status in 2013.

Robbie Erlin, Padres — The undersized lefty the Padres got in the Mike Adams trade missed time with elbow tendinitis, but continues to get people out with command and competitiveness.

Daniel Norris, Blue Jays — He had a rough pro debut, but the 2011 second-rounder has plenty of time to fulfill his enormous potential.

Who’s Next: The RHP list

Prospect ranking season is upon us. It started on Monday with our 2013 Top 10 right-handed pitching prospects list. Each day, we’ll be revealing another Top 10 by position list, until we’re ready to unveil this year’s Top 100 on Jan. 29 (Top 50 show on MLB Network and streamed on at 9 p.m. ET). Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday: Left-handed pitchers
Wednesday: Catchers
Thursday: Third basemen
Friday: Shortstops
Saturday: Second basemen
Sunday: First basemen
Monday: Outfielders

You may have noticed a new twitter handle introduced – @mlbpipeline — that we’re using to announce these lists. You may also have noticed that there have been some technical difficulties with it. We’re hoping those will be resolved soon and that can be THE place to find out about prospect info from us on Twitter. So keep trying if you were trying to follow and couldn’t.

In the past, when the Team Top 20 lists have launched (Week of Feb. 4, for those curious), I’ve posted something I called OMG — One More Guy. That, basically, is who would potentially be No. 21 on the list. I thought I should do something similar for the position lists, especially when seeing reaction from some about who is/isn’t on the list.

With that in mind, here are the RHP who would be 11-15, if we were to go that deep:

Julio Teheran, Braves — Star has faded a bit, but still very young and ready for another shot.

Carlos Martinez, Cardinals — Sometimes known as “Little Pedro,” he has electric stuff in smaller pitching frame

Kyle Zimmer, Royals — 2012 first-rounder could move very quickly through the KC system

Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays — There are those who think he has the most upside among all those young Jays pitchers (current and former)

Kevin Gausman, Orioles — LSU star who went No. 4 overall in last June’s Draft, should join Dylan Bundy in Baltimore in the near future

I’ll be back soon with Who’s Next for the lefties….

AFL Report: Royals

Since last we spoke, we’ve missed two team reports:

Here’s the Royals report, focusing on Whit Merrifield.

The video report hones in on Orlando Calixte and Brian Fletcher.

And here’s the Padres report, which features top prospect Rymer Liriano.

Their video report talks about Liriano, Cory Spangenberg and Nate Freiman.


Quick Star of the Day from Friday, again an in-person account, though the choices from the Surprise-Phoenix game are somewhat limited.

But I’ll mention the opposing shortstops. The Braves’ Nick Ahmed had just one hit, but it was a home run. The UConn product, Rising Stars participant and the Braves’ No. 10 prospect,  is hitting .326 this fall after a solid first full season in the Carolina League. But the Star goes to the other shortstop, the one for Surprise. Luis Sardinas is No. 7 on the Rangers’ Top 20. Just 19, Sardinas had a fine full-season debut, hitting .291 with 32 steals in the South Atlantic League. In the AFL, he’s hitting .364 in 33 at-bats. He went 3-for-4 on Friday and continues to impress scouts. Doesn’t seem fair, for a system that already has Elvis Andrus in the big leagues and Jurickson Profar knocking on the door soon, does it?


The Natural state of things…

nwarklogo.jpgGreetings from Springdale, Arkansas. Just like with the old ATM blog,
I’m going to try to make this a travel-blog whenever I hit the road.

Today, I’m in Northwest Arkansas for the first-ever game at Arvest
Ballpark, home of the Naturals. This is the Royals’ Double-A affiliate,
with the old Wichita Wranglers moving this way (The Wranglers had finished last in Texas League attendance for the past three years, if you were curious).

The club here started up their own blog here on MLBlogs and you can check out all the photos of the park. They don’t do it justice. It’s a beaut, right up there with all of the other new Minor League parks that have been cropping up (I’ll be in Lehigh Valley over the weekend, by the way).  It’s kind of below ground level, sunken in, so when you first pull in, you can look down on the field for a really neat effect, especially coming in surrounded by cows and farmland. Kind of Field of Dreams-ish, in a way.

It helped get the adrenaline going, something important considering I was up at 4:50 a.m. to fly out of my home in Pittsburgh  to Cincinnati and then onto a connecting flight to Tulsa. Then there was the drive, handled capably by multimedia producer extraordinaire Joe Cronin, to Northwest Arkansas. All I need is a train ride and I can make a movie with John Candy.

The weather certainly cooperated. It has rained a lot in these parts, but the skies parted and the sun came out to provide a perfect setting for baseball. The usual pre-game festivities unfolded, though there was an extra something with the governor of Arkansas on hand, among other dignitaries.

Royals owner David Glass was here and boy was he a happy guy. Not just because this is a Royals affiliate. He lived her (Wal-Mart is based here) and has wanted baseball here for a long time. Now he has it and it’s an affiliate of the big-league club he owns. Couple that with the Royals’ wins against the Yankees and the guy was floating. We had the chance to talk to him a bit — look for the feature on next week sometime. The best part of it is something you won’t see. We asked if Mr. Glass wouldn’t mind sitting in the first row of the seats to give us a different look (and so he wouldn’t be looking directly into the sun). I assumed he’d walk around to the stairs and come around the railing. Instead, the grandfather of six basically vaulted over the railing and gracefully into the seating. Just what I needed, the owner of a Major League franchise to trip and break something for an interview. Luckily, no owners or former CEOs of Wal-Mart were harmed in the filming of this feature.

The game hasn’t started out so well for the Naturals (named for the fact that Arkansas is known as the Natural State because of things like the many natural waterfalls that can be found here, and NOT because of the Bernard Malmud book/Robert Redford-starring movie). San Antonio’s Will Inman had given up just one hit into the fifth inning and the locals were down, 4-0.

The only other negative, most would say, was the traffic pattern coming into this place. People were lined up waiting to come in well into the game. There were promises made that things would be addressed, but there can’t be a quick fix to that, can there? Evidently, there can — some of the issue stemmed from an inability to use an overflow lot for parking. It’s a grass area and all the rain recently made it unparkable. Even without it, though, the atmosphere here made it well worth the wait.

Travel bookshelf: I’m not really an iPod guy, so I can’t share with you what music I brought with you. I do like to bring a book with me, something mostly to help me pass the time on planes. I like to mix it up with baseball and non-baseball titles. On this trip, I’ve got one of each and I’d recommend both. The baseball book is called Crazy ’08, written by Cait Murphy. It’s a fantastic volume on the 1908 baseball season and one of the best-researched books I’ve ever read. If you’re a fan of baseball history like I am, this is a must-read.

The non-baseball book is Three Cups of Tea and it’s the kind of story that you wouldn’t believe if it weren’t true. It’s about this guy who was a mountain climber who tried, and failed, to scale K2, wandering lost into a nearby village in Pakistan. Taken by the horrible conditions, particularly when it comes to the education of children, he takes it upon himself to build the village a school. He’s now built 53 of them throughout Pakistan. This is truly one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever read and if it doesn’t move you to doing something to help someone somewhere, then you’ve got a heart of stone.

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