Dynasty: Kansas City Royals’ 2020 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Winning the 2015 World Series may have returned the Royals to baseball glory, but Kansas City’s once-strong minor league system paid the price for success and was largely left depleted as a result. Over the last few years, however, the Royals have slowly rebuilt the farm, and that investment is starting to pay dividends.

The system is highlighted by a tremendous 2018 draft class that produced a treasure trove of young arms. The positional players, on the other hand, generally lag behind and lack upside, though some recent draft picks and international signings are starting to point in a positive direction.

Here’s a breakdown of the Top 50 prospects for the Kansas City Royals.

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball-focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as highly.

 

1. SS Bobby Witt Jr.

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie (AZL)

The Royals addressed a major weakness by selecting a high-upside bat with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Bobby Witt Jr., whose dad spent 16 seasons in the big leagues as a pitcher, was considered the top high school talent in the country for his five-tool skill set at the plate and on the field, where he projects to be a strong defender who can stick at shortstop long term.

There is some concern regarding whether his athleticism and raw talent will actually translate into a plus hitter at the big league level. His stats in 37 games in the Arizona League (AZL) weren’t eye-popping (.262/.317/.354, 1 HR), but he showed solid plate discipline for a 19-year-old with a 7.2% walk rate and 19.4% K rate.

While I see him having some growing pains in the minors, Witt Jr.’s potential is still in the range of a perennial 25/25 player at shortstop, and that makes him a valuable asset in dynasty for years to come.

ETA: 2023

 

2. OF Khalil Lee

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: AA

It remains to be seen if Khalil Lee will ever recapture the power he displayed at Single-A two years ago (17 HR vs. 8 HR in 2019), but the other facets of his game are rounding in to shape nicely, including a newfound savviness on the basepaths that led to a career-high 53 steals in 2019.

His 11.9% walk rate and .363 on-base percentage at Double-A also suggest he could slot in as a future top-of-the-order threat for the Royals, though it should be noted he’s just a .256 lifetime hitter in the minors (399 games).

While he may never hit .300, Lee is a versatile outfield defender who could be a sneaky 15-homer, 25-steal threat, which plays in fantasy. And given the current state of the Royals’ outfield, he should be in line for a call-up in 2020.

ETA: Mid 2020

 

3. LHP Daniel Lynch

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A+

There is a slew of pitchers from the 2018 draft all bunched together here. I like Daniel Lynch the most of that group.

At 6’6″, 190 pounds, the lanky southpaw has three plus pitches, including a fastball that ticked up after college to the mid-90s, not to mention a sharp slider and changeup. His numbers at High-A in 2019 were also very solid (2.99 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 23.6 K%), and his stuff suggests there’s another level to tap into.

If there’s a concern, it’s that he missed over a month in 2019 due to a shoulder injury, so he’ll need to show he can stay healthy as he works his way through the upper levels of the minors. To beef up his innings, the Royals also sent him to the Arizona Fall League, where he impressed enough to start the Fall Stars Game. He should see a lot of time at Double-A next year with his MLB debut in sight for 2021.

ETA: 2021

 

4. RHP Brady Singer

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: AA

Brady Singer was the Royals’ top pick in its pitching-focused 2018 draft class, and he’s in line to reach the majors first after making it to Double-A in his pro debut (2.85 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 22.5 K%).

Both his fastball and slider grade out well, and together with his control (6.4% walk rate), it all provides a solid foundation to get outs at the upper levels. His home run rate did rise quite a bit after he moved to Double-A (0.16 HR/9 vs. 0.79 HR/9), though that could just be the result of leaving the friendly confines of High-A Wilmington.

Singer is still developing a third pitch, a changeup, which might end up determining if he can live up to his billing as a future No. 2 starter. Either way, I expect he’ll earn call-up in the second half of 2020, if not earlier.

ETA: Mid- to late 2020

 

5. LHP Kris Bubic

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A+

Kris Bubic was the Royals’ top minor leaguer in 2019, and it wasn’t particularly close. The southpaw, who was drafted 40th overall out of Stanford in 2018, dominated across two levels, posting a 2.23 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 32.2 K% along the way. His 185 strikeouts led all pitchers in the minor leagues. Yes, all pitchers.

The strikeouts dipped a bit after he moved up to High-A in May (from 41.0% to 28.1%), and there is some question if his stuff, which due to a fairly average fastball (sits low 90s), will generate enough swings and misses against tougher competition. Still, his changeup has proved to be a standout pitch, and it’s hard to ignore his overwhelming success, even if it’s been at pitcher-friendly home parks in the lower levels.

This might be the last opportunity to buy low on Bubic, because if he even comes close to replicating his success at Double-A next year, he’ll catapult into Top 100 lists for sure.

ETA: 2021

 

6. RHP Jackson Kowar

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: AA

Jackson Kowar pitched in Singer’s shadow at the University of Florida, and here he is again ranked behind his former college teammate, as if their fates are intertwined somehow.

And like Singer, Kowar reached Double-A in 2019 with strong results across the board (3.52 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 23.2 K%, 6.9 BB%). He primarily uses a plus changeup backed by mid-90s heat to stifle hitters. His third pitch, a curveball, was tweaked a bit, and it’s no longer the afterthought it was when he left college, though scouts are uncertain if it can be better than average.

Kowar should be right on Singer’s heels for a big league promotion, and this might finally be the year he finds himself front and center in the spotlight.

ETA: Mid-to-late 2020

 

7. OF Erick Peña

 

Age: 16
Highest Level: N/A

The Royals’ top international signing in 2019, Erick Peña has drawn Carlos Beltran comparisons for his smooth left-handed swing and potential to grow into big power. I considered ranking him higher because based on the initial scouting reports, Peña has more upside than any positional player in the organization other than perhaps Witt Jr.

But he hasn’t played a single inning of pro ball yet, so this a bit of a happy medium with his ranking. I won’t be shocked if he’s near the top of the list next year.

ETA: 2024

 

8. OF Kyle Isbel

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A+

Kyle Isbel‘s final stat line for 2019 was underwhelming (.233/.296/.397, 7 HR, 11 SB), as he missed nearly three months due to a wrist injury and struggled mightily upon his return (.176 BA in July/August). It’s a shame because he was off to a hot start (.348 BA in April), and he was coming off a strong 2018 in which he put up a .326/.389/.504 slash line.

Thankfully, the Royals sent Isbel to the AFL, where he bounced back and made the Fall Stars lineup after mashing his way to a .949 OPS in the first 13 games. He remains one of the top hitting prospects in the system and could quietly be a future 20/20 player in the big leagues.

ETA: 2021

 

9. OF Brewer Hicklen

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: A+

Drafted in the seventh round in 2017, Brewer Hicklen has been a dark horse who keeps outperforming expectations. He offers a blend of power and speed, and has worked on improving his plate discipline, which paid off with a career-best 11.1% walk rate in 2019. He’s also one of the few players who actually hit at Wilmington last year, putting up a .263/.363/.427 slash line with 14 home runs and 39 steals in 125 games.

The Royals sent him to the AFL this offseason, and while he struggled there, it might finally be a sign they’re ready to accelerate his climb up the ladder.

ETA: 2021

 

10. C MJ Melendez

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: A+

There’s no sugar-coating it; 2019 was a rough year for MJ Melendez, whose prospect buzz stalled after he hit just .163 in 110 games at Wilmington.

To be fair, the catcher was just 20 years old, and Wilmington is known for being the place where offense dies. So, while the power dipped from 2018 (19 HRs to 9 HRs), it’s really not a great indicator of how that power will develop down the line. Also, his walk rate held steady at 10.5%, and he continued to show off a strong arm behind the plate.

I’m willing to write it off as one bad year and can still see Melendez as the Royals’ catcher of the future, but there is pressure to show real improvement at the plate next season.

ETA: 2022

 

11. RHP Jonathan Bowlan

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A+

Yet another arm from the 2018 draft class, Jonathan Bowlan excelled in his first full year of pro ball, posting a 3.14 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 26.2 K% and a superb 4% walk rate. He also stands out, quite literally, in part due to his large 6’6″, 260-pound frame, but also because of a mid-90s fastball that helps generate a fair number of whiffs.

His secondary offerings are not yet considered special, however, so his upside may be limited to a back-end rotation piece.

ETA: 2021

 

12. 1B Nick Pratto

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: A+

The Royals’ first-round pick in 2017, Nick Pratto hit a wall at High-A (.191/.278/.310, 9 HR in 124 games), and unlike last year, he couldn’t muster a big second half to salvage his season.

What’s shocking, even beyond his 34.7% strikeout rate and 73 wRC+, is that the first baseman hit below the Mendoza line in three separate months (April .160, May .144, August .197) and ended up with just a .588 OPS on the year.

If there’s a silver lining, Pratto is still 21 years old, and he did manage to raise his walk rate to 10.4%. But he needs to show significant improvement in 2020 to climb back into any sort of dynasty consideration for me.

ETA: 2022

 

13. SS Brady McConnell

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

Selected 44th overall in the June draft, Brady McConnell offers a bit of everything: power, speed, athleticism, etc. Early returns in the Pioneer League weren’t exactly encouraging (.213 BA, 39.1% K rate, .286 OBP), but the University of Florida product is just 40 games into his pro career.

Based on the upside McConnell showed in college (.961 OPS in ’19), there’s potential for an impact everyday player here. But I also think his projection has a lot of volatility, so I wouldn’t go crazy stashing him in dynasty leagues.

ETA: 2023

 

14. SS Wilmin Candelario

 

Age: 18
Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)

The Royals’ top international signing in 2018, Wilmin Candelario excelled in the Dominican Summer League despite just turning 18 in September. He showed good acumen at the plate, reaching base nearly 40% of the time, and he put up a .902 OPS to boot.

He’s certainly not a finished product; he was thrown out in 50% of stolen base attempts. But given his age there’s plenty of time to hone those skills as he grows into his wiry 5’11” frame. His defense is also reported to be quite good, if not elite.

There is definitely fantasy potential here, but the range of outcomes is still pretty wide as any MLB impact is a few years away.

ETA: 2024

 

15. OF Michael Gigliotti

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: A+

After missing almost all of 2018 due to an ACL tear, Michael Gigliotti bounced back with a strong showing for Class A Lexington (.309/.394/.411 and 29 steals) before earning a promotion to High-A in late June, where he struggled to a .184 batting average in 24 games. The center fielder offers real steals potential, but if he doesn’t hit well as a 24-year-old in High-A next year, he could be destined to a fourth-outfielder role.

ETA: 2021

 

16. LHP Austin Cox

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A+

Austin Cox is a big southpaw (6’4’’, 185 lbs) who might end up being the sleeper of the Royals’ 2018 draft class. He mixes in four pitches, but his sharp curve and fastball, which can touch the mid-90s, stand above the rest.

He faced little adversity across two levels of A-ball this year, recording a 2.76 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 130.2 innings. He was noticeably more hittable at High-A (.257 BAA vs. .205 BAA), however. He should be part of a talented rotation in Double-A next season.

ETA: 2021

 

17. OF Darryl Collins

 

Age: 18
Highest Level: Rookie (AZL)

Darryl Collins is one of the most intriguing prospects in the whole system. He was signed out of the Netherlands as a 16-year-old and comes from a family with long ties to the professional Dutch baseball scene.

It seems hitting is in his blood, as he made a quick impression in the AZL this year, putting up a .320/.401/.436 slash in 48 games. He walked at a 10.6% clip and struck out just 14.4% of the time. He didn’t hit any homers, but his 14 extra-base hits suggest there’s power lurking in his bat as well. He could be a fast-riser if the hit tool holds up against better pitching.

ETA: 2024

 

18. OF Seuly Matias

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: A+

It’s a toss-up between Seuly Matias and Pratto in terms of whose stock dropped the most in 2019. After blasting 31 home runs in 93 games at Class A last year, the Dominican native finished the year hitting .148 with just four home runs in 57 games for High-A Wilmington. And while the power disappeared, the strikeout rate rose to a whopping 44.3%, signaling there is a clear contact issue that the free-swinging outfielder will need to address if he wants to keep moving up the ladder.

The only reason he’s even ranked this highly is because, as stated before, Wilmington is a notoriously difficult place to hit, and a hand fracture cut his season short at just 57 games.

ETA: 2022

 

19. RHP Yefri Del Rosario

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: A

When the Braves had to relinquish Yefri Del Rosario due to international-signing violations, the Royals jumped in and watched the young power arm flourish (3.19 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) with Class A Lexington at just 19 years old.

But a forearm injury cost the Dominican native his entire 2019 season, so we’ll have to see if he can return to form and display the same raw stuff (a fastball that can touch 97 mph) that made him such an attractive signing target in the first place. For dynasty purposes, he’s more of a long-term speculative stash, but the potential payoff is high.

ETA: 2022

 

20. OF Nick Heath

 

Age: 25
Highest Level: AAA

A 2016 16th-round draft pick, Nick Heath has always shown plus speed, but he found another gear in 2019 with a career-high 60 steals in 73 attempts (82% success rate). The bat won’t provide much pop, but his 11.9% walk rate at the upper levels suggests he could get on base enough to be a legit stolen base threat in the majors. Even if he ends up a part-time player, which is likely, his speed alone will put him on deep-league fantasy radars. Heath could factor into the Royals’ outfield plans as soon as the first half of 2020.

ETA: 2020

 

21. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez

 

Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Kelvin Gutierrez would likely be off this list had he not gone down with a toe fracture in September, which cut his MLB debut short at just 20 games. His cup of coffee with the Royals wasn’t anything to write home about, though he’s a career .284 hitter in the minors who offers a bit of speed as well (33 SBs over last two seasons). He’ll likely see time in a bench role next year with potential for more, but his fantasy upside seems stuck in the 10- to 15-home run, 10-stolen base range overall.

ETA: 2020

 

22. LHP Evan Steele

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A

Evan Steele was taken 73rd overall in the 2017 draft, but he missed all of 2018 due to a shoulder injury and was limited to 49 innings in 2019 as well. When healthy, Steele looks like a potential Top 10 organizational arm thanks to a mid-90s fastball and slider combo that’s backed by a powerful yet deceptive left-handed delivery in which he generates a lot of whip using his 6’5″, 210-pound frame. He’s still young enough the Royals will likely keep him as starter for now, though he may be better suited as a high-leverage option out of the pen.

ETA: 2022

 

23. RHP Carlos Hernandez

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A

A native of Venezuela, Carlos Hernandez has a power arm (fastball touches 96-97 mph) and a ton of potential, but due to injuries and fatigue, he has yet to throw more than 80 innings in a season since signing in 2016. When healthy this year, over his last 28 innings at Class A Lexington, he allowed just four runs and struck out 36 batters. He could be a fast riser if he can stay on the mound for extended time in 2020.

ETA: 2022

 

24. 2B Gabriel Cancel

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: AA

Gabriel Cancel enjoyed a power surge in his first year with the Double-A club, increasing his home run total from eight to 18, but he still strikes out too much (28.1% in 2019). The Royals also seem uncertain if he’ll stick at second base long term, as the Puerto Rican infielder saw time at first base this year as well. I wouldn’t be shocked if he made a big jump on the list next year or if he fell way back, either, which kind of sums up why he slots in near the middle of the ranks.

ETA: 2020

 

25. RHP Alec Marsh

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

The 70th overall pick in the June draft, Alec Marsh has a repertoire that goes four pitches deep, though his fastball that hits 96 mph and slider are a notch above the rest. He showed excellent control in 13 starts in the Pioneer League, compiling a minuscule 3.0% walk rate, and he also struck out batters at a 28.8% clip. He should get a better test in Single-A next season.

ETA: 2022

 

26. 3B Emmanuel Rivera

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: AA

Even if nothing changes, Emmanuel Rivera has a shot to reach the big leagues as a solid defender and good contact hitter (14.4% K rate in 2019). But that’s kind of where the excitement stops. Despite making a lot of contact, he doesn’t take a lot of walks (4.7% BB rate) and he has just 27 career home runs in 455 minor league games.

ETA: 2021

 

27. RHP Jon Heasley

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A

Another arm, another 2018 draft pick. Jon Heasley went in the 13th round out of Oklahoma State, and while a bit old for the Single-A level, he had a strong year thanks to a low-90s fastball, curve, and changeup combo that produced a 25.7% K rate. It’s a wait-and-see game with Heasley, who needs a step up in competition to determine if he’s a future back-end rotation option or more an innings-eater type out of the bullpen.

ETA: 2022

 

28. RHP Zach Haake

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: A

Zach Haake is another tall (6’4″, 186 lbs), imposing hard-thrower from the 2018 draft class. His fastball has good life, reportedly reaching 97 mph regularly, but his walk rate in Single-A (11.4%) shows his control is still a work in progress. He could end up being a real weapon out of the bullpen if the Royals move him out of a starting role.

ETA: 2022

 

29. RHP Grant Gambrell

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

Grant Gambrell is a big righty (6’4″, 225 lbs) drafted out of Oregon State in 2019. His fastball isn’t overpowering, but reports say it moves with good sink, and he has a slider/changeup that grade out to at least average as well. He was hit hard in his pro debut to the tune of a 6.67 ERA in 27 innings, but there’s still upside here for a big league starter.

ETA: 2022

 

30. LHP Daniel Tillo

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: AA

Daniel Tillo relies heavily on a sinking fastball to generate ground balls at a greater than a 60% clip, but his fantasy potential remains limited because he doesn’t miss enough bats. His strikeout rate topped out at 15.2% in 2019, and on top of that he paired it with a 9.7% walk rate. It’s nice to suppress home runs in the current hitting environment, but without improving his control and secondary offerings, he looks destined to an innings-eater type role.

ETA: 2021

 

31. 2B/OF Erick Mejia

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: MLB

After 648 career games in the minors, Erick Mejia finally got to the Show in September, though he hit just .227 in nine games for the Royals. He projects to be a decent utility/bench option as a .274 career minor league hitter who can play multiple positions, and he should see increased playing time with the Royals in 2020. But despite being a fairly polished bat, his fantasy ceiling remains low overall.

ETA: 2020

 

32. OF John Rave

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: A

John Rave was a fifth-round pick out of Illinois State, and the Royals thought enough of his bat to send him to A-ball in his first pro season. Though the lefty struggled with a 29.6% K rate in his debut, he offers a blend of speed and power that if everything goes right, could manifest into a future 15-15 outfielder.

ETA: 2021

 

33. RHP Yohanse Morel

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: A

Yohanse Morel, a converted outfielder, was part of the return in the Kelvin Herrera trade with the Nationals. He had enough success in 2018 in the AZL using a plus changeup and low-90s fastball that the Royals sent him to Single-A this year as an 18-year-old, but he struggled to the tune of a 6.02 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 52.1 innings. Given he’s very young for the level and only been pitching for two years, there’s still a lot to like about his potential going forward.

ETA: 2024

 

34. RHP Josh Staumont

 

Age: 25
Highest Level: MLB

Josh Staumont made his MLB debut in late July but just missed losing rookie eligibility, so I’ve included him here for one last hurrah. His fastball can hit 100 mph, but as with many hard-throwing relievers, poor control seems to follow him everywhere (a career 17.2% walk rate in the minors). As expected, his results for the Royals were a mixed bag: 19.1 IP, 3.72 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 17.1 K%. If you squint you can still see closer upside, but it’s getting harder to see each year that goes by.

ETA: 2020

 

35. 2B/SS Kevin Merrell

 

Age: 23
Highest Level: AA

A former A’s prospect, Kevin Merrell came to Kansas City in the Homer Bailey trade, and he was mostly playing catch-up this year after missing time in 2018 due to an elbow injury. His speed (70 grade) is promising enough to get him on the list, but it hasn’t fully translated yet on the field (39 steals in 229 career games), and his bat doesn’t offer much upside beyond that.

ETA: 2021

 

36. RHP Luis De La Rosa

 

Age: 17
Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)

Luis De La Rosa, a converted shortstop, was deservedly named the Royals’ Pitcher of the Year in the DSL (league 1) in 2019. He flat-out dominated the league as a 17-year-old, posting a 2.33 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 34.7 K% and 4.7 BB% across 38.2 innings (11 starts). Given his athleticism and successful transition to the mound in just a year, there’s reason to be optimistic about his future.

ETA: 2024

 

37. RHP Tyler Zuber

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: AA

As relievers Josh Staumont and Richard Lovelady graduate to the majors, Tyler Zuber takes over the mantle as the top “future closer” in the Royals’ system. He utilizes a solid fastball in the mid-90s, as well as a good changeup and a developing slider to attack hitters, which all led to a successful first season at Double-A in 2019 (26 IP, 2.42 ERA, 30 K%).

ETA: 2020

 

38. 2B Michael Massey

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

As with a lot of Royals infield prospects, Michael Massey’s offensive numbers may never jump off the page, but he enjoyed a solid pro debut in 2019 in the Appalachian League, where he hit .272/.339/.399 with five home runs and four stolen bases in 42 games. He projects to be an above-average defender as well, which could help him move quickly up the ladder even if his bat never finds another level.

 

39. LHP Luis Cepeda

 

Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)

Another promising international signing, Luis Cepeda faced little resistance in the DSL this year, putting up a 2.37 ERA and 31.3% K rate in 49.1 innings. He utilizes a sinking fastball to generate a lot of ground balls, though his best asset is probably his control, as he walked just six batters all year (3.1 BB%). He’ll likely make his U.S. debut in 2020.

ETA: 2024

 

40. RHP Gerson Garabito

 

Age: 24
Highest Level: AA

Gerson Garabito is a low-ceiling arm who pitches to contact (18 K% in 2019), but he’s done enough to limit runs and hold his own at each level, including a modest 3.77 ERA at Double-A this year. I’m not excited about his fantasy potential, but I could see him getting a call-up as soon as next season if the Royals need an innings-eater type and want to see how stuff plays at the next level.

ETA: 2020

 

41. SS Jeison Guzman

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: A

The Royals named Jeison Guzman their Single-A Player of the Year after he put up a .253/.296/.373 line with a career-high seven home runs in 121 games at Lexington. So that kind of tells you the state of the Royals offense in A-ball this year. Still, while Guzman has been about average at every level so far, he does possess decent speed, and his 35 extra-base hits could point to more power down the line.

ETA: 2022

 

42. 1B Vinnie Pasquantino

 

Age: 22
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

An 11th-round pick out of Old Dominion, Vinnie Pasquantino is a big left-handed bat (6’4″, 245 lbs) who wasted no time in acclimating himself to pro ball, putting up a .294/.371/.592 slash line in the Appalachian League this year. As a college hitter he was old for the level, but it’s hard to ignore that he led the league with 14 home runs, 33 extra-base hits and 53 RBI in 57 games. It could just be noisy stats, but he could also be a fast riser if that success carries over to A-ball next season.

ETA: 2021

 

43. RHP Woo-Young Jin

 

Age: 18
Highest Level: Rookie (AZL)

Woo-Young Jin was signed out of South Korea in 2018 without a ton of info known about him, but he reportedly showcased a splitter in the AZL this year, as well as a low-90s fastball and curveball. In 46 innings, he posted a 2.35 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a 30% K rate. It should be noted he only made one start, though nearly all of his appearances were multiple innings, and it’s believed the Royals still eye him as a starter in the future.

ETA: 2024

 

44. RHP Adrian Alcantara

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

A 2017 signing out of the Dominican, Adrian Alcantara spent most of the year in the Appalachian League, where he put up an impressive 2.57 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 28.4 K% in 51 innings. Opposing batters struggled to square up the ball and hit just .155 against him overall. His success came as a bit of a surprise after he posted an ugly 6.04 ERA in the AZL the year prior, so it’s too early to really get excited, but he’s yet another intriguing arm to watch in 2020.

ETA: 2023

 

45. SS Omar Florentino

 

Age: 18
Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)

Omar Florentino was another top international signing in 2018, though his debut season in the DSL didn’t live up to expectations when he hit just .227 with a .679 OPS in 57 games. To be fair, he was just 17 years old and at 5’9″, 145 pounds, he’s not expected to hit for much power. Also, his 14.6% walk rate hints at a good batting eye that could still reap rewards as he gains experience.

ETA: 2024

 

46. RHP Noah Murdock

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

A seventh-round pick out of Virginia in 2019, Noah Murdock could easily end up a reliever given he had trouble with pitch counts in college, but he does possess four pitches, including a changeup he developed after recovering from TJ surgery in 2018. His pro debut in the Appalachian League was also encouraging—2.17 ERA, 27.4 K%—though only six of his 11 appearances were starts. How the Royals decide to employ him next year will go a long way to determining his future value.

ETA: 2022

 

47. 2B Rubendy Jaquez

 

Age: 20
Highest Level: A

After he hit over .300 in the AZL last year, the Royals sent Rubendy Jaquez to Single-A Lexington, where he took a small step back in 2019. He hit just .243, but he still walked at a good clip (9.4%) and showed good speed on the bases, stealing 30 bags in 35 attempts. He also moved all over the infield defensively, playing at second base, shortstop and third base, which makes me think worst-case scenario, he could still end up a useful utility player.

ETA: 2022

 

48. OF Jean Ramirez

 

Age: 18
Highest Level: Rookie (DSL)

Jean Ramirez was the Royals’ DSL 1 Player of the Year in 2019 after producing a .329/.395/.391 slash in 53 games. He also swiped 29 bases and showed some versatility in the outfield, splitting time between center and left field. Any MLB impact is far away but there’s reason for optimism.

ETA: 2024

 

49. SS Maikel Garcia

Age: 19
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

After two poor years with the bat in rookie ball, Maikel Garcia had a mini breakout in the Appalachian League this year. He hit .284 with a .349 OBP and 19 SBs in 55 games. He has virtually no power but has stolen 48 bases in 157 career games.

ETA: 2023

 

50. LHP Dante Biasi

 

Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie (Advanced)

A sixth-round pick out of Penn State, Dante Biasi has as a three-pitch mix, including a fastball that can hit mid-90s and reports have his slider at above-average as well. He was a bit of a late bloomer in college, and he made quick work of hitters in his pro debut in Rookie ball, amassing a 2.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 24 Ks in 18 innings.

ETA: 2022

 

Others receiving consideration: Blake Perkins (OF), DJ Burt (3B), Tad Ratliff (RHP), Holden Capps (RHP), Emilio Marquez (LHP), Drew Parrish (LHP), Michael Emodi (C), Clay Dungan (SS), Brandon Marklund (RHP), Foster Griffin (LHP).

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)

Nick Randall

Cardinals fan and writer living in Chicago. Enjoy 80s films but not so much 80s music. I also post about my adventures in fantasy baseball at Betteroffbaseball.com

sdf

Comments


Dave

Nice rundown, lots of good pitching prospects (especially intrigued to see how Bubic, Bowlan, Marsh and De La Rosa develop). I’m a little higher on many of the pitching prospects than you in comparison to the position prospects you have above them.

What position does #45 Omar Florentino play (it is not stated)?

Thanks

Nick Randall

Thanks, Dave. Bowlan is a nice sleeper pick – not a lot of people are talking about him. De La Rosa is super interesting too. Hopefully he comes to the AZL next year. Nice catch on Florentino. He’s a shortstop. That’s updated now.

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published.