Talented prospects are always a hot topic in the weeks prior to the start of the baseball season. The Kansas City Royals have impressed many by improving their farm system and grooming a bevvy of young players into MLB talent. According to some recent analysis from MLB.com, another major-league contributor will soon come from the minors in the form of an athletic, power-hitting right-fielder.
We’ve talked a lot about KC’s outfield, both the reliable vets and the freshly acquired new talent, but a relatively rarely-mentioned prospect could make the whole situation even more confusing. Although anyone would agree that it’s a good problem to have, Ned Yost may be pulling his hair out wondering what to do with all the diverse talent in the outfield this year. With guys like Jarrod Dyson and Justin Maxwell sitting on the bench, what’s a skipper to do if the promising young Jorge Bonifacio plays well enough in the minors to earn a major-league promotion?
The MLB.com post about Bonifacio claims that he will hit 20-something home runs per year once he reaches his physical prime. 20+ homers would probably lead the team every year as of now, and that’s not all the scouts are saying about him. Once he learns to turn on inside fastballs with regularity, Bonifacio projects to be a starter in right field. MLB.com Top Prospects also stated that he will be a solid defensive player and develop the ability to hit for average.
This is very intriguing analysis, especially following the addition of journeyman outfielder Carlos Peguero and the re-signing of Justin Maxwell. It suddenly makes more sense why the possibilities in KC’s outfield are inexpensive and distinctly different, yet similarly talented. It wouldn’t be shocking to see most of the marginal talent left off the roster when Bonifacio makes his hopefully momentous rise.
In an era where power hitting is critical in the AL, developing the kind of hitter that Bonifacio projects to be is incredibly important.