5 Kansas City Royals Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training
5 Kansas City Royals Prospects To Watch During Spring Training
The Kansas City Royals have been relying on their farm system for quite some time, and for the longest time, it didn't work out. As a result, the Royals seemingly had a top five pick every year for over a decade.
Finally, however, the picks are starting to get a little better. Some of the Royals' previous top picks are starting to develop and they are making the Royals look like a possible sleeper team in the American League Central division. The Detroit Tigers are clearly the heavy favorite in the Central, but the Royals could certainly give them a good run if everything falls into place.
Look at some of the previous top prospects for the Royals -- Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Wil Myers -- they are all producing for their team. One of them, however, was inexplicably traded for a very good -- but not great -- pitcher last offseason. The Royals and general manager Dayton Moore felt they were one pitcher away from being playoff contenders, so they decided to trade one of the best prospects of the decade away for James Shields. As with most trades including the Tampa Bay Rays, the Rays got the better end of that deal; Myers hit for a .293/.354/.478 triple-slash line with a 131 wRC+ as a rookie in 2013.
The current crop of Royals prospects doesn't necessarily include a Hosmer or a Myers type talent, but they still have some legitimate impact players in their farm system. Their top prospects are mainly starting pitchers, with Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura leading the way. Both profile as potential No. 1 pitchers, but the safe bet would be No. 2 pitchers in a good rotation.
As far as position players go, 17-year-old shortstop Raul Mondesi is a walking toolbox; he has the skills to be an above average player both offensively and defensively. Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio has the talent to develop into an above average right fielder at the MLB level. Despite the Royals having several good prospects, they won't all attend big league camp with the Royals.
Here are five prospects that will go to Spring Training with the big league team.
5. Jorge Bonifacio
In 1,217 minor league career at-bats, Jorge Bonifacio has a .289/.355/.443 triple-slash line. At just 20 years old, Bonifacio has already reached Double-A. There is even a slight chance he could reach the Majors by the end of 2014.
4. Jason Adam
While Jason Adam's numbers aren't all that impressive in the minor leagues, with a career ERA of 4.30, he does have four pitches that are capable of being above average. Because of his strong potential arsenal of pitches, the upside with Adam is still there.
3. Cheslor Cuthbert
Cheslor Cuthbert is barely even on the prospect radar anymore due to his lack of a true breakout season. At 21 years old, he is going to need to show some flashes soon, or he will be basically forgotten among prospect experts. He appears to have solid gap power at this stage of his career, but he does have legitimate questions defensively.
2. Kyle Zimmer
According to Baseball America, Kyle Zimmer has the best curveball and the best slider in the Royals' farm system. In 148 innings in the minor leagues, Zimmer has a 3.71 ERA. While his ERA doesn't jump off the page, his 11.07 K/9 and 2.68 BB/9 certainly do. Zimmer has all the potential to develop into an ace.
1. Yordano Ventura
The owner of the best fastball in the Royals' system, Yordano Ventura earned a cup of coffee at the MLB level in 2013, pitching to a 3.52 ERA in 15.1 innings with 6.46 K/9 and 3.52 BB/9. At just 5-foot-11, Ventura won't be viewed as a No. 1 starter by most experts, but the stuff is there. He has potential to dominate despite his small stature.
At worst, Ventura will end up as a No. 3 starter; at best, he'll be a fringe No. 1 pitcher.