1. Eric Hosmer, 1B, B+ A very strong guy, especially for a 19 year old fresh out of high school. His discipline is already spectacular, the only question is when will he fully adjust to the pros. He has very good bat speed when his swing is on, and obvious power that just doesn't get enough credit from his numbers with a .255/.354/.385 line. While his bat has gone off to a cold start, there's no crossing him out yet. Hosmer is still very much a Top 50 prospect
2. Michael Montgomery, LHP, B+ Say what you want about it but Montgomery is by far my favorite pitching prospect in the system. He's elevated his fastball velocity to a consistently low- to mid-90s pitch, and has a brilliant, sharp curve. In addition to those pitches, he mixes in changeups and palmballs. Montgomery has a very nice repertoire. He's been dominating the Midwest League in his 52 innings of work, striking out 45, walking 23, allowing 39 hits and just 1 home run. He's earned a 2.25 ERA as well. Montgomery makes hitters put the ball on the ground, and will rise very quickly through the system.
3. Aaron Crow, RHP, B+ Although Crow hasn't technically signed yet, I'm sure he will. And when he does, he'll immediately be amongst baseball's elite. Crow is a polished righty who dials it up on the gun, is a groundball-strike out pitcher and has very nice command. His 93-95 MPH fastball has a good amount of sink and is well-aided by a mid-80s slider with a good sharp break. As soon as his changeup develops he'll probably be Royal Rotation Ready. The only reason I don't put him as an A or A- are his dubious mechanics, whihc show and inverted W and a big scap load. Hopefully it won't make a difference.
4. Mike Moustakas, 3B, B I just can't bring myself to give Moustakas anything higher than a B. Although he has obvious strength and bat speed, there's quite a bit of work to be done. He's struggling to do much of anything with the ball and on top of that just seems to hack at everything. Moustakas is still very raw, and I believe he needs another 2 years of development before contributing to the team. In the hitter-friendly Carolina League, Moustakas is hitting fora .254/.295/.413 line. Maybe he's just a second half hitter.
5. Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, B I do not get why Kila Ka'aihue is not currently the starting first baseman for the Royals. He makes good contact, he has tremendous discipline and plenty of power. The Royals are truly wasting one of their top talents. To be fair, Ka'aihue is having one of his worst years.But of course, in this "worst year", he has a .255/.389/.466 line. They should not be keeping him in the minors at the ripe age of 25. It's ridiculous. Last year, Ka'aihue pretty much earned himself a starting job by hiting 37 HR with a .314/.456/.628 line between AA and AAA. Ridiculous.
6. Danny Duffy, LHP, B A young, talented player who puts up the numbers. His fastball is a 89-92 MPH pitch with some movement on it. He mixes it in with two MLB caliber off speed pitches in his curveball and change. He has brilliant command, especially for a 20-year-old and gets plenty of Ks. His HR numbers should get a little higher as he reaches the bigs but I think he still has potential as a number 3 pitcher. This year in the tough Carolina League, Duffy has got in 90 innings, with 87 Ks and 29 BBs. He's allowed just 5 homers and 83 hits, summing up to a 3.40 ERA. Last year he put on quite a show, striking out 102 in 81.2 IP with Burlington, earning a 2.20 ERA.
7. Tim Melville, RHP, B- Age 19 in Single-A, Melville is holding is own. In 54.1 innings he's the owner of a 4.47 ERA, with 45 Ks and 24 walks. The only glaring flaws in his game are the walks, which really aren't terrible, and his durability. It is rare that Melville goes for a 5 inning start at this point. This may be because of doubts with his delivery but I see little problem with it. Melville has as low-90s fastball that touches 96 and is already a very good pitch. Melville also has as very nice curve to compliment it. He's still developing a changeup. Most of his command troubles come out of his curve and change, but like I said it's not too serious.
8. Dan Gutierrez, RHP, B- I'm giving Gutierrez the benefit of the doubt even though he's had to miss the 2009 season for a million and one reasons. His performance in A ball was spectacular, going 90 innings, striking out 104, and walking 25. The 21 year old's ERA was 2.70. He has a 89-93 fastball that usually sits at 90, and he has brilliant command of it. Gutierrez's main out-pitch however is a BRILLIANT curve, and the combo of those two pitches make me think that he could already be an MLB closer, or at least setup man.
9. David Lough, OF, B- Lough is a pretty toolsy outfielder. He had his true breakout year this year in the Carolina League by hitting .320/.370/.473, and is continuing to hit in the Texas League at a .340/.365/.540 clip in 50 ABs. Lough is certainly not old at 23 years old, and probably could be the best hitter on the Royals if he got promoted right now. Lough is a small lefty standing 6'0 180 pounds, hits for good average and has some wheels. I think he could be a good .300/.350/.470 hitter in the bigs, and would be a pleasure to watch.
10. Jordan Parraz, OF, B- Parraz is a very understated outfielder with good wheels, great discipline and contact ability, and some closet power. The power is being a little improved by the Texas League, but he is no slouch. Always underestimated by the Houston Astros, Parraz was moved slowly through the system. I'm willing to guarantee that Parraz will be on the KC 40-man by September if he isn't already. This year seems to Parraz's breakout year, as he's hitting .358/.451/.553. He is age 24 in the Texas League, but he's still a prospect worth mentioning.
11.Chris Hayes, RHP, B- A fan favorite to be sure, the 26 year old "Disco" Hayes is very fun to watch. Hayes' claim to fame is his submarine motion and the ability to put the ball in the zone. He has no velocity to speak of but it's a big deal when a hitter does anything significant off of him. Between AA and AAA, Disco has pitched 61 innings, striking out just 28 but walking only 8. He's allowed 2 homers, and his ERA on the season is 1.92. Granted, his ERA in AA is 0.98 and in AAA it's 3.33, but he's interesting all the same.
12. Carlos Rosa, RHP, C+ Rosa is a very live arm destined to be the closer for some team. However Rosa is once again battling with command problems. Rosa seemed to tackle that problem when walking 19 in 95.2 innings as a starter, but Rosa, now 24, is a reliever in AAA, and has walked 24 in 46 innings, one of the main contributing factors to his 5.09 ERA. Rosa has an electric high-90s fastball and a stunning high-80s slider, as well as a finicky changeup.
13. Jason Taylor, 1B/OF, C+ Extremely toolsy. In 2008, Taylor hit .242 but with 17 HR and 40 SB. He also had a .372 OBP. This year he's battling injury, but in 81 AB between Idaho Falls and Burlington he's hit .309/.364/.531. He's 21 years old. There's not much more to say.
14. Keaton Hayenga, RHP, C+ I believe Hayenga to be the most talented arm in the system. In high school Hayenga had a huge labrum tear sliding into third and spent 2 years recovering, and has made 4 appearances this year. In the Instructional Leagues he showed off a Mid-90s fastball as well as a good curve and change. Watch out for this kid.
15. Jeff Bianchi, SS, C+ After being drafted out of high school, Bianchi played in the Arizona League in 2005 and 2006 and dominated. However, Bianchi struggled in A ball between 2007 and 2008. Bianchi is starting to truly make a name of himself at the still young age of 22, between the Carolina League and the Texas League. His line is .300/.360/.439 with 15 stolen bags. His numbers are still very reliant on batting average but I believe that at the least his power will develop more.
16. Nick Francis, OF, C He's 23 years old in The Midwest League and struggling. Francis is toolsy and may have a shot at being a regular but maybe when he's 25 or 26. His line in A ball this year is .263/.315/.446 and he has 11 stolen bags.
17. Johnny Giavotella, 2B, C After a solid year in A ball Giavotella impressed plenty of scouts and Royals fans, but his showing in the Carolina League has been disappointing at most. At 21, he's hitting for a .245/.366/.350 line and is 14-for-21 in stolen base attempts. He's a contact hitter with discipline and some wheels. He still has plenty of chance to be the next Royals 2B, but there are more promising candidates.
18. Yowill Espinal, SS, C I don't know much about Espinal but at age 18 in the Appy league he is showing plenty of promise as a leadoff hitter and a bit more pop than one would expect.
19. Kelvin Herrera, RHP, C Wonderfully talented but where the hell is he?
20. Adrian Ortiz, OF, C Atrocious performance in the Carolina League has had him sent down back to Burlington. Toolsy but needs to shape up.
HMs: Derrick Robinson OF, Tyler Sample RHP, Joe Dickerson OF, Chris Nicoll RHP, John Lamb LHP, Edward Cegarra RHP, Julio Pimentel RHP, Sam Runion RHP, Blake Wood RHP, Salvador Perez C, Kentrail Davis OF