U.S. Futures All-Star Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals at bat during the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 11 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals Top 20 Prospects for 2011
UPDATED January 9, 2011
The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Full reports on all of players can be found in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book. We are now taking pre-orders. Order early and order often!
QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS:
Grade A prospects are the elite. They have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Almost all Grade A prospects develop into major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don't intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don't make it at all.
A major point to remember is that grades for pitchers do NOT correspond directly to grades for hitters. Many Grade A pitching prospects fail to develop, often due to injuries. Some Grade C pitching prospects turn out much better than expected.
Also note that there is diversity within each category. I'm a tough grader; Grade C+ is actually good praise coming from me, and some C+ prospects turn out very well indeed.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. You have to read the full comment for my full opinion about a player, the letter grade only tells you so much. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
Kansas City Royals Top 20 Prospects
1) Mike Moustakas, 3B, Grade A: This guy is really damn good. I believe he can stick at third base, so he ranks ahead of Hosmer just barely.
2) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Grade A: This guy is really damn good.
3) Wil Myers, C, Grade A: If I trusted his defense a bit more, he would rank number one. As it is, even if he ends up in right field I have no hesitation giving him a Grade A rating. The bat should be outstanding.
4) Danny Duffy, LHP, Grade B+-: Originally a Grade A-, dropped one notch at book press time but still highest-rated in system.
5) Michael Montgomery, LHP, Grade B+: Worried a bit about future of his elbow, but I moved him ahead of Lamb because I do think his ultimate upside is a bit higher.
6) John Lamb, LHP, Grade B+: Slippage in Double-A keeps him from A- at this time, but an outstanding pros
7) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Grade B+: A personal favorite since he was in high school. I love his combination of command and stuff.
8) Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Grade B+: Grade is a bit risky due to command issues, but this is an upside call.
9) Chris Dwyer, LHP, Grade B: Almost went with a B+, but something holds me back a bit on him. Great stuff, but I'm not totally sold on his command yet.
10) Brett Eibner, OF, Grade B: I love the power bat; will have to see if contact is an issue and if he can stick in center.
11) Christian Colon, SS, Grade B: I doubt he'll be a star, but I expect he can have a long career as a regular.
12) Johnny Giavotella, 2B, Grade B-: Love the bat, defense still needs some work but has improved a bit.
13) Louis Coleman, RHP, Grade B-: I know he's a reliever, but he will be ready to help soon and I think there is a chance he could end up closing some games eventually. I think he is underrated and thus his grade is aggressive for a reliever.
14) Aaron Crow, RHP, Grade C+: Ranking him behind Coleman may look weird, but I am more confident that Coleman will be a good major league pitcher than I am in Crow right now, although Crow has a higher ceiling.
15) Tim Melville, RHP, Grade C+ Not a good year, but not as bad as it looked. Talent is still there.
16) Tim Collins, LHP, Grade C+: Can help in bullpen in 2011. Numbers are no fluke. Would rank ahead of Melville and even Crow if you are looking for immediate impact.
17) Patrick Keating, RHP, Grade C+: Overlooked arm with above average stuff. Royals have makings of a great pen with Coleman, Collins, and Keating all close to the majors.
18) Salvador Perez, C, Grade C+: I think he's a breakthrough candidate.
19) Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Grade C+: Hard to rank. Scouts like him, he's young, but the early numbers are weak. Would rank higher if you go by nothing but tools, wouldn't be on the top 20 at all if you go by numbers, so this is a compromise.
20) Clint Robinson, 1B, Grade C+: I've seen enough of him to believe he can mash for power, but finding a place to play is tough.
21) Jeff Bianchi, INF, Grade C+: Hard to rank due to health record. He could end up being very good as soon as 2011 under the right circumstances.
22) David Lough, OF, Grade C+: Could be a nice fourth outfielder.
23) Kevin Chapman, LHP, Grade C+: Another guy who can be a solid major league reliever pretty quickly.
24) Buddy Baumann, LHP, Grade C+: Overshadowed by the younger lefties, but should not be ignored.
26) Robinson Yambati, RHP, Grade C+: Rookie ball guy could break through in '11.
27) Yordano Ventura, RHP, Grade C+: Rookie ball guy could break through in ‘11
28) Jason Adam, RHP, Grade C+: Just scouting reports so far on this one, but a local kid with a live arm that I have a good intuitive feeling about.
OTHERS: Noel Arguelles, LHP; Mike Antonio, SS; Willian Avinazar, RHP; Jarrod Dyson, OF; Yowill Espinal, 2B; Nick Francis, OF; Blaine Hardy, LHP; Greg Holland, RHP; Lucas May, C; Paulo Orlando, OF; Edgar Osuna, LHP; Manny Pina, C; Derrick Robinson, OF; Leonel Santiago, RHP; Crawford Simmons, LHP; Tim Smith, OF; Everett Teaford, LHP
What can you say? This is one hell of a farm system. While the young pitching gets a large amount of attention, and deservedly so, the Royals also have three of the most elite young bats in baseball in the Moustakas/Hosmer/Myers troika. I'm also a huge fan of Brett Eibner. In addition to the possible future stars, they have considerable depth in C+ types, some projecting as role players, some as possible regulars if things pan out properly. The exact ranking of players 12 to 26 would vary depending on if you are looking short or long term.