I do this every year and I've been wrong a lot but it's fun to do this anyways. Let me know what you think.
1. Kyle Zimmer, RHP -- Has as good of pure stuff as anyone in the minors with a mid-90's fastball and excellent hard curve. Also throws a slider and changeup. Has some injury doubts with the shoulder over the winter, so far seems good in the spring. Likely will be held back in extended ST for a few weeks and will be capped at 150 IP this year. However, he won't be held back in the minors if he's pitching well as expected. Chance to be top 15 ML starter at his best. Initial 2014 assignment: Extended ST -- then Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
2. Yordano Ventura, RHP -- One of the hardest throwers in baseball. Routinely sits 95-100 and shows plus offspeed pitches on occasion. I think his changeup will end up being his best secondary though others think it'll be the curve. Working on a cutter. Smallish build at 5-11, 180 pounds. However he has not missed time other than for a blister a couple years ago. No known restrictions on innings this year. Initial 2014 assignment: In competition for MLB rotation, and is considered a favorite.
3. Miguel Almonte, RHP -- The next in the hard-throwing line of Latin pitchers in the system behind Ventura and Kelvin Herrera. Almonte is more prototypical, he's thin but stands about 6-2. Typically 91-94 but shows more in short bursts. Best pitch is a drop-off-the-table changeup. Breaking ball is more of a work in progress but is working with both a slider and curveball. Advanced pitchability is asset. Chance to be #2 type starter. Timetable to Majors advances rapidly if he skips High-A. Initial 2014 assignment: Double-A Northwest Arkansas, skipping High-A.
4. Sean Manaea, LHP -- Dropped in the 2013 draft due to bonus demands and a hip injury. Healthy now and showing a 92-94 fastball with command according to many outlets that have seen him this spring. Low 3/4 delivery. Best offspeed is changeup and also shows a sweepy breaking ball. Commands the ball extremely well. Will be capped at 150 IP this year but that won't stop him from moving through system very quickly. Initial 2014 assignment: High-A Wilmington.
5. R.A. Mondesi, SS -- Polished infielder, will definitely stick at shortstop. Projects to hit for average and gap power from both sides of the plate. There is still some projection here as the performance so far has been merely good instead of great, but that's fine for someone who just played in Low-A at 17 for most of the season. Should join extremely talented High-A roster. Initial 2014 assignment: High-A Wilmington.
6. Hunter Dozier, 3B -- Physically imposing player at 6-4, 220 pounds. Highly decorated college player who played shortstop at Stephen F. Austin. Shows advanced approach and power to all fields. Projects as an all-around player. Don't take this as a projection, but his swing personally reminds me of Evan Longoria. Initial 2014 assignment: High-A Wilmington.
7. Bubba Starling, CF -- Outstanding physical speciman. It shows in center field where his range, instincts, and arm are all major assets. Questions about hitting persist. Shows big pull power and has an idea of what he's doing at the plate. Has a chance to be Mike Cameron, also has a chance to do nothing at all. I think he gets to the Majors in some capacity on his defense alone. I also believe that the vibe on him would be far different if he wasn't a first round pick, in that, if he was drafted 50 or 60 picks later, he'd be looked at by what he can do rather than what he can't. I'm not necessarily confident in him, but Starling will get many chances. Initial 2014 assignment: High-A Wilmington (there's a trend here...).
8. Jorge Bonifacio, RF -- Mature hitter who performed well after a promotion to Double-A at 20. Disciplined at the plate and still growing into his power. Line drive swing at present. I think I'm lower on him than most. He's a solid defender in a corner at present, but the build is a bit stocky so I'm not sure if it'll hold long term. If he grows into more power you can live with that. Could push for a spot on the 2015 ML roster with a good season. Initial 2014 assignment: Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
9. Elier Hernandez, RF -- Not close to the Majors but has impact tools and improved production. Will have a hard time living up to the hype of the team's highest paid international player (non-Cuban) but that's to be expected. Big power and arm are greatest assets. Needs to develop a more disciplined approach. Should get lots of at-bats this year in his first full season assignment. Initial 2014 assignment: Low-A Lexington.
10. Jason Adam, RHP -- Big bodied pitcher who came along as season progressed in 2013. Doesn't wow anyone on the mound. Fastball is 90-94 although he's shown more in the past. He's also shown a lot less as his velocity has fluctuated wildly as a pro. Also throws curveball, changeup, and recently developed a slider. Chance to be #4 type starter. Personal favorite, like him more than others I think. Initial 2014 assignment: Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
11. Sam Selman, LHP -- It's going to come down to the walks here, as Selman shows good stuff and puts up strikeouts and ground ball numbers you want to see. Fastball is 90-95 on his best days with a slider and changeup. Better in 2nd half of 2013 but still didn't show even average control. I think a bullpen future is more likely, but upside enough to keep him on the radar. Initial 2014 assignment: Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
12. Zane Evans, C -- Athletic catching prospect with a strong arm and right-handed power. Also was Georgia Tech's closer his junior year and some teams preferred him on the mound. Dominated the Pioneer League before a hand injury ended his season. Potentially athletic enough to move to a corner diamond spot if he shows enough aptitude with that bat to make it worth it. Initial 2014 assignment: High-A Wilmington.
13. Chris Binford, RHP -- Tall pitcher with some remaining projection. Former no-name 30th round pick who had Tommy John in high school. Fastball 88-92 and shows curveball and changeup. Needs to continue to progress with secondaries. Has shown terrific control. High-A is his destination this year, but Double-A will be the litmus test. Initial 2014 assignment: High-A Wilmington.
14. John Lamb, LHP -- Wild fluctuations in velocity this spring, showing 90-93 one day and 85-89 the next. But I'd rather seen that than the 85-88 he showed all year in 2013. Throwing him a bone here, but if he can get the mechanics right and show some velocity I wouldn't be surprised if he gets back on the map. Initial 2014 assignment: Double-A Northwest Arkansas
15. Pedro Fernandez, RHP -- Upside play like I prefer. Might be next the next Latin pitcher to ascend through the organization. Flashes a 90-95 fastball along with a slider and changeup according to the few reports on him. A good spring might merit a full season assignment in Lexington. If there's one thing the Royals are doing right, it's assembling a wealth of hard throwing Latin arms on the cheap. Initial 2014 assignment: Low-A Lexington
Andrew Triggs, RHRP; Martin Gasparini, SS; Chris Dwyer, LHP; Orlando Calixte, SS; Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
If you read that all, you rock! Want to thank all that provide scouting reports on players that I can't see! Want to thank all the guys who provide video! This is all my opinion based on what I've seen and what I've heard! Nothing more!