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Kansas City Royals Top 20 Prospects

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  1. Denny Bautista, RHP, B+
  2. Billy Butler, 1B-3B, B+
  3. J.P. Howell, LHP, B+
  4. Justin Huber, 1B-C, B
  5. Mark Teahen, 3B, B
  6. Billy Buckner, RHP, B
  7. Ambiorix Burgos, RHP, B-
  8. Shane Costa, OF, B-
  9. Matt Campbell, LHP, B-
  10. Don Murphy, 2B, B-
  11. Mike Aviles, SS, B-
  12. Andy Sisco, LHP, C+
  13. Mitch Maier, OF-3B, C+ (grade change)
  14. Andres Blanco, SS, C+
  15. Ryan Braun, RHP, C+
  16. Leo Nunez, RHP, C+
  17. Chris Lubanski, OF, C+
  18. Brian McFall, OF, C+
  19. Josh Johnson, 2B, C+
  20. Justin Huisman, RHP, C
An improving farm system, though it still has a long way to go before matching the Minnesota or Cleveland systems. Rip-off-the-other-team trades for Bautista and Huber helped a lot last summer.

I don't think that Teahen will ever be the power hitter that the Royals dream of, but he should hit .280, with walks, doubles, 10-15 homers, and good defense. He'll be a reasonable replacement for Joe Randa. Pitchers Bautista and Ambiorix Burgos have awesome arms, but have to show better command. 2004 college draftee pitcher J.P. Howell, Billy Buckner, and Matt Campbell should make short work of A-ball, but we need to see what they do in Double-A. I'm very optimistic about Howell in particular. Rule 5 pick Andy Sisco looks good in early camp and will probably stick on the roster. First-round pick Billy Butler annihilated the Pioneer League, combining power production with a high batting average and excellent strike zone judgment. His main problem is defense, and he will end up at first base.

I'm changing Mitch Maier's grade from a slightly overoptimistic B- to C+. He's no longer a third baseman, but as an outfielder he'll need to show more power. Andres Blanco has an awesome glove and is young enough to still improve his hitting. Watch Josh Johnson, a third-round pick last year who drew 56 walks in his first 57 pro games.

Reliever Ryan Braun has a great slider. Leo Nunez, acquired from the Pirates for Benito Santiago, owns a 95 MPH fastball and decent control, but has had elbow problems and needs to work on his breaking stuff.