Royals rookie southpaw J.P. Howell (AP)
Andy Sisco, breaking the hearts of Cubs fans everywhere.
1) Denny Bautista, RHP.
Pitched well in spring training, flashed potential early in the season before going down with shoulder soreness. On rehab assignment in Triple-A.
2) Billy Butler, 3B-OF
Hitting .367/.449/.686 with 18 homers. Even accounting for High Desert stat inflation, this is fine performance from a 19-year-old. Good plate discipline. An outfielder now after making too many errors at third base.
3) J.P. Howell, LHP.
Rushed to the Majors, rapid rise for '04 first-round pick. Really belongs in Triple-A at this point, but he's more fun to watch than Chris George.
4) Justin Huber, 1B.
Hit .332/.420/.517 at Double-A Wichita before recent promotion to the Majors. Should be very similar to Mike Sweeney eventually.
5) Mark Teahen, 3B.
Looks good with the glove, still finding his way offensively.
6) Billy Buckner, RHP.
Went 3-7, 3.88 in 11 starts at Burlington, then 2-2, 5.09 in 4 starts for High Desert. Combined K/BB of 78/25 in 83 innings is solid. Throws strikes, but gives up a lot of homers.
7) Ambiorix Burgos, RHP.
Another guy rushed to the Majors, posted 4.44 ERA and fanned 28 in his first 24 innings for KC before going on the DL. Great arm, great future if he stays healthy.
8) Shane Costa, OF.
Hit .274/.340/.435 at Wichita. Rushed to the Majors, and has done well so far: .294/.345/.431 in 18 games. Power seems to be developing.
9) Matt Campbell, LHP.
1-5, 3.94 in 11 starts for Class A Burlington. Disappointing 48/34 K/BB ratio. Pitching again after a mid-June stint on the DL with a sore shoulder.
10) Don Murphy, 2B.
Limited to 34 games at Wichita due to injury. Good glove but still has to prove his bat.
11) Mike Aviles, SS.
.298/.341/.472 at Wichita, with 20 doubles. Hitting well, good gap power. Defense may force a switch in position eventually.
12) Andy Sisco, LHP.
One of the bright spots for the Royals this year, has been brilliant at times in the bullpen. Ya think the Cubs want him back?
13) Mitch Maier, OF.
.336/.370/.583 at High Desert led to promotion to Wichita, where he's at .261/.278/.432 in 20 games. Showing power but what happened to the great plate discipline he showed in college?
14) Andres Blanco, SS.
Good field/no hit guy has been out most of the year with injuries. Rehabbing at High Desert.
15) Ryan Braun, RHP.
Awful at Wichita (17.36 ERA), demoted to High Desert, then went on the DL with sore biceps.
16) Leo Nunez, RHP.
Great arm, but promoted way too quickly in my opinion. Still more valuable than Benito Santiago though.
17) Chris Lubanski, OF.
Pulling out of early season slump. Now hitting .259/.307/.511 with 17 homers. Power improving, though some of that is due to environment, and plate discipline and contact are still major questions.
18) Brian McFall, OF.
Strapping athlete hitting just .239/.327/.378 at Burlington. Weak plate discipline inhibits production.
19) Josh Johnson, 2B.
Just activated from extended spring training. Playing rookie ball.
20) Justin Huisman, RHP.
3.91 ERA at Triple-A Omaha. Still has a chance as a middle reliever but command needs to return to previous standards.
Watch Luis Cota at Burlington, fast-rising RHP prospect who has made major strides in his command this year.