Top 20 Kansas City Royals Prospects for 2010.
All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize.
Feel free to critique the list, but use logic and reason rather than polemics to do so. The list and grades are based on a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Full reports on all these players can be found in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book.
1) Mike Montgomery, LHP, Grade B+: Looks like the best combination of projection and performance in the organization.
2) Mike Moustakas, 3B, Grade B: Trying to decide between a Grade B+ and a straight B for this one. I'm willing to cut him some slack for one more season. He could do much better out of Wilmington.
3) Aaron Crow, RHP, Grade B: Want to see some actual pro data before going higher with the grade, but I like him a lot and he shouldn't need a lot of development time.
4) Tim Melville, RHP, Grade B: Needs to sharpen up his command a bit, but projects as a number two starter if everything comes together and he stays healthy.
5) Danny Duffy, LHP, Grade B: I like him a lot, too, although I don't think he has quite as much projection as Melville. Crow, Melville, and Duffy could rank 3-4-5 in any order.
6) Wil Myers, C, Grade B: Love the bat, not sure about the defense. Need more pro data before going higher with the grade.
7) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Grade B-: A difficult grade. Will the lasik surgery fix whatever was bothering him in '09? If so, could vault back to the top of the list.
8) Carlos Rosa, RHP, Grade B-: His numbers at Omaha are better than they look, and he has the arm strength to be a solid reliever.
9) David Lough, OF, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Good tools, started to put things together this year, but turns 24 in January and I wish he walked more.
10) John Lamb, LHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Has the natural ability to develop as Montgomery and Duffy have, but I'd like some higher level data.
11) Noel Arguelles, LHP, Grade C+: Live-armed Cuban defector signed in December. Hard to know exactly what they have here. He's not Aroldis Chapman but he could be very good.
12) Jordan Parraz, OF, Grade C+: Good tools, really exploded this year, but injury problems and age (now 25) limit his grade.
13) Jeff Bianchi, SS-2B, Grade C+: I wish he drew more walks, but you have to respect how he fought back from injuries.
14) Chris Dwyer, LHP, Grade C+: Has great stuff, but the results weren't always there in college and pro data set (while small) shows command problems.
15) Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, Grade C+: Couldn't repeat 2008 monster season, but high walk rate and moderate power are still there. I don't understand why he wasn't promoted in September. Born DH.
16) Johnny Giavotella, 2B, Grade C+: Hampered by unlucky BABIP early in the year, but finished strong. Breakout candidate for 2010 in the Texas League. Shaky defense is an issue.
17) Louis Coleman, RHP, Grade C+: LSU product looks like a really sharp reliever to me; could rise very quickly.
18) Tyler Sample, RHP, Grade C+: Another young high-ceiling arm. Command is a question.
19) Tim Smith, OF, Grade C+: Scouts don't like his tools and he's not a huge power guy, but he seems to hit .300 everywhere he goes.
20) Cole White, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper relief arm from 2009 draft, could advance rapidly along with Coleman.
21) Blake Wood, RHP, Grade C: Terrific arm but command and injury problems hold him back. Interchangeable with most of the guys in the "other" category.
Others (All Grade C right now): Juan Abreu, RHP; Eric Basturto, RHP; Yowill Espinal, SS: Carlos Fortuna, RHP; Blaine Hardy, LHP; Keaton Hayenga, RHP; Chris "Disco" Hayes, RHP; Kelvin Herrera, RHP; Greg Holland, RHP; Dusty Hughes, LHP; Patrick Keating, RHP; Alex Llanos, OF; Chris Nicoll, RHP; Dusty Odenbach, RHP; Salvador Perez, C; Manuel Pina, C; Clint Robinson, 1B: Derrick Robinson, OF; Brandon Sisk, LHP; Nick Van Stratten, OF.
The Royals have a lot of extremely interesting pitching in the organization, with Montgomery, Melville, Crow, Duffy, Lamb, Dwyer, Sample, and Wood all having sufficient arm strength and/or command to be dominant pitchers, IF they stay healthy and develop along the expected path. They also have a lot of potentially useful relief arms, with Rosa ready to help next year, and several arms from the '09 class (Coleman most notably) who could move quickly.
Things are much different on the hitting side. Moustakas and Hosmer were big disappointments this year. Both of them are still young, and both of them had some possibly-extenuating circumstances. But the fact remains that both of them are corner players who didn't hit as well as expected and have a lot to prove in 2010. I cut Moustakas some slack on the grade because he did hit well in 2008, but graded Hosmer a bit more roughly because he hasn't done much at all in pro ball yet. Both could move up or down rather radically in 2010. Myers looks really interesting but we need to see more at higher levels. Lough and Parraz are both late-developing toolsy outfielders who may or may not sustain their progress. Bianchi and Giavotella in the middle infield also have question marks. . are they utility players or possible starters? We don't know yet. Kila looks blocked and probably needs a change of scenery.
Overall this is a system that is very thin at the upper levels, but has an intriguing group of potential impact talents lower in the organization. But I emphasize the word potential: there is a big group that has to turn projection into performance next year.