Kansas City Royals Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review
This list was originally published October 15, 2008. This is a REVIEW of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. The grade listed is the OLD GRADE. With a few exceptions, I'm not doing new grades or new lists until I start writing the 2010 book.
1) Mike Moustakas, 3B, Grade A-: Hitting .288/.319/.449 on the road, .208/.267/.375 at home. Wilmington is a tough park. But still...his road numbers should be better than they are, and his plate discipline needs work. Stock has dropped slightly but he is still young.
2) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Grade A-: .254/.352/.382 in the Midwest League, .207/.261/.293 in the Carolina League. I don't understand the promotion to Wilmington. He was controlling the strike zone fairly well at Burlington but I don't see how his overall performance justified the bump up a level. Like Moustakas, still very young but stock is down a notch right now. Note that he was rated as a B+ in the book; I lowered the grade before publication.
3) Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, Grade B: .262/.399/.457 with 86 walks, 78 strikeouts at Omaha. Not as good as last year, but love the plate discipline. Needs a legitimate shot in KC.
4) Daniel Cortes, RHP, Grade B: Traded to Mariners in Betancourt deal. 4.62 ERA with 86/75 K/BB in 111 innings in Double-A. Big deterioration in K/BB and K/IP ratios this year, velocity reported down as well, and I don't like these trends. Stock dropping.
5) Carlos Rosa, RHP, Grade B: 5.02 ERA with 67/29 K/BB in 61 innings for Omaha, 58 hits, 1.58 GO/AO. Doing better than the ERA indicates, FIP is 4.06. Still has some command issues, but should be ready to help in pen soon.
6) Daniel Duffy, LHP, Grade B: 3.51 ERA with 95/31 K/BB in 100 innings, 93 hits for Wilmington. Hasn't pitched since July 28th, when he left the game early with an injury. Anyone have any idea what it was? I like Duffy but I think he might be a tad overrated and prefer the higher-ceiling Montgomery now. NOTE: he pitched this weekend and looked fine; the injury was a sore back.
7) Michael Montgomery, LHP, Grade B: 2.16 with a 71/32 K/BB combined between Burlington and Wilmington, 1.66 GO/AO in 79 innings, just 57 hits. I like the strikeout/ground out combination. Needs to improve his command, but ceiling is very impressive. Top Royals prospect now.
8) Tim Melville, RHP, Grade B: 4.25 ERA with 76/33 K/BB in 78 innings, 75 hits for Burlington. Erratic, but when on his game can be dominant.
9) Johnny Giavotella, 2B, Grade B-: .262/.369/.380 with 20 steals, excellent BB/K ratio, hitting much better over the last two months. Candidate for 2010 breakout.
10) Dan Gutierrez, RHP, Grade B-: Has pitched 12 scoreless innings for Wilmington with 13/2 K/BB after coming off season-long DL stay. Very intriguing prospect if he stays healthy.
11) Blake Wood, RHP, Grade C+: 5.27 ERA with 46/23 K/B in 72 innings for Northwest Arkansas, before going down in June with injury. Has always had the stuff, but command and health are big obstacles.
12) Joseph Dickerson, OF, Grade C+: Hit .230/.338/.317 in 34 games for NW Arkansas before getting hurt. Bat not looking too good at this point.
13) Adrian Ortiz, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .228/.255/.284 with 16 steals between Wilmington and Burlington. Good speed, can' t hit.
14) Tyler Sample, RHP, Grade C+: 4.11 ERA with 33/14 K/BB in 31 innings in the Appalachian League. Doing OK. Will get a better read in full-season ball next year.
15) Chris Nicoll, RHP, Grade C+: 3.50 ERA with 58/26 K/BB in 61 innings in Double-A. Just promoted to Omaha, might help in pen next year. I've always liked him for some reason.
16) Matthew Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+: Out all season with injury.
17) Jose Bonilla, C, Grade C+: Hitting .220/.279/.313 in the Midwest League. Looks decent with the glove, bat very doubtful.
18) Kelvin Herrera, RHP, Grade C+: Out all season with injury.
19) Alexander Caldera, RHP, Grade C+: 5.65 ERA with 88/46 K/BB in 115 innings for Wilmington, 131 hits. 3.68 ERA at home, 8.12 on the road...very extreme split with odd component changes as well, check it out at minorleaguesplits or minorleaguebaseball.com.
20) Mitch Maier, OF, Grade C: hitting .240/.317/.335 in the majors. He has a good glove and can swipe a base, but lack of power will prevent him from moving beyond bench role.
Jeff Bianchi was a Grade C but his stock is going up again. Also keep an eye on submariner Chris Hayes and hard-throwing Juan Abreu as relief sleepers. The big breakthrough this year has been outfielder Jordan Parraz, stolen from the Astros for Tyler Lumsden after this list was made last fall.
It is too early to panic regarding Moustakas and Hosmer, and keep in mind that both Burlington and Wilmington are difficult places to hit, though short term expectations need to be tempered. Giavotella looks like a really good candidate for a big breakthrough next year. On the other hand, there is a lot of injury attrition among the pitchers. Derrick Robinson has stolen 56 bases but has no power, though at this point he looks like a better prospect than Adrian Ortiz at least. They continue to pour money into the draft. The '09 class is pitching-thick and college-oriented, though the recent signing of high school catcher Wil Myers (a late first round talent) in the third round adds another high-ceiling bat. This will pay off in the long run, but I remember back in the 90s when the Twins were terrible for many years...it is hard to be patient.