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Kansas City Royals 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Kansas City Royals 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

I am reviewing my PRE-SEASON list of Top 20 prospects for 2011 for each organization, continuing today with the Kansas City Royals. This list was originally published January 9th, 2011. We will look the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, the Seattle Mariners on Friday, the Florida Marlins on Saturday, and the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

This is a review of the 2011 Pre-Season Top 20 list. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.

The 2012 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Mike Moustakas, 3B, Grade A:   .287/.347/.498 with 19 walks, 44 strikeouts in 223 at-bats for Triple-A Omaha. Just .195/.253/.252 in 159 major league at-bats, 12 walks, 24 strikeouts. He will come around, they just need to let him play.

2) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Grade A:  .439/.525/.582 in 26 games for Omaha. .281/.332/.444 with 10 homers, 25 walks, 55 strikeouts in 324 at-bats for the Royals. His career is just getting started. I ranked him behind Moustakas at the beginning of the year because Moustakas plays a tougher position.

3) Wil Myers, C, Grade A:   .250/.348/.371 with 40 walks, 67 strikeouts in 264 at-bats for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Hit well early despite some injury troubles, big slump in July knocked his numbers back. Still controlling the zone well, just 20 years old.

4) Danny Duffy, LHP, Grade B+:  3.43 ERA with 48/10 K/BB in 42 innings for Omaha. 5.05 ERA in 13 major league starts, 60/33 K/BB in 68 innings, 80 hits. He was rushed, but the talent is obvious.

5) Michael Montgomery, LHP, Grade B+:  5.20 ERA with 98/59 K/BB in 119 innings for Omaha, 119 hits, 1.29 GO/AO. PCL observers describe strong stuff but erratic command.

6) John Lamb, LHP, Grade B+:  3.09 ERA with 22/13 K/BB in 35 innings for NW Arkansas, 33 hits. Blew out elbow, out with Tommy John surgery.

7) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Grade B+: 2.87 ERA with 103/22 K/BB in 78 innings for High-A Wilmington, 68 hits.  4.46 ERA with 26/12 K/BB in 34 innings for NW Arkansas, 34 hits. Very high fly ball ratios.

8) Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Grade B+:  4.70 ERA with 13/11 K/BB in 15 major league innings, 1.82 GO/AO. Sent down to Omaha and got killed (7.13 ERA, 24/18 K/BB in 24 innings) due to command problems. Now down in Double-A, has walked 13 in 16 innings. Going backwards.

9) Chris Dwyer, LHP, Grade B:  5.77 ERA with 101/66 K/BB in 112 innings for NW Arkansas, 101 hits. Another guy with strong stuff but command has gone backwards.

10) Brett Eibner, OF, Grade B: Slow start due to injury, hitting .214/.337/.445 with 10 homers, 30 walks, 53 strikeouts in 173 at-bats for Low-A Kane County. Power, walks, and batting average has been creeping up.

11) Christian Colon, SS, Grade B:   .254/.327/.348, 39 walks, 40 strikeouts, 16 steals in 382 at-bats for NW Arkansas. No one expected him to be a masher but this is disappointing offensive performance. Glovework has been reliable.

12) Johnny Giavotella, 2B, Grade B-:   .338/.390/.481 with 40 walks, 57 strikeouts in 453 at-bats for Omaha with improved defense. Just promoted to the majors.

13) Louis Coleman, RHP, Grade B-:  1.85 ERA with 47/18 K/BB in 44 major league innings, 25 hits. Can't knock this, thriving in middle relief role and could take larger burden. Main caution flag is potential gopheritis.

14) Aaron Crow, RHP, Grade C+: 1.93 ERA with 49/24 K/BB in 51 major league innings, 37 hits. Better stuff than Coleman but I ranked him a slot behind because Crow was so horrible last year, but he's thrived in relief role.

15) Tim Melville, RHP, Grade C+  4.33 ERA with 78/36 K/BB in 104 innings, 121 hits for Wilmington. Not horrible but not good either. My guess is that he ends up like Crow and finds his niche in relief.

16) Tim Collins, LHP, Grade C+:  3.46 ERA with 42/38 K/BB in 52 major league innings, 37 hits. Pre-season stathead favorite. Needs to get the walks down to sustain success.

17) Patrick Keating, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper relief arm stayed asleep, 6.16 ERA with 44/12 K/BB in 38 innings, 42 hits for NW Arkansas. Currently on DL.

18) Salvador Perez, C, Grade C+: .283/.326/.425 with 10 homers, 16 walks, 33 strikeouts in 322 at-bats between NW Arkansas and Omaha. Makes some errors, but has thrown out 46% of runners. We'll see him in the majors next year certainly.

19) Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Grade C+: Hitting .314/.369/.464 with 21 walks, 39 strikeouts in 220 at-bats for Kane County. Just 18 years old, and a decent glove too. Stock way up, it looks like the scouts were right about him.

20) Clint Robinson, 1B, Grade C+: Cooled off after hot start, but numbers still impressive: .306/.382/.502 for Omaha, 50 walks, 71 strikeouts in 412 at-bats. The low strikeout rate with power is a good marker. 26 years old and blocked in this organization. Would mash in Japan.

21) Jeff Bianchi, INF, Grade C+: .261/.317/.341 with 27 walks, 72 strikeouts, 15 steals in 352 at-bats for NW Arkansas. Excellent glove at second base but injuries have hampered his hitting development.

22) David Lough, OF, Grade C+:  .314/.362/.493 with 24 doubles, 10 triples, eight homers, 12 steals, 28 walks, 43 strikeouts in 379 at-bats for Omaha. Good tools, gap power, low strikeout rate, doesn't draw many walks, age 25.

23) Kevin Chapman, LHP, Grade C+: 3.21 ERA with 37/10 K/BB in 28 innings for NW Arkansas, 23 hits. Chokes lefties, .167 mark. Power LOOGY but has enough stuff to move beyond that role if command is there.

24) Buddy Baumann, LHP, Grade C+: 4.08 ERA with 54/26 K/BB in 57 innings for NW Arkansas, 55 hits, used as a swingman. Currently on injury rehab in Arizona Rookie League. Still a possible sleeper if he can get the walks back down.

25) Will Smith, LHP, Grade C+:  4.52 ERA with 76/38 K/BB in 125 innings for NW Arkansas, 144 hits. K/IP and H/IP are unimpressive but he's still throwing strikes.

26) Robinson Yambati, RHP, Grade C+: 18.85 ERA with 9/11 K/BB in 18 innings for rookie-level Burlington, 44 hits. Pre-season rookie ball sleeper has been hideous; forget I even mentioned him.

27) Yordano Ventura, RHP, Grade C+: 5.02 ERA with 60/19 K/BB in 57 innings for Kane County, 59 hits. Not great, but he can at least find the strike zone and is just only 20.

28) Jason Adam, RHP, Grade C+:  4.68 ERA with 62/21 K/BB in 77 innings for Kane County, 68 hits. Scouting reports are better than the numbers, just turned 20.

A mixture of good and bad here. Hosmer, Crow, and Coleman have been terrific, while Moustakas and Duffy just need more time. However, injuries and inconsistency among the big group of pitching prospects reminds us exactly how much attrition can strike that demographic. If you have five strong pitching prospects, you're doing well if you get one or two actual pitchers out of the group. I'm becoming a big fan of Cuthbert.