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Minor League Ball update: Thoughts on the Royals farm system

Kyle Zimmer
Kyle Zimmer
Charlie Drysdale

I am working on the 2016 Top 20 prospects list for the Kansas City Royals farm system. It is more than 50% complete and I hope to have it posted within the next 48 hours. In the meantime, here are some early observations.

***There's a lot of C+ in this farm system at present.

***However, there are few prospects who combine tools, health, and performance in one package. The toolsy guys tend to struggle, particularly on offense, while many of the guys with better numbers don't excite scouts. Some of the young tools guys have been pushed very aggressively to competition beyond their skill levels, Raul Mondesi and Jorge Bonifacio most notably, which make the sabermetrics tougher to interpret and subjective projection more necessary. But even some who were supposed to be pretty advanced skill-wise have not done as well as anticipated, Hunter Dozier in particular.

***Bubba Starling and Cheslor Cuthbert made incremental progress in 2015 but it is more likely that they can be useful role players rather than stars. Lower-level tools players like Elier Hernandez and Marten Gasparini need to follow in the footsteps of guys like Lorenzo Cain instead to justify their large bonuses.

***Pitching is in better shape than hitting but most of it won't be ready for at least a year or two. The best mixture of performance and physical talent is Kyle Zimmer, but can he stay healthy often enough for it to matter? High school arms from recent drafts (Scott Blewett, Foster Griffin, Nolan Watson, Ashe Russell) offer excellent upside but are years away. Can fireballing college arm Josh Staumont throw strikes?