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Kansas City Royals Top 20 2016 PRE-SEASON prospects, mid-season review

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Cheslor Cuthbert
Cheslor Cuthbert
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Moving forward with our 2016 mid-season prospect reviews, we turn our attention to the Kansas City Royals. Remember! This is the PRE-SEASON LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE PRE-SEASON GRADES.

This list was originally published November 19, 2015

1) Raul Mondesi, SS, Grade B+/B: Hitting .253/.311/.440 combined between Double-A, Triple-A, and A-ball tuneup after returning from restricted list for PED use; showing more power this year, has stolen 19 bases in 20 attempts; defense remains erratic but flashy, still just 20. Stock steady.

2) Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Grade B:
Limited to 5.2 innings with more "arm fatigue" issues. Pointless to speculate on his future.

3) Miguel Almonte, RHP, Grade B-: 5.16 ERA in 52 innings in Triple-A, 53/37 K/BB; posted 6.23 ERA in 8.2 MLB innings; continues to tantalize with natural talent but with erratic final results; still just 23. 

4) Bubba Starling, OF, Grade B-:
Hitting .199/.269/.333 with six homers, 20 walks, 92 strikeouts in 267 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, 10 steals in 11 attempts. Looking good with speed and defense but continues to struggle with contact and overall production.

5) Ashe Russell, RHP, Grade B-:
Age 19, first round pick this year out of high school in Indiana, just two innings in rookie ball so far, telling us nothing useful.

6) Josh Staumont, RHP, Grade B-:
Age 21, second round pick out of Azusa Pacific in 2015, 5.05 ERA in 73 innings in High-A, 94/67 K/BB; numbers match scouting reports perfectly: excellent stuff and hitters have trouble squaring him up, but his control is poor and will be an issue at higher levels unless improved.

7) Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Grade B-/C+:
Age 23, hitting 290/.355/.495 with 13 homers, 27 walks, 85 strikeouts in 321 at-bats in Triple-A; finally breaking out turning his raw power into field production; still has some strike zone concerns but overall much improved compared to 2014-2015.

8) Foster Griffin, LHP, Grade B-/C+:
Age 20, first round pick in 2014, combined 5.04 ERA in 91 innings with 70/34 K/BB and 104 hits allowed between Low-A and High-A; usually throws strikes but command to specific points of the zone hasn't caught up with general control yet and he doesn't have the raw stuff to compensate.

9) Nolan Watson, RHP, Grade B-/C+:
Age 19, supplemental first round pick from Indiana high school in 2015; grave disappointment so far with 8.06 ERA in 67 innings in Low-A, 44/27 K/BB, 91 hits allowed; neither command nor stuff have lived up to high school press clippings. Still very young of course.

10) Elier Hernandez, OF, Grade C+/B-:
Hitting .203/.265/.281 with 23 walks, 76 strikeouts in 320 at-bats in High-A at age 21; still shows impressive physical tools but little feel for how to use them; skills seem stagnant as a hitter. Again, still young, but lots of work to do here.

11) Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Grade C+/B-:
Stepping in for injured Mike Moustakas and has performed well, hitting .282/.310/.442 with eight homers in 206 at-bats; impatient (just nine walks) but producing overall and handling position with the glove. One of the bright spots for the KC system and still just 23 years old.

12) Scott Blewett, RHP, Grade C+: Age 20, second round pick in 2014 from high school in New York, 4.40 ERA in Low-A with 75/38 K/BB in 88 innings; scouting reports from earlier in year were not overly enthusiastic but he's been stronger lately and fanned 10 in his last start.

13) Marten Gasparini, SS, Grade C+:
Age 9, signed out of Italy in 2013 to largest bonus in European history, hitting .199/.259/.329 with 10 steals, 20 walks, 89 strikeouts in 246 at-bats in Low-A; also struggling with the glove with .862 fielding percentage. Still shows great tools but not much feel for the game at this point.

14) Reymond Fuentes, OF, Grade C+:
Bouncing between Triple-A, majors, and disabled list; hitting .282/.344/.327 in 110 at-bats in the minors, .317/.364/.341 in 41 at-bats in the majors. Prototype fourth outfielder due to speed, defense, line drive hitting when healthy.

15) Anderson Miller, OF, Grade C+:
Age 22, third round pick in 2015 from Western Kentucky, hitting .284/.376/.432 in 155 at-bats in Low-A; promoted to High-A yesterday; good athlete with some pop in the bat, need to see at higher levels but has promise.

16) Pedro Fernandez, RHP, Grade C+:
Age 22, signed for just $45,000 as another bargain arm from the Dominican Republic; 3.02 ERA in 63 innings between High-A and Double-A with 50/21 K/BB; just went on disabled list in Double-A yesterday with undisclosed injury.

17) Alfredo Escalara-Maldonado, OF, Grade C+:
Age 21, hitting .269/.334/.343 with three homers, 21 walks, 75 strikeouts in 283 at-bats in High-A; has made improvements with approach this year but still trying to tap his power; other tools/skills don't really stand out without more production to back them up.

18) Amalani Fukofuka, OF, Grade C+:
Age 21, fifth round pick in 2013 from high school in California, blew up the Pioneer League last year but hitting poorly this season at .204/.255/.280 with 16 walks, 98 strikeouts in 279 at-bats in Low-A. Good defender and fast with 15 steals but bat is very anemic at this point.

19) Alec Mills, RHP, Grade C+:
Age 24 Tommy John recovery guy, 2.64 ERA in 91 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 86/18 K/BB; throwing strikes, low-90s fastball with workable secondaries; sleeper prospect seeing his stock rise by out-pitching guys with more press clippings.

20) Eric Skoglund, LHP, Grade C+:
Age 23, third round pick in 2014, 3.46 ERA in Double-A with 84/21 K/BB in 96 innings; Texas League observers impressed with command, control, overall consistency. Potential number four starter.

OTHER GRADE C+: Ryan O'Hearn, 1B; Chase Vallot, C

OTHERS OF NOTE: Christian Binford, RHP; Orlando Calixte, INF; Roman Collins, OF; Garrett Davila, LHP; Brandon Downes, OF; Hunter Dozier, 3B; Brett Eibner, OF; Xavier Fernandez, C; Wander Franco, 3B; Gerson Garabito, RHP; Arnaldo Hernandez, RHP; Matthew Strahm, LHP; Corey Toups, INF

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REMINDER: That's the pre-season list! A great deal has changed since.

Hunter Dozier, who looked like he might be finished as a prospect nine months ago, has obviously restored his stock and would be up at the top now. Brett Eibner has also proven his worth.

We'll be around in the comments section to discuss where things stand currently.