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Kansas City Royals Top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

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How did the Royals prospect list turn out?

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
Brad Keller
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the Kansas City Royals.

This list was originally published November 9th, 2017 and revised December 18, 2017.

*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

1) Nick Pratto, 1B, Grade B: Age 19, first round pick in 2017 from high school in California; long track record as an amateur including Little League and World Cup heroics; was supposed to be very advanced hitter with polish but hasn’t shown that so far, hitting .247/.298/.360 with seven homers, 24 walks, 108 strikeouts in 336 at-bats in Low-A; young of course but he has not been the player advertised hyped as a prep; defense has been weaker than expected, too. Stock flat until I get more detailed reports to see how bad his issues really are.

2) Khalil Lee, OF, Grade B-: Age 20, third round pick in 2016 from high school in Virginia; hit .270/.402/.406 with 48 walks, 75 strikeouts, 14 steals in 244 at-bats in High-A, promoted to Double-A and is at .224/.325/.313 so far through 67 at-bats; very toolsy, plus arm, plus speed, plus raw power, still working out the strike zone but has made progress though Texas League in the second half will test him; I think he’s moved past Pratto.

3) Josh Staumont, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, second round pick in 2015 from Azusa Pacific; 2.82 ERA with 73/37 K/BB in 54 innings in Triple-A, 44 hits; outstanding fastball and a nasty curveball; main issue remains command but he seems well-suited to bullpen work and is doing a better job throwing strikes this year, reversing slippage from 2017.

4) Foster Griffin, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 22, first round pick in 2014, 2017 looked like a breakout season but he’s been pretty bad in ’18, 5.99 ERA in 110 innings in Double-A, 94/31 K/BB, 145 hits; K/BB ratio remains promising but everything else is much worse this year; don’t have a current report on the exact reasons for this but stock has to drop at least somewhat to accommodate the objective data.

5) Hunter Dozier, INF, Grade C+/B-: Age 26, missed most of 2017 season with oblique and hamate injuries, back this year, hit .254/.385/.339 in Triple-A, .206/.263/.328 in 180 major league at-bats; past rookie status now; contact and approach issues are still apparent and he’s getting old for a prospect; stock down, may need a change of scenery.

6) M.J. Melendez, C, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2017 from high school in Miami, Florida; hitting .229/.293/.462 with 13 homers, 27 walks, 95 strikeouts in 292 at-bats in Low-A; has thrown out 40% of runners though defense needs work otherwise; promising but raw on both sides of the ball, could develop into hitter with plus power and advanced glovework but needs to consolidate strike zone and get more reps in general; stock holding.

7) Eric Skoglund, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 25, third round pick in 2014 from University of Central Florida; 6.70 ERA in 50 major league innings, 39/14 K/BB until going on disabled list with strained UCL; just began rehab assignment in rookie ball; still projects as four/five starter assuming good health.

8) Michael Gigliotti, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, fourth round pick in 2017 from Lipscomb University; played six games in Low-A then tore an ACL, out for the season.

9) Seuly Matias, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, signed for $2,250,000 out of Dominican Republic in 2015; hitting .213/.294/.552 with 27 homers, 22 walks, 114 strikeouts in 277 at-bats in Low-A; 70-power but with serious contact/pitch recognition issues; young enough to overcome them but will need time, stock level.

10) Richard Lovelady, LHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 23, 10th round pick in 2016 from Kennesaw State; 2.77 ERA with 45/19 K/BB in 52 innings in Triple-A, 41 hits; solid year, should be ready for MLB bullpen trial soon; strong LOOGY at least and perhaps more.

11) Nicky Lopez, INF, Grade C+/B-: Age 23, fifth round pick in 2016 from Creighton University in Omaha; hitting .312/.388/.419 between Double-A and Triple-A, five homers, 12 steals, 44 walks, 36 strikeouts in 356 at-bats; very reliable glove, just three errors all year; sleeper type and ready for a shot soon.

12) Miguel Almonte, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, contract sold to the Los Angeles Angels on April 4th, has spent most of the season on the disabled list, just now getting back into action in Triple-A.

13) Emmanuel Rivera, 3B, C+: Age 22, 19th round pick in 2015 from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico; hitting .258/.307/.403 with five homers, 16 walks, 35 strikeouts in 233 at-bats; above-average glove at third base, some pop in the bat but overall performance undistinguished; still has potential, stock level.

14) Scott Blewett, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, second round pick in 2014, poor year in Double-A with 5.75 ERA, 66/38 K/BB in 99 innings, 122 hits; as with Foster Griffin I don’t have a specific report at the moment but transition to high minors has been weak without question; past reports have questioned his fastball command as well as his change-up.

15) Samir Duenez, 1B, Grade C+: Age 22, signed out of Venezuela in 2013; hit .242/.304/.402 with 17 homers, 36 walks, 116 strikeouts in 523 at-bats in Double-A in 2017, hitting .250/.313/.424 this year, no real growth and production inadequate for projection as a first baseman.

16) Donnie Dewess, OF, Grade C+: Age 24, originally drafted by Chicago Cubs in second round in 2015 from University of North Florida, then traded to Royals; hitting .232/.280/.347 between Double-A and Triple-A, 11 steals; power development disappointing; runs well but doesn’t get on base enough to maximize the value of his speed.

17) Ryan O’Hearn, 1B, Grade C+: Age 24, eighth round pick in 2014 from Sam Houston State University; hitting .231/.319/.390 with 11 homers, 41 walks, 92 strikeouts in 333 at-bats in Triple-A; anemic production for a PCL first baseman, probably capable of better but it hasn’t happened yet.

18) Meibrys Viloria, C, Grade C+: Age 21, signed out of Columbia in 2013; hitting .230/.327/.300 with 33 walks, 53 strikeouts in 257 at-bats in High-A; weak sauce with the bat so far but young enough to improve; defense has taken a large step forward, significant improvements in receiving/blocking/throwing; will have to see if the bat follows.

19) Daniel Tillo, LHP, Grade C+: Age 22, third round pick in 2017 from Iowa Western Community College; 4.01 ERA with 82/47 K/BB in 99 innings between Low-A and High-A; can get up to mid-90s, still working on commanding his slider and change-up.

20) Chase Vallot, C, Grade C+: Age 21, compensation round pick in 2014 from high school in Louisiana; enormous power and a patient approach but strikes out a frightening amount; hitting combined .147/.306/.322 with eight homers, 32 walks, 93 strikeouts in 177 at-bats between High-A and rookie ball rehab assignment; defense has improved but at this point the bat is a long shot.

21) Brad Keller, RHP, Grade C+: eighth round pick in 2013 from high school in Georgia by the Diamondbacks, selected in Rule 5 draft by Reds then traded to Royals; an actual success story amidst a dismal season, 3.20 ERA in 70 MLB innings, 44/29 K/BB, 63 hits; seems legitimate to me; a very nice cheap acquisition that could pay dividends for years.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Gabriel Cancel, 2B; .278/.332/.415 in High-A, stock trending upward
Nick Dini, C; .261/.308/.411 in Double-A/Triple-A, decent glove
Gerson Garabito, RHP; 3.73 ERA, 77/50 K/BB in 99 innings in High-A; needs to lower walks

Arnaldo Hernandez, RHP; 3.82 ERA in 97 innings between High-A, Double-A, Triple-A with 82/32 K/BB, 108 hits; erratic but has been dominant in some games
Elier Hernandez, OF; .291/.326/.383 with 10 steals, three homers in 368 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, stock up a bit
Janser Lara, RHP; 3.61 ERA, 44/21 K/BB in 42 innings in Low-A; can hit 100

Kevin Lenik, RHP; 4.60 ERA, 41/21 K/BB in 43 innings in Triple-A
Charlie Neuweiler, RHP; 3.77 ERA, 27/10 K/BB in 31 innings between Appy and Low-A; sleeper for 2019.
Emilio Ogando, LHP; 6.41 ERA, 66/59 K/BB in 80 innings in Double-A, 107 hits; was much better at the same level last year, something’s wrong.

Evan Steele, LHP; hasn’t pitched this year
Ramon Torres, INF: .228/.278/.341 in 246 at-bats in Triple-A, .179/.207/.214 in 28 major league at-bats

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Not many bright spots here. Let’s discuss. . .how long will this rebuild project take?