Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Kansas City Royals. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.
|15||Yefri Del Rosario||19.6||A||RHP||2021||40|
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Kaufman was a $722,000 JuCo 12th rounder who can really spin a curveball (2750 rpm average in pro ball). He’s still just 19, has a lanky frame, and already bumps 92, 93 on occasion. Candelario is a balletic defensive shortstop who adds little flourishes to just about everything he does. The entire offensive package is below-average right now, but we’ll see what happens with the frame. Speaking of waiting on the frame, Guzman is now 20 and has finally started to fill out in a positive way. He’s going to strike out a lot, but has a chance to rise into the main portion of the list this year. Garcia is a smooth, rangy defender and has a good frame but he’s very weak with the bat right now. Lopez looked intriguing (above average runner, gap pop, feel for center field) before he was seriously injured in 2017, and then he had a bad 2018. He’s a bounce back candidate. Paulino is a strong-bodied 20-year-old who sits 93-97. His upper-80s slider has vertical break, but it’s blunt and lacks that bat-missing bite. Realistically, he’s a developmental bullpen piece, but there are some late-inning components in place if that slider gets tighter. Jaquez is 20 and has above-average bat speed.
Bowlan’s stuff has been all over the place, sometimes even during the same start. He was 89-95 during his first outing and could be a sinker/slider reliever, but the Royals have done fairly well with sinkerballers lately. Haake will show plus stuff for an inning or two before his command starts to waivers. He could be a mid-90s, plus slider reliever. Hernandez is 23 and could be a changeup-centric reliever if his fastball ticks up in relief. Machado is a mid-90s/cutter reliever without a pitch that will obviously miss bats.
Gigliotti was a plus runner with feel for the zone who was a 40 runner this spring, his first back from an ACL tear. If the speed returns, he’s a likely bench outfielder. Cancel is a career .265 hitter, is at Double-A, and could be an infield utility bat. We still think Bubba Starling, who runs well and plays a fine center field but has never found a good swing foundation, plays in the big leagues. Perkins is now 23 and still lacks physicality, but he can really run and play center. Peterson is a corner guy with some contact skills. Negret has plus power but little feel for contact. Perez is an instinctive defender with some feel to hit.
We spent a lot of effort trying to discern what the Royals were trying to do with their 2018 draft bonus pool, which was the biggest in baseball last year, because it was going to have such a profound impact on the rest of the draft. They ended up with all college value picks (and, eventually, Rylan Kaufman), which tasted disappointingly vanilla at the time, but now looks like a clear-headed approach as it yielded five of the org’s top 10 prospects and several other interesting ones, our Bowlan skepticism be damned.
This is a top-to-bottom reset, with maybe four or five players on the big league roster who are realistic parts of the next competitive Royals team, at the same that there aren’t any top 100 prospects currently in the system. The big wave of talent that represents the crest of the rebuilding wave is at Hi-A Wilmington right now, and whomever becomes the second pick in the upcoming draft (be it Adley Rutchsmann or Andrew Vaughn, the two players we think are the most likely to go first or second based on talent) should be advanced enough to join them pretty quickly, so long as the Royals don’t take a high schooler. Whoever the pick, barring a sizable leap from one of the 45 FV players on this list, the new 2019 draftee will immediately be the club’s No. 1 prospect. Perhaps, if enough of that wave actually pans out, they’ll be good again sooner than the overall quality of the farm indicates.
We also have them linked to outfielder Erick Pena, who is No. 4 among our 2019 July 2 prospects at the time of publication. So there’s some more exciting talent coming. But right now, the most important parts of the org are the amateur scouting and player dev staff who might help Kansas City create tradable big leaguers.