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Royals Zone Top 15 Prospects

The season has concluded, and I like to consider myself a pretty well-rounded Royals fan. As a Royals fan, you pretty much have to have an eye on the future or else the Major League team just won’t fulfill your needs of baseball. With that, here are my top 15 prospects.

1. Eric Hosmer, 1B: As it turns out, the vision was as big of a problem as it was made out to be. I still don’t understand why the team was so slow to react, but that’s water under the bridge now that Hosmer is recovered. He had a HUGE 2010 season to reclaim his prospect luster. Hosmer’s the full package offensively. He can hit for average, he’s patient, he doesn’t strike out, he’s got power and while he’s no Jarrod Dyson, he’s also not exactly Benjie Molina. He’s going to hit from the word go. I predict that he’s hitting third before his 50th game in the majors.
ETA: September 2011
2. Wil Myers, C (for now): As a catcher, Wil Myers is the number two prospect in my system. If he moves to the outfield, he’ll probably drop to number four. That said, he’d be the top prospect in many organizations. He, like Hosmer, can really do it all. For a 19-year-old, he’s ridiculously polished at the plate, taking walks and limiting strikeouts. He’s already got good power, but has the tools and athleticism to really turn up the power as he gets older and fills out a little bit.
ETA: September 2012
3. Mike Moustakas, 3B: He’s the name on the list to this point. Moustakas put a lot of concerns to rest with his 2010. Moose missed the first month of 2010 but started his season on a tear and never really let up. He’s the third of our top prospects who would be number one on more than a handful of teams lists. The reason he’s not number one on our list is because he’s not as complete a player as either Hosmer or Myers. He’s not stellar defensively and he doesn’t get on base quite enough to leapfrog them (though I think he will as he gets established). He’s got more power than just about anyone the Royals have had, and will get a chance to challenge Balboni very soon.
ETA: June 2011
4. Mike Montgomery, LHP: This is where it gets a little difficult for me. Coming into the season, Montgomery was pretty much considered the top prospect in the system. His drop here has more to do with the others on the list than him, but he did go through some injury troubles and was only able to make 20 starts and pitch 93 innings. He’s getting some winter work to make up for it, though, and I have no doubt he’ll continue on the fast track. He has had an uncanny ability to limit homers in the minors while not walking a ton and striking out his fair share. Montgomery is a number two starter in the making with a ceiling of an ace.
ETA: June 2012
5. John Lamb, LHP: Talk about a guy who made huge strides in 2010. Lamb was drafted following an injury in high school that kept him from pitching his senior year. The Royals were patient and they’re beginning to get rewarded. As a 19-year-old, Lamb tasted AA. He struggled a little bit, but his last few starts he was showing that he was making the adjustment. He can get the strikeouts and limit walks and has a great build for a pitcher. He probably has a higher ceiling than Montgomery, but isn’t quite on Montgomery’s level yet. He’ll get there very soon.
ETA: August 2012
6: Johnny Giavotella, 2B: This is probably the highest that you’ll see Gio on a Royals prospect list. I just love this guy’s game and potential. He’s got speed, a little pop, can run, can steal a base. Offensively he’s a great package for a middle infielder. His defense isn’t great, but he’s a hard worker who can and will get better. His attributes are pretty reminiscent of David DeJesus. To add a second DDJ is not a bad thing for sure.
ETA: August 2011
7. Danny Duffy, LHP: Duffy’s story is somewhat similar to Greinke’s in that he took some time off baseball to reassess priorities and came back. He wasn’t already at the Major League level when he did it, but that’s the only difference from the Royals standpoint. Like Greinke, they’re thrilled he decided to come back. Duffy was on the fast track to the Majors when he walked away, and he’s back on that track now. The only thing that will keep Duffy from making a big splash in the majors in 2011 is an innings limit as he only threw 62.1 in the regular season after returning. He did throw almost 130 in 2009, but the Royals will still be careful with him as he’s a big part of the future.
ETA: August 2011
8. Christian Colon, SS: In many years, the Royals previous season’s number one draft pick would be at the top of the list. Like Montgomery, this ranking isn’t a reflection on Colon, but rather those around him. Some do not believe that Colon will stick at shortstop, but I think he will, at least in the short-term. He may require a move to second base at some point, but for now he’s at least an average shortstop who can get better with positioning and work. Colon’s a very good baseball player, but perhaps is best attribute is his leadership. He got off to a slow professional start, but turned it on as the season progressed and now looks to start 2011 in AA or at least get there very quickly. He’s a polished player who will rise through the system quickly and may be the Opening Day shortstop in 2012.
ETA: September 2011
9. Chris Dwyer, LHP: Dwyer may end up being the best of all the pitching prospects and had an excellent 2010. Many would have him above both Giavotella and Colon, but I’m concerned about his walk rate a little bit. I truly believe that he could make an impact in the big leagues as a reliever as early as next season, and that may ultimately be his ending point, but he also has ace potential. I love his strikeout ability. He’s one of the guys I’m going to watch very closely in 2011.
ETA: April 2012
10. Brett Eibner, OF: Eibner signed too late to play in 2010, but he looks to be the total package. It was thought that he could have been drafted almost as high as a pitcher, but the Royals selected him as an outfielder and he could be fast mover through the system. He’s got very real power, but may be a little strikeout prone in the majors. He’s another player who in past years would have been number three or four. This system is amazing.
ETA: June 2012
11. Aaron Crow, RHP: Not a good season for Crow, who entered the year as the Royals top pitching prospect. He struggled at AA and was demoted to A ball, which would have been devastating to previous Royals systems. His ERA rose significantly when he went down to Wilmington, but his secondary stats shot through the roof (in a good way). In 44 innings, Crow struck out 53 and walked just six. I expect a very good 2011 out of Crow as he’s now made the adjustment to professional baseball and worked out the rust.
ETA: August 2011
12. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B: The numbers don’t exactly jump out at you until you see the age. To be promoted to advanced rookie ball before your 18th birthday is impressive. This slot for Cuthbert is based solely on potential, but I think he has a chance to be very special. As most young players need to do, his plate discipline needs work, but he’s an advanced hitter and will hopefully continue to improve and work his way into the top five on this list next season.
ETA: September 2013
13. David Lough, OF: Lough was one of the few Royals top prospects who had some struggles in 2010 after a very good 2009. Lough, like Giavotella is DeJesus-esque and should be a solid big league regular. His early struggles can be attributed to a lack of patience early in the year, but he turned it on late and was scorching hot as the season came to a close.
ETA: whenever DDJ gets traded
14. Everett Teaford, LHP: If you had told me a year ago that I’d rate Teaford in my top 15 I’d have laughed in your face. And yeah, it would have been rude, but it would have been deserved. He’s one of the fastest risers in the system after adding some velocity to his fastball. 117 strikeouts in 103.2 innings will get some attention. At 27 years old heading into 2011, he’s ready to sink or swim in the show.
ETA: April 2011
15. Louis Coleman, RHP: Coleman had a dominant 2010, posting a cumulative ERA of 2.15 and the secondary stats to back it up. He doesn’t give up hits, doesn’t give up homers and gets a lot of strikeouts. That’s a recipe for success out of the bullpen. Coleman was drafted with the purpose of fast tracking him and he’ll be in the majors very, very soon. I think he’ll be a great setup man for Soria.
ETA: April 2011
Just missed the cut: Jason Adam, Tim Collins, Jarrod Dyson, Tim Melville, Salvador Perez, Clint Robinson, Will Smith

Wow. The Royals system is absolutely stacked, but you knew that. This little exercise just showed me exactly how much talent this system has. Many of the guys on the “just missed the cut” list would have been top ten prospects in previous seasons. We’re on the precipice of getting to see this talent emerge. Let’s enjoy the ride.

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