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Wil Myers to the OF and the Top 50 Prospects

First order of business is that over the weekend, it was unearthed that Wil Myers would officially be moving to the outfield. Those surprised by this move are probably first time readers of the blog, so welcome. I don’t believe that anything has been officially announced, but we know that he’s been taking flyballs for awhile, and the Royals seem to believe that now is the time he’s ready to make the adjustment. My guess is that he’ll start out in high A for at least a month or so to leave him at a level where he’s experienced some success and that he’s comfortable while he’s making the adjustment. His bat is ready for AA, but it’s hard to start at that level at a new position. There is a chance that he’s taken to it like a fish to water and just happens to be a natural outfielder. He is athletic enough for that to be a possibility.

The good news with this is that it probably gets him to the Majors a lot faster than had he stayed behind the dish. I mentioned how ready his bat is, but his glove as a catcher was that far away from Major League ready. I think there’s probably a chance that he would develop into at least an average catcher, but for a number of reasons this move makes sense. Aside from getting to the Majors quicker, this will allow him to play 150+ games instead of about 120 games. Most catchers aside from the apparently bionic Jason Kendall (who is said to be way ahead of schedule…I know…not good.) are not able to play daily behind the plate. If the bat is good enough, they can play first or DH on days they’re not catching, but the Royals lineup in the future will hopefully be too good to take out any of Butler/Hosmer/Ka’aihue/Robinson. The other thing is that while Myers was a below average catcher, he has the athleticism to become above average defensively in the outfield. I’m obviously not ready to declare him a gold glove winner in right field, but he has a chance to be excellent out there. He’s got some pretty good speed, good baseball instincts and a good arm.

As a bit of a segue, I’ve noticed that people tend to wonder what this will do to his prospect status. Obviously a catcher is much more important on the defensive spectrum than right field. I don’t think it does anything, though, because I’m not sure that anybody ever thought of Myers as a catcher in spite of him playing there throughout the last two years. I think the move to the outfield was something that most believed would happen, so in their rankings they pretty much accounted for that. As far as Royals prospects go, the only way I see this making an impact on rankings is if someone had Myers ahead of Hosmer, but now have flipped them. Either way, he’s a top three prospect in the Royals organization and probably top 20 in all of baseball. If anything, because his bat will now be able to be in the lineup more often, he’s potentially a better prospect.

Speaking prospects, MLB Network and Jonathan Mayo released their Top 50 prospects last night, and the Royals were well represented, of course. They had six of the top 50 and four of the top 20. The only real surprise to me was Jake Odorizzi. He was listed at number 37, ahead of guys like Dwyer and Duffy and only three spots behind John Lamb. From what I’ve noticed, most people rank Odorizzi behind the other two lefties, and obviously not nearly as close to Lamb. Of course, this is just one man’s opinions and these lists mean very little, but I thought it was interesting that he was ranked so highly. It was obviously good news for Royals fans as there’s yet another person who thinks one of the Royals pitching prospects deserves a ridiculously high ranking. My guess is that Dwyer and Duffy weren’t too far off the list, and that if they went to 100 that you would see those two plus potentially two other Royals in Christian Colon and maybe even Tim Collins.

The rest of the Royals were bunched pretty well with Myers at 16, Montgomery at 14, Hosmer at eight and Moustakas at seven. As you saw with my prospect list from a few months back, I don’t like Moustakas quite as much as Hosmer or Myers and I had Montgomery behind Myers as well, but it’s hard to argue with some tiny little differences. As the well-respected prospect reports come out, and you don’t have to keep relying on reading what I have to say, it’s going to be fun to be a Royals fan for a few weeks. They’re realistically not going to be too good in 2011, but it’s a lot of fun to hear about all these guys coming through the system and what other people think about them. The thing I love is that when the Royals are brought up, it’s almost like prospect gurus need to wipe the drool from their chin. I love this system, and I love the Royals. The love has been unrequited for some time now, but I have a feeling that with all these guys working their way through the system that I’ll be soon rewarded for my patience.

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