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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (18) | 2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [86-76] AL Central
AAA: [70-74] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [59-81] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [63-77] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [68-70] South Atlantic League – Lexington

Graduated Prospect
David Lough (OF)

The Run Down
For fantasy purposes, this Royals farm needs to be considered among the more exciting groups in the game.  There’s big time appeal for the fantasy game from numbers one through eight on this list, and that talent is spread out across the developmental stages, with high-impact prospects at almost every level of the org.  That distribution will make for a steady flow of mixed league-relevant arrivals over the next handful of years, and that includes this year, as front-end arms, Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer, prepare to surface in the bigs.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Yordano Ventura, RHP:  Grey already went over his Yordano Ventura fantasy, projecting the flame-throwing 22-year-old at 7-7/3.92/1.35/90 over 100 IP in the upcoming season.  Ventura is a Carlos Martinez-like hurler whose filthy stuff will bring fantasy value in any role, but of course, that value will be most significant as a SP. The Jason Vargas acquisition seems to leave Ventura out of the rotation to begin the season, but he’ll be the first man in as soon as there’s a need.  For more on Yordano, check out the Scouting the Unknown post I put together during the 2013 season.  ETA:  2014

2.  Kyle Zimmer, RHP:  After some inconsistent performances at High-A Wilmington to begin the 2013 season, Zimmer settled down in June and strung together a month’s worth of solid outings before being promoted to Double-A in mid-July.  The 22-year-old was quite sharp through four starts at Northwest Arkansas after promotion, posting a 1.93 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP, and a K/9 at 13.0.  KC opted to shut him down when some shoulder stiffness popped up in August — a precautionary measure intended to protect their 2012 1st round investment.  With one of the best fastball/curve combos in the minors, Zimmer figures to return to Double-A in the spring, on track for big league arrival late this summer.  ETA:  Late 2014

3.  Raul Mondesi, SS:  Ranking Mondesi #47 on my mid-season top-50 was probably a bit aggressive, and after having the opportunity to absorb further intel on the 18-year-old, I think it’s safe to say I’d leave him off a revised version of that list — not by much, mind you, but for now, at least, Mondesi’s fantasy impact doesn’t figure to be top-50 worthy.  In this way, he’s a little like Cleveland Indians prospect, Fancisco Lindor — a wizard at short with otherworldly instincts, and a monster prospect for real life purposes, but there are questions about just how much impact the bat will have at the big league level.  To be fair, Mondesi probably brings a tick more potential at the plate than Lindor.  There’s actually a glimmer of 20/20 upside here, so if the power begins to reveal itself, look for his fantasy hype to catch up with his real life hype.  ETA:  2016

4.  Sean Manaea, LHP:  Manaea was the 34th overall pick last June and quite possibly the steal of the 1st round.  He’s yet to pitch in pro-ball, so I’ll reiterate the notes from my pre-draft writeup:  “Standing 6-5, 235, Manaea is a big boy.  Given that sort of frame, you might expect the fastball to be quite good.  You’d be right.  Manaea has chewed up collegiate hitters with a mid-90s fastball that features devastating late action when it’s on.  He changes speeds with a slider that has plus potential, and a fringy changeup.  Naturally, both off-speed offerings play much better when he’s spotting the fastball.  It should be noted, though, that 2013 reports on Manaea are not quite so glowing as they were in the preseason.  This likely has more to do with injury than anything else, but his velocity has been down and his draft stock has sunk with it.  The once sure-thing top 5 pick is looking more like a tail-end first rounder, and there’s a strong possibility that he’ll pull an Appel and return to Indiana State for his senior season in order to improve his draft stock/potential signing bonus.  Let’s hope that’s not the case, because Manaea has a skillset that could be helping fantasy baseball teams at some point next season.”  ETA:  2015

5.  Bubba Starling, OF:  The toolshed that is Bubba Starling is still yet to translate his considerable talents into measurable success on the stat sheet.  In his first year of full-season ball, he hit .241/.329/.398 with 13 HR and 22 SB at Low-A Lexington.  That’s not the sort of production Royals fans were hoping for from the 2011 5th overall pick in his age 20 season, but Starling was always viewed as a raw, long-term project, so it’d be silly to write him off just yet.  His fantasy upside is by far the best of any hitter in this org, and he’ll look to make a breakout statement at High-A in 2014.  ETA:  2016

6.  Jorge Bonifacio, OF:  Bonifacio hit .296/.368/.408 in 54 games at High-A Wilmington and earned a mid-season promotion to Double-A before a broken hamate bone ended his season.  An advanced approach and plenty of raw power have the 20-year-old looking like a high-impact fantasy outfielder, but the in-game power is yet to take form (10 HR in 2012 is is career high).  Because of his ability to find his pitch and make consistent hard contact, I’m confident the power will come, and I’m excited to see him return to the upper levels this spring.  ETA:  2015

7.  Miguel Almonte, RHP:  A superb fastball/changeup combo allowed Almonte to post an impressive line at Low-A Lexington:  3.10 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 in 130 IP.  The only knock on the 20-year-old is that he doesn’t yet feature a breaking pitch that projects as a useful offering in the bigs, but there’s still plenty of time for development of that third pitch.  Don’t let the ranking here fool you — Almonte is one of the more impressive arms you’ll find in the bottom halves of these top 10’s.  He’ll step up to High-A in 2014.  ETA:  2016

8.  Elier Hernandez, OF:  Hernandez is yet to debut at the full-season level, so it’s unwise to make too much out of his rookie level statistics.  We’re left, then, to go by the scouting intel, and reports across the industry on the 19-year-old Dominican are quite exciting.  Outstanding bat speed and great hand-eye skills should translate into plenty of power as his frame fills out.  There’s also ample speed in this equation, so the fantasy appeal is clear.  Hernandez will be an intriguing prospect to track as he reaches the full-season level in 2014.  ETA:  2017

9.  Hunter Dozier, SS:  The 8th overall pick last June, Dozier is a polished college product who should push through the minors quickly.  He brings plus power potential to a middle infield position, but there are concerns about his ability to stick at short, and if he should move to 3B, his fantasy stock will suffer.  The 22-year-old will make his full-season debut in 2014.  ETA:  2016

10.  Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B:  Cuthbert has made a pattern of struggling after promotion to new levels.  That was the case in 2012 at High-A, but a return to Wilmington in 2013 revealed much better results.  KC is hopeful that trend will continue when Cuthbert makes a return trip to Double-A this year.  In 64 games at Northwest Arkansas last season, the 21-year-old managed only a .215 AVG and zero homers.  There’s still potential here for an above average offensive 3B, but he’ll need to prove he can hit upper levels pitching if he’s to remain on this list next year.  ETA:  2015

From Around The Web

  1. Count de Monetball says:
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    I’ve been hitting refresh for the last half hour for this report Scott, ever since Grey noted that you are doing one today!!!! Thanks, now I will read it …..

    • @Count de Monetball: Haha, thanks for the love — these will run at 12p central on Wednesdays & early AM on Saturdays for the rest of the preseason… Baltimore is next.

  2. TheNewGuy says:
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    Been hitting refresh most of the day here (England)! Now at least I know what time you post.

    Reason being my man, I’ve got a decision to make! Selling off Rios in my keeper to improve my farm because I’m already fully stocked with keepers and because well I don’t think he’s that good. Two viable options for him:

    1) A first round pick in our upcoming minor league draft (8th overall)
    or
    2) A second round pick in the minor league draft (18th) and either C-Mart or Zunino (also likely giving up my round 4 pick- 37th)

    Grey (dont normally ask him prospect Qs!) liked option 2, im kinda leaning that way too as I don’t think a Bryant/Appel would fall to me at 8th pick. Now I presume you like C-Mart more than Zunino, I like his electric arm, if so the question becomes when if so do you think he’ll start…yet another Cards question how ironic (I think)!. Think my best option would be to keep him down another year and hopefully unleash him as a SP in 15?

    • @TheNewGuy: I like option 2… C-Mart might be starting games this season for STL if Garcia doesn’t come back healthy or if J Kelly isn’t sharp… if he’s in the rotation, I’d activate him this year… if he’s in the ‘pen, I’d wait ’til 2015.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans: Sounds pretty damn logical to me! Thats another Cards prospect (C-Mart) I’ll have along with Adams (ok I lost Rosie). Still can’t be a bad idea to load up on prospects from baseballs best franchise can it, bet you try and do the same! lol

        Will give me a 2nd round pick too which I didn’t have before, and ill need it. Pondering over who I’ll get with my 1st round (4th overall) pick though….think ML ready Abreu and Tanaka will go 1 and 2, then it could come down to Bryant/Appel for me. Think I have to take one of them two given the chance? Or might Frazier etc come into play…

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Scott Evans: Here’s hoping! Have a sickening feeling he’ll get taken 3rd right before me, but if so I’ll still have Appel to fall back on.

            • @TheNewGuy: Yeah, probably can’t go wrong if you get any of those top 4.

  3. anoraxx says:
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    Hi Scott, in my 12 team H2H mixed keeper league my team from the last season consist of

    Jonathan Lucroy, Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kipnis, Nolan Arenado, Jose Reyes, Desmond Jennings, Matt Kemp, Jay Bruce, Anthony Rizzo

    Gio Gonzalez, Jered Weaver, Julio Teherán, Mike Minor, Tanner Roark, Alex Wood, Patrick Corbin, Yordano Ventura, Ervin Santana, Jorge De La Rosa, Jonathan Papelbon, Greg Holland, Huston Street, Steve Cishek

    I can keep 12 players, now the question on you is, would you keep Ventura?

    • @anoraxx: He’s close, but I think he’d fall short of my top 12 here… salary/draft pick considerations could put him into the mix… who are your borderline keeps that you’re thinking about swapping for Yordano?

      • anoraxx says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        It’s not a salary league so theres no limitations. I consider keeping Goldschmidt, Kipnis, Arenado, Reyes, Kemp, Bruce, Rizzo, Gio, Minor, Teheran, Holland which counts for eleven. The last spot will go for either Jennings who I lost hope for, or Corbin, or Ventura.
        But if I choose to leave Ventura out he will fall into prospect draft and will be drafted around eight place in that draft in which I will preferably draft a hitter.
        Another option is to trade Ventura for something.

        • @anoraxx: It’s always a good idea to see what sort of market there is for a guy like Ventura via trade… I’d explore that option first… if nothing seems appealing, I’d keep him over Corbin & Jennings… some might call me crazy, but I think you’ve got enough established production & I like chasing Yordano’s upside…

  4. Steve d says:
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    Hey Scott. I have one keeper spot and three bums. Lol. Who gets the spot. Mason Williams. Josh bell or Slade Heathcott? Thanks

    • @Steve d: I think I’d go with Bell here… Williams would be my second choice, but I think Bell’s your guy.

  5. ithrowplastic says:
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    trying to login to your forums….completed the registration, but the activation email never shows up…checked spam folders, not there. Tried re-sending the activation still nothing. What’s the deal?? Says to contact an admin….how the hell do you do that without logging in??? ahhahahahahhhhh

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I activated you

  6. ithrowplastic says:
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    Anyway…..10 team h2h points league. I can keep 6 of these. Who do you guys like?
    Goldschmidt
    Trout
    Scherzer
    Darvish
    Pedroia
    Tulowitzki
    Holliday
    Puig
    Wainwright

  7. Anthony says:
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    Hey brother quick question, 12 team long term keeper league, 16 keep auction. H2h most categories as well..whatcha think?!

    My Jose Fernandez ($1) and Arcia ($1) for his Darvish ($22) and Greinke ($22).

    My pitching is pretty bad as all I have after Fernandez is gray and Samardzija..and my hitting is stacked, but I can’t afford to lose a deal..

    Thanks man really appreciate it!

    • @Anthony: Hate to part ways with Jo-Fer, but based on your needs, I think you gotta pull the trigger…

  8. John says:
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    Scott, this could be one of the best prospect rankings articles I have seen. (I’ve seen three. jk)

    You’re right on. Even your backtracking on Mondesi with the Linder comp. Completely accurate.

    I like the love for Bonifacio. 2012 he was the Kane County cougars best player in my opinion. However I agree that he is going to be a slow mover. I recall the all star game in 2012 at Kane county and while we loved the kid you could just tell that the Miguel Sano and Snydergaard were way more advanced.

    • @John: Thanks, John. I, too, got to see plenty of Bonifacio at Kane County in ’12 & I must agree that he was the most exciting player on that squad. Such a sweet stroke & a smart, patient approach as a teenager… wanted to put him above Starling, but Bubba’s ceiling puts him over the top…

  9. goodfold2 says:
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    with casey fien and b.maurer (whom i’ll be able to trade along with b.chen if/when chen gets signed for gallo, nice, or drop both likely since Maurer and Chen don’t seem to warrant starting roster space, even in 30 man league, unless Chen is/was starting) being forced up my minor players now consist of
    hitters: jimenez CI LAA/gumbs MI NYY/ lee MI TB/c.phelps CI BAL (this sack seems droppable)/robertson MI OAK (hopefully actually does move to corner)/ rosario MI MIN (lost damn OF eligibility recently)/salcedo MI ATL/ wates OF HOU/jagielo CI NYY
    pitchers: heredia PIT/cabrera ATL/ hale ATL/ alvarez LAA/ ynoa OAK
    . My 4th round pick is coming up in about 25 picks, and have one more pick 16 picks after that. Should I be targeting more pitchers with these last 2, or 1 pitcher and 1 OF. Going by both your rankings from this year and last (when this year’s for a team haven’t come out yet) these guys are highest ranked (not including MI or C): beck P WSOX/Y.rodriquez OF CIN/ plawecki 1b/c NYM/ deslafani P MIA/ sappington P LAA/ cooney LP STL/ j.martinez P ARI/toles OF TB/lorenzen P/OF CIN/berry P BAL/moya OF DET/olsen 1B OAK/ contreras P CIN/tirado P TOR/altherr OF PHI/alcantara P OAK/urena P MIA/blach P SF/krook P MIA. with all of those listed i’m all the way through your number 7’s and 42nd overall from BA’s draft rankings from 2013. Most of the guys after 42nd are still around as are around 10 of your number 8’s. Do any of those names stand out? thanks as i’m getting quite deep now.

    • @goodfold2: I’d go after Tirado first… also target Toles — tons of speed & hit tool can play at the highest level… both could be sneaky good gets this late…

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: tirado from toronto. it’s good when the name/team rhyme’s, maybe…. 17 picks till me and both of those guys still there. nice.

  10. George says:
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    Hey Scott – hope your new year is going well. Can you rank each of these players in anticipation of this years draft?

    I am trying to get a gauge of who the top 10 would be. Grey asked if you could do a ranking on the following prospects along with Tanaka and Abreu. Thanks man….

    Correa, Buxton, Archie Bradley, Baez, Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Abreu, Tanaka, Kris Bryant, Jonathan Grey, Appel, Almora, Robert Stephenson, Addison Russell for a keeper league.

  11. Dan says:
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    Which of these guys has the highest fantasy upside?

    Aaron Altherr
    Jake Lamb
    Jesse Hahn
    Ty Hensly

    Why?

    • @Dan: Altherr brings best upside thanks to high impact tools … still, doesn’t mean he’ll pan out…

  12. goodfold2 says:
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    if that guy still wanted to see next round, 3 here it is. I did not have a pick in this round from trading for a few prospects a month ago.
    1. denney C BOS
    2. h.green P LAA
    3.sisco C BAL
    4.petrick P STL
    5.mercado MI STL
    6.blair P ARI
    7.eades P MIN
    8.j.jones MI/OF PIT
    9.demeritte CI TEX
    10.sandberg OF PHI
    11.ziomek P DET
    12. tellez MI TOR
    13. d.williams P MIL
    14.thurman P HOU
    15.a.mitchell P WSOX
    16.t.williams P MIA
    17.c.salazar P ATL
    18.ragira OF SF
    19.meija C CLE (very surprised this catcher was taken after like the last 7 catchers, or more)
    20.nelson P MIL (surprised with how thin some starting rosters are in this league, a guy who’s already a starter fell this low, scott has him as MIL’s #1 prospect)
    21.balog P COL
    22.barreto SS TOR
    23.j.hart OF BAL
    24.j.dominguez P LAD (likely closer)
    25.cooney P STL
    26.gindl OF MIL
    27.stassi C HOU
    28.alcantara P OAK
    29.b.taylor P PIT
    30. r.brett MI TB
    supplementals given away for teams that had restricted players bid out from under them and they didn’t match. which round as a function of how much money the winning bid was for
    31.c.anderson P CLE
    32.lorenzen P/OF CIN

  13. goodfold2 says:
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    now that 5 or so international unknowns (to me anyway) have been picked, i probably should ask if any of these international guys match up as high as tirado and toles: leo molina OF NYY, diplan P TEX, lewin diaz 1b/OF MIN, erling moreno P CUBS. Also if these don’t what about any of these (non-internationals) immanuel LP HOU/ t.o’neill OF SEA/paroubeck OF SD/ king OF NYM/skulina P CUBS/ zastryzny LP CUBS/ stankiewicz P BOS/m. o’neill OF NYY/sheffield P BOS/ church P NYM. These last set weren’t ranked by you yet since they are 2013’s draft picks currently ranked between 50-90 by BA and on teams not yet ranked by you. I only put in the OF and P leaving out MI (I have too many) C (I have D’Arnaud), CI (just drafted Jagielo). Currently trying to grab Tirado and Toles (on your advice) in both 12 picks and then another 23 after that. Just checking if any of these are better or at least close if 1 or 2 of them disappear first.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: got it. some dude just dumped deGrom P NYM/lipka MI ATL/McGuire P TOR/wheeler OF COL for 2 picks just ahead of me in round 4. Really hope he’s not on my wavelength, as he obv seems to like somebody in next 5 picks.

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