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Kansas City Royals 2010 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings via Baseball America (2010)
2010 (17) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24) | 2007 (11) | 2006 (23) | 2005 (28) | 2004 (19)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [67 – 95] AL Central
AAA: [81 – 63] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [86 – 54] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [68 – 70] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [64 – 75] Midwest League – Burlington
R: [27 – 49] Pioneer League – Idaho Falls
R: [34 – 34] Appalachian League – Burlington

The Run Down
The volatility of minor league system ranking, especially Baseball America, is exemplified with the Kansas City Royals. Baseball America pegged them eleventh overall entering the 2009 season, several top prospects struggled in notably tough environments and the Royals received the shaft entering 2010. Oh, how the prospect mavens tune changed to laud the collection of talent Dayton Moore has gathered. Seems like I’ve heard that before.  This didn’t stop the Royals from adding to their minor leagues talent pool by trading Zack Greinke. I’m not here to grade the merits of the trade, you can find that elsewhere. Everyone should know who Lorenzo Cain is, and many know that Jeremy Jeffress has a blazing fastball and little command. Jake Odorizzi is the unknown as he just completed a full season of Low-A ball and fails to make this article due to the depth of the Royals system, but looks like a number two starter at best, but more a number three starter. The Royals farm system also saw Mike Moustakas bounce back, taking the “Future” third baseman for the Royals title from Alex Gordon, if defensively he’s allowed to stay. Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, the return of Danny Duffy, the surprise of John Lamb, and the continued performance of William Myers should elicit much needed enthusiasm in the town of Kansas City. Remember, 2011 isn’t the year the Royals are planning on graduating the majority of their farm system – that’s 2012.

Graduating Prospects
#15 (1B) Kila Ka’aihue

Arizona Fall League Players – Surprise Rafters
Pitchers – Danny Duffy (LHP), Patrick Keating (RHP), Mike Montgomery (LHP),
Hitters – Salvador Perez (C), Johnny Giavotella (2B), Eric Hosmer (1B), Derrick Robinson (OF)

Players of Interest for 2010
Hitters
#4 Mike Moustakas | 3B | D.o.B: 9-11-88 | Stats (AA/AAA): .322/.369/.630 | 484 AB | 77 XBH | 36 Hr | .308 ISO | 2/1 SB/CS | 67:34 K:BB | .342 BABIP (AA); .271 BABIP (AAA)
Moustakas had a monster year hitting .347/.413/.687 at Double-A in 259 at-bats and receiving a midseason promotion to Triple-A where he hit .293/.314/.564 in 225 at-bats. Although he struggles taking many walks due to an aggressive hitting philosophy, Mike “The Moose” Moustakas has all the tools to become a fantasy stud, ahem, a great baseball player but without stellar defense. To quote my 2009 Review, “[re: Sophomore Slump] John Sickels did pointed out that his Home/Road splits were the main culprit to his stats (Home: .208/.269/.381 Road: .292/.331/.473) … Another concern a few scouts have risen is his body is transforming into Mr. Moobs (Billy Butler). From a fantasy perspective, he’ll have to hit well next year to stay on the fast track to the majors. This doesn’t necessarily mean 30 homers with a .350/.425/.550 slash line. However, we will want to see an improvement upon his nearly 3:1 K:BB ratio … I am still on his bandwagon, but I am teetering on the edge of the his drivers seat or bailing out.” I guess I was as fickle as Baseball America, but his turnaround sure happened. ETA: June 2011 at the latest. This will be another Evan Longoria type wait. See Scouting the Unknown article for more details.

#5 Eric Hosmer | 1B | D.o.B: 10-24-89 | Stasts (A+/AA): .338/.406/.571 | 520 AB | 72 XBH | 20 Hr | .233 ISO | 14/2 SB/CS | 66:59 K:BB | .382 BABIP (A+); .310 BABIP (AA)
Hosmer actually has more home run potential than Moustakas, however, at a position where it’s more expected than an added benefit. His swing is considered “pure enough that it should produce good average.” He also plays average defense. Supposedly he was having eye issues, and received Lasik. His stat lines show that it helped. In split-time between High-A and Double-A Hosmer showed great power (.233 ISO), although was aided greatly by a high BABIP at High-A (.382) where he played 60 percent of the season (325 AB). Nevertheless, don’t expect Moore to be calling Hosmer up early. Dayton Moore has been quoted of saying that Hosmer will receive a full season at Triple-A for some “seasoning.” Yeah, the same way all other prospects need to be held back until June to save Super-2 status. A good move for the team to stay competitive in the long(er) run.

#16 Johnny Giavotella | 2B | D.o.B: 7-10-87 | Stats (AA): .322/.395/.460 | 522 AB | 49 XBH | 9 Hr | .138 ISO | 13/7 SB/CS | 67:61 K:BB | .354 BABIP
I compared him to Luis Castillo last year, but I was giving too much credit to Giavotella’s defense. His defense is fringe-average at best and his steals are due to him being aggressive when on base. He has a good eye, generally has good at-bats, but does nothing spectacular. A good reserve or possible short-term help if hot.

#10 David Lough | LF | D.o.B: 1-20-86 | Stats (AAA): .280/.346/.437 | 460 AB | 38 XBH | 11 Hr | .157 ISO | 14/5 SB/CS | 72:40 K:BB| .307 BABIP
Above-average speed is best asset as displayed by 12 triples, but his speed isn’t translated to the base paths as he doesn’t get good jumps. Beyond his speed, most of his skills are major league average. Defensively, he can play center field with great results but has often been superseded by superior defenders. Although he struggles against lefties, Lough shows gap power, or doubles power. Seems like a Denard Span-type player to me. May make his appearance in the majors this year as he doesn’t have much left to prove.

#22 Derrick Robinson | CF | D.o.B: 9-28-97 | Stats (AA): .286/.345/.380 | 511 AB | 38 XBH | 2 Hr | .094 ISO | 50/17 SB/CS | 86:45 K:BB | .336 BABIP
He made a stance adjustment at the end of the 2009 season that he gives credit to for his newfound success. Doesn’t have much power, doesn’t walk enough to be a top of the order threat, but his speed makes him a “well above-average center fielder.” Arm is fringe-average. Looks like a Juan Pierre-type prospect.

Pitchers
#1 Mike Montgomery | LHP | D.o.B: 7-1-89 | Stats (A+/AA): 8.5 K/9 | 3.0 BB/9 | 93 IP | 2.61 ERA | 1.01 FIP (A+); 3.97 FIP (AA) | 1.15 WHIP | .4 Hr/9 | 7.4 H/9 | .277 BABIP (A+); .302 BABIP (AA)
According to Baseball America, “[Montgomery is] close to a complete package.” Fastball is a plus pitch that sits between 90 to 92 mph and tops out at 95 mph. Lanky frame could add strength and fastball velocity. Throws a curveball that grades as above-average and change-up flashes plus potential. Mechanically sound. Wasn’t overly lucky at Double-A (.302 BABIP) where the majority of his pitching happened (59 2/3 IP). If he continues his success, Montgomery may have a mid-season call-up. See Scouting the Unknown article for more details.

#19 (TOR) Tim Collins | LHP | D.o.B: 8-21-89 | Stats (AA/AAA): 13.6 K/9 | 3.4 BB/9 | 71 1/3 IP | 2.02 ERA | 2.13 FIP (AA); 2.31 FIP (AAA) | .94 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 5.0 H/9 | .323 BABIP (AA); .199 BABIP (AAA)
This is for all you middle-reliever believers. He benefited tremendously from BABIP but this 5 foot 7 inch reliever throws a nasty hook (12-to-6 curve) and a 93 MPH fastball. Could help out in the bullpen during the 2011 season.

Honorable Mention
Hitters
#3 William Myers | C | D.o.B: 12-10-90 | Stats (A/A+): .315/.429/.506 | 447 AB | 54 XBH | 14 Hr | .191 ISO | 12/2 SB/CS | 94:85 K:BB | .335 BABIP (A); .411 BABIP (A+)
Excellent raw power and a smooth swing that should allow him to hit for average and power. Scouts compare him to Jayson Werth, a pseudo-catcher in the minors but possessing a body that dictates a position switch. Seems to be the new Jesus Montero. The steals are deceptive as he stole 10 bases at Single-A but isn’t overly fast. His slash line is evenly split between the two levels this year. Don’t expect to see Myers in the majors until 2012.

Clint Robinson | 1B | D.o.B: 2-16-86 | Stats (AA): .335/.410/.625 | 477 AB | 75 XBH | 29 Hr | .290 ISO | 4/3 SB/CS | 86:58 K:BB | .357 BABIP
Robinson is blocked by two players named Hosmer and Moustakas, not to mention Kila Ka’aihue. His power is intriguing but I don’t expect to see the numbers again. His season high in home runs before this year was 17 at Low-A when he was 23. If Robinson hits well to start the year next year and the Royals need a hitter, they may give Robinson a chance to save some time on the arbitration clocks of other prospects.

Pitchers
#7 John Lamb | LHP | D.o.B: 7-10-90 | Stats (A/A+/AA): 9.7 K/9 | 2.7 BB/9 | 147 2/3 IP | 2.38 ERA | 1.13 WHIP | .3 Hr/9 | 7.4 H/9
The success of John Lamb is one of the reasons why the Royals are considered to have a stud farm system (along with the other stud names previously mentioned). He throws a 88 to 91 MPH fastball that can tough 94 MPH with a deceptive delivery, a curveball and a changeup. Scouts praise his veteran like demeanor. Here is a break down of his BABIP and FIP this year: BABIP (.256 at Low-A; .321 at High-A+; .343 at Double-A); FIP (3.20 at Low-A; 1.69 at High-A+; 3.87 at Double-A). As you can see, he pitched well all year. 2012 should be this ETA.

#2 Aaron Crow | RHP | D.o.B: 11-11-86 | Stats (A+/AA): 7.9 K/9 | 3.6 BB/9 | 163 1/3 IP | 5.73 ERA | 3.04 FIP (A+); 4.74 FIP (AA) | 1.51 WHIP | 1.0 Hr/9 | 10 H/9 | .388 BABIP (A+); .322 BABIP (AA)
Crow struggled, at least statistically, during his first year in professional baseball. He strikeout rates left a lot to be desired and was far too hittable (10.0 H/9). His FIPs indicate that he pitched better than his ERA would initially state, but statistically, Crow was a disappointment. He throws a 91 to 94 MPH fastball with good movement that induces a fair amount of groundballs – potentially with a better defense, his number will look better. Crow also throws a slider with above-average potential and fringe-average changeup. I would expect him to see the majors in 2012 – just like the majority of the Royals top prospects.

#8 Danny Duffy | LHP | D.o.B: 12-21-88 | Stats (R/A+/AA): 10.0 K/9 | 2.5 BB/9 | 62 1/3 IP | 2.74 ERA | 4.20 FIP (A+); 2.80 FIP (AA) | 1.11 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 7.5 H/9 | .218 BABIP (A+); .331 BABIP (AA)
Duffy nearly quit baseball – he left the team for about a month in March and April. Upon his return, Duffy continued to throw his 88 to 92 MPH fastball with good downward movement, a changeup that he uses deceptively and his slow-arching curveball as an out-pitch with success. The majority of his innings happened between High-A and Double-A (14 IP and 39 IP respectively). He projects to be a number three pitcher. Duffy has a lot of potential, but is probably the further from any of the pitchers mentioned so far. A mid-season call up in 2012 would see to be appropriate, but a 2011 September call up could happen to test him – like all these prospects could use to see if 2012 will be as big as people believe.

#9 Christopher Dwyer | LHP | D.o.B: 4-10-86 | Stats (A+/AA): 10.0 K/9 | 3.8 BB/9 | 102 IP | 3.00 ERA | 2.70 FIP (A+); 4.11 FIP (AA) | 1.30 WHIP | .4 Hr/ 9 | 7.9 H/9 | .347 BABIP (A+); .232 BABIP (AA)
Yet another lefty pitching prospect. Dwyer throws his fastball between 90 to 94 MPH and has a power curveball. Baseball America calls his changeup an “advanced pitched … [and] above-average.” With just 17 1/3 innings thrown at Double-A, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dwyer held in the minors all year, or at best a September call up. May end up as a reliever if he cannot develop a third pitch.

11 Responses

  1. Terrence Mann says:
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    No mention of Arguellas? He got big money last year.

  2. emc squared says:
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    Do you think Kila Ka’aihue is worth a roster spot in my very deep keeper league? I’m looking for some cheap power. I guess I’m asking whether he’ll actually get playing time in the beginning of the year.

  3. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Terrence Mann: See LINK for some sad news. I didn’t see his stats on Baseball Reference. He’s still a couple of years away, especially if he can’t stay health.

    @emc squared: By deep, I am assuming you mean more than 14 teams. I would say that Ka’aihue is worth a slot, but you’re playing with fire if you expect high production.

  4. Kid 'n Play says:
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    @ Stephen: Who do you think will pan out better in the next few years: Domonic Brown or Desmond Jennings? Does their eta affect your ranking?

  5. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Kid ‘n Play: I would prefer Domonic Brown. There ETA shouldn’t affect the rankings since I have Brown over Jennings. I think Jennings has some great upside, but his injury history and more reliance on speed make me garner greater value to Brown.

  6. Eddy says:
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    Being new to a keeper league this upcoming season, I’m still not quite sure which yet-to-hit-the-majors prospects I should draft and which I should pick up in June. Any tips Stephen?

    P.S: Derrck Robinson’s birthyear is at ’97. It’d be pretty basses if he was 13, but something tells me that’s not the case.

  7. Eddy says:
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    @Eddy:

    Badass*

    Dumb iPhone.

  8. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Eddy: Depending on how deep the league is, the higher in the minors that a pitching prospect is, the more value he should have. Hitters numbers in the California League are typically inflated. Double-A is the first big test for all prospects. Trade the hype of prospects for previously hyped prospects that didn’t struggle due to injury. For example, buying low on Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas before the 2010 season would have garnered you a handsome ransom. Maybe, I should start working on a brief series to about Keeper Leagues and Prospects. I know this isn’t super in-depth, I’m at work and need to return. I’ll give more later.

    re: Badass: I read “basses” as “biases” but “Badass” would be better. Yeah, Derrek Robinson was born in ’87.

  9. Eddy says:
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    I think creating a brief series (or even just one in-depth post) would be magnificent. Perhaps something such as Grey’s PEDS or Rudy’s BRAN strategy that talks about how far to reach for prospects, best positions to fill with prospects, etc., in keeper leagues or something of the sort?

    And thanks for the info. I’m in a 12 team H2H league where we keep 4 from year to year. I remember I had asked a few months ago whether it was too early to draft Bryce Harper and we concluded that it was. It’s just general advice such as that that I seek. I’d hate to waste a draft pick on a prospect for no reason, but I would hate it even more to not pick someone up and have them exceed on someone else’s team at last round value.

  10. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Eddy: In fantasy baseball I think it is easier to find a pitcher than it is to find a hitter. That is my main bias. Granted, it’s easier to drop a slumping rookie hitter, barring the fact about attachment issues – generally acquired from drafting said player too high – than it is to absorb getting roofie’d.

    Another tangent, for every hyped prospect, there is another name behind them that will eventually receive some of the replaced hype. I think the perfect example would be Matt Wieter. During his rookie season, he was the bees-knees. Than he struggled. During this past year, Brian Matusz took over as the hyped prospect.

    For every Chris Davis and Andrew Miller there are a Travis Wood and Brennan Boesch. For every Wade Davis there is another a Jeremy Hellickson – that is to say that for every hyped prospect there is another hyped prospect following him. There are seasons of surprise rookies – Ryan Howard, Mike Leake, Chris Coghlan, Travis Wood, Denard Span, Ryan Braun. Then there are the rookies everyone expects to play well – Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz and Starlin Castro – that either meet expectations, exceed expectations or great fail to live to expectations.

    With all that said, it is always safer to pick prospects closer to the majors than it is to speculate on the high-ceiling prospects that could bust in the low minors or flame out near the majors. Currently people could place Alex Gordon, Josh Fields, Joba Chamberlain (considering many expected him to be a dominate starter), Luke Hoveachar in this list. Other that haven’t made many strides towards the majors with high-ceilings could be Aaron Hicks (MN), Reese Havens (NYM due to injuries), Iona (OAK – LHP) among others. The most often culprit to not making it is injuries. For every Clayton Kershaw that is young and projectable there are Andrew Millers who were the same but rushed and never panned out.

    The tricky part to project is when to know the player/prospect has a high probability of making the majors and the talent to back it up (or the opportunity). I’ve learned a lot this past year while doing the Minor League Reviews for the second time. Low-A and High-A aren’t always indicative of the players success at Double-A. If a young player has success at Double-A, that is the time to drive the bandwagon. Low-A is the time to look at the bandwagon and High-A are the times to ride the Bandwagon. Pitchers can be pushed faster than hitters, typically. So look for pitchers to go from A, to A+ to AA in one year, but don’t factor in the time at AA unless they spend a significant portion of time there, otherwise you have to consider fatigue and number of innings comparable to the success.

    Enough ranting. Hope that was enjoyable.

  11. Eddy says:
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    @Stephen:

    Thanks for the insight Stephen, I really appreciate it.

    One last question: Are you planning on releasing an updated list of the top 50 prospects?

    If anything, THAT’S what helps me out in determining who I should target, and then go from there and figure out how far away they are from breaking into the majors.

Comments are closed.