Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (8) | 2013 (18) | 2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [89-73] AL Central
AAA: [76-67] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [53-87] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [65-72] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [57-83] South Atlantic League – Lexington
Yordano Ventura, RHP
The Royals went all the way to the World Series in 2014, helped in part by the pitching of rookie Yordano Ventura. He averaged 96 on his fastball, second only to Garrett Richards. The 23-year-old will enter 2015 as the ace of the Royals’ staff. No pressure or anything. Brandon Finnegan, the Royals’ first round pick in 2014, contributed to the major league club as well. While he was impressive in the bullpen, it looks like the Royals will lean towards stretching him out in the minors. Other top prospects in this system will look to “bounce back” either from injury or disappointing performances. If you’re in need of a short-term prospect for this year Terrance Gore is likely to provide some stolen bases, but he’s behind Jarrod Dyson on a crowded outfield depth chart.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Raul Mondesi Jr., SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
If you scout the stat line Mondesi doesn’t look like somebody to get excited about, but considering he was just 18 years old in High-A (5th youngest at the level) we can take the poor performance with a grain of salt. There are still plenty of positive reports from scouts about Mondesi’s tools and he’s likely to stick at the shortstop position. Both his hit and power tools are graded as average or better, which would put him somewhere in the 10-15 homer range with around a .270 batting average. He also has double-plus speed, which could yield a nice chunk of steals. The negatives are his somewhat distant ETA, pitcher-friendly home park, and the limited power. Mondesi has already begun filling out and it’s just a matter of staying patient with the teenager.
2. Hunter Dozier, 3B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016
Dozier brings plus power to the hot corner, although how much of it will play is a question mark. The potential is there for 20 home runs from the former first-round draft pick, but Dozier really struggled after his promotion to Double-A. His approach might yield more extra-base hits than dingers and he may just not hit enough period. The 2014 struggle shouldn’t be a huge surprise since the move to Double-A is one of the biggest jumps in the minors. Dozier will return to the Texas League to start the 2015 season, and could be MLB ready sometime in 2016.
3. Sean Manaea, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016
Manaea has the potential to be a #3 starter in the big leagues, and his ratios should be aided by the pitching-friendly home park in KC. Like most young pitchers, there is still some work to do in the control department and there are concerns about his health with hip surgery already on the resume. Manaea features three plus offerings in his fastball, slider, and changeup and had good results in his first full season of pro ball. He’s already firmly planted in the top 100 of most prospects lists and should see his stock soar even higher with another healthy season.
4. Brandon Finnegan, LHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015
Finnegan might be my favorite prospect on this list due to his proximity and versatility. As a starter, he’s got enough upside to be a #3 or #4 in a big league rotation with a healthy number of strikeouts. As a reliever he could top out as a solid closer. The starter role has more fantasy value obviously, and as of right now it appears the Royals are leaning towards stretching him out in the minors. That’s good news. The bad news is there’s pretty significant risk that he ends up in the pen in a setup gig. If you are a gambling man (or woman) Finnegan is an arm that should go in the first round of your dynasty league first-year player drafts.
5. Jorge Bonifacio, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Emilio’s younger brother is getting closer to joining him in the major leagues. Bonifacio is a right fielder who has average or better tools across the board, with his plus power being the best of them. He missed time in 2013 with a broken hamate, then spent the entire year at Double-A in 2014, where he awas one of the five youngest players in his league. There’s still a lot of polishing that needs to happen in order for him to get to all of that power, so expect him to repeat Double-A in 2015 with a major league ETA in late 2016/early 2017.
6. Kyle Zimmer, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016
Both Manaea and Finnegan have had injury issues in the past, but Zimmer just can’t seem to stay on the mound at all and it’s starting to become pretty frustrating for dynasty owners. In the last three years he’s pitched a total of 155 innings. When healthy, you can make a strong case for Zimmer to be #1 on this list based on his stuff alone, but until he can string together the starts his value is limited. The latest shoulder surgery makes him borderline droppable in leagues with shallower farm systems. Instead maybe you can take prop bets on what body part he’ll injure next.
7. Miguel Almonte, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Almonte’s fastball and changeup are both plus pitches, but he’s still developing the third offering that will bring the big strikeout numbers we want from our starters in fantasy. Almonte pitched in High-A in 2014 as a 21-year-old, and he should get his first taste of Double-A hitters this season. There’s some bullpen risk attached here and the curveball may never come around, but if it does he has a mid-rotation starter ceiling. His control was good with 2.6 BB/9, but most reports mention a need for him to spot his stuff better to really reach his potential. Command is usually the last piece of the puzzle, so it could just be a matter of time and experience for that to happen.
8. Elier Hernandez, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Just behind Jorge Bonifacio as a potential everyday right fielder, Hernandez has shown an ability to hit and hit for power. A J2 signee from 2011, Hernandez spent the entire year in the South Atlantic League and held his own as a 19-year-old. Fantasy owners would obviously like to see him leapfrog Bonifacio on the depth chart, but it might be even better if he gets moved away from KC’s big ballpark and small-ball approach to a place where his power can shine. Like Bonifacio, there’s the risk he ends up being nothing more than a fourth outfielder type, but there’s also more upside than Boni. Keep an eye on him in the Carolina League this year.
9. Bubba Starling, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016
If you’ve held Starling this long already, you might as well continue to hold. Although the stats were disappointing yet again, the 22-year-old outfielder is still a toolshed and isn’t completely devoid of upside. In shallower dynasty leagues with smaller farms, he’s not a great target. But in the deeper formats where you can afford to sit and play the “wait-and-see” game, Starling is still worth a gamble. He’ll head back to High-A to start the year with a hopefully a promotion to Double-A sometime this summer.
10. Chase Vallot, C | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019
A catcher with a long ETA, Vallot is another prospect in this system that you should only be worrying about if you play in a deep dynasty format with a big farm. There’s a lot of offensive potential, it’s just going to take a while to come together. Vallot was selected 4oth overall in the 2014 draft and has plus power coupled with an average hit tool. The 18-year-old swatted seven homers in his pro debut but also struck out at a high rate. It will be interesting to see if the Royals choose to push him to full-season ball in 2015.