Recently someone told me “The Royals ain’t got no prospects”, I encouraged this person to look deeper because the Royals got prospects. The problem just so happens to be, they only have about six good ones. Then again, that’s what happens when you do nothing but draft lefthanded starters that can’t find the plate, and dudes named Bubba and Hunter. For a team that knew they could lose multiple players to free agency, the Royals did very little to turn that into controllable assets. What you’re left with is the list below. Best described as a handful of bright spots, some solid depth arms, and a couple of fringy bats destined for quad-A labels. The one truly fantasy relevant angle to this whole post is the opportunity that exists at the major level, at least as of writing this. Even if Eric Hosmer is re-signed, or other cheap vets are brought in, there’s simply not enough depth for the Royals to not employ a few hitters from this list. One note, I’m not writing about Kyle Zimmer. Okay, I’ll probably still write about Kyle Zimmer. You know why? Because everyone needs to know about the prospects the Royals got. Everyone! Readers go out into the world and share this like made up political memes or President Trump tweets or tweets about Doanld Trump tweets. So share. Because we need to know the good word about an awful system. It’s the Kansas City Royals top prospects for 2018.

 

1) Nick Pratto, 1B | Age: 19 | Level: Rk | 2017 Stats: .247/.330/.414, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 10 SB

When you’re a high school first baseman taken 14th overall and your most frequent comp is Joey Votto, it’s pretty easy to step right in and rank as the top prospect in the Royals system. It’s quite uncommon for prep first baseman to go in the first round, with Eric Hosmer, Dominic Smith, and Josh Naylor being the only other examples. That likely says more about Pratto than anything else, as the So-Cal prep product displays a future middle of the order profile. A smooth, no frills, lefty swing, Pratto shows natural hitting acumen, loose wrists, good bat speed, and an all-fields approach. He’s among the top 15-20 fantasy talents from the 2017 draft and should be a target in all dynasty formats this offseason. ETA: 2021

2) Khalil Lee, OF | Age: 19 | Level: A | 2017 Stats: .237/.344/.430, 17 HR, 61 RBI, 20 SB

I love athletic outfielders with power and speed, and this explains my affinity for Lee. There’s a lot of swing and miss concern, but his walk rates are elite, pointing to at least above average pitch recognition skills. From my observations Lee’s strikeout issues are more likely rooted in the inconsistency in his swing mechanics. He does possess elite bat speed, and hands as quick as lightning. The combination of on base ability, speed, and power, make Lee one of the less talked about Toolsheds on the edges of my Top 100. ETA: 2020

3) Seuly Matias, OF | Age: 19 | Level: Rk | 2017 Stats: .243/.297/.423, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB

A name constantly at the tip of my tongue whenever pressed for a potential 2018 helium breakout, Matias is a highly talented power bat with quick twitch tendencies, and legendary exit velocities. He led the AZL in homers back in 2016, and flashed improved restraint when faced with breaking stuff in 2017. Looks like your prototypical power hitting rightfielder if everything maxes out. Not that it matters for fantasy, but Seuly has a howitzer in the field, meaning he can stick in rightfield long term. Quick, Kenny Cashman, make me a Score style Rifleman card. Matias was signed for $2.25m back in 2015, and would have been a 2017 prep prospect had he been an American. ETA: 2021

4) MJ Melendez, C | Age: 19 | Level: Rk | 2017 Stats: .262/.374/.417, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 4 SB

A player I’ve heard good things from Chris Kusiolek about, Melendez was one of the better backstop prospects in the draft. A powerful hitter with some swing and miss, Melendez is an athletic kid that runs well, and is a bit of a marvel behind the plate, posting elite pop times with regularity. He’s the son of Florida International coach Mernyl Melendez, so you know he’s well coached. The Royals did well plucking Pratto and Melendez. ETA: 2021

5) Hunter Dozier, 3B/OF | Age: 26 | Level: AAA| 2017 Stats: .243/.341/.441, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB

An overdrafted college bat, Dozier got his groove back in 2016 after fixing his righthanded swing with some “good ole fashioned shortening”. He put up good numbers across multiple levels, and found his way onto the back end of a few top 100 lists. Unfortunately multiple injuries to Dozier’s oblique and hamate kept him on the shelf for much of the season. At 26 years old entering 2018, Dozier should be in the mix for big league at bats for a club in desperate need of some offensive spark. While he’s no star, Dozier certainly has the ability to provide a .265/.340/.450, 20 homer type season for little to no draft capital. ETA: 2018

6) Michael Gigliotti, OF | Age: 21 | Level: A | 2017 Stats: .320/.420/.456, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 22 SB

An under the radar college player, who broke out in a big way in his pro debut. Gigliotti touched two levels, matriculating all the way to full season ball in the Sally. The first player drafted out of Lipscomb since 1975, Gigliotti impressed on the Cape in the summer of 2016, drawing comps to Jacoby Ellsbury, and his draft stock grew from there. He’s a definite leadoff type with on-base ability, 60 grade speed and base running. He’s predominantly a line drive hitter, with just pedestrian bat speed from the left side. Gigliotti’s the the type of guy that your old school Uncle will love, as he knows how to drop down a mean bunt. Ultimately he’s a 4th outfield type with speed, I’m in a few leagues where that’s useful. If you’re in those leagues you’re a nerd. ETA: 2020

7) Josh Staumont, RHP | Age: 24 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: 6-12, 125 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 138 Ks, 97 Bb

A former early round pick, with MLB experience, and the best fastball and best breaking ball in an organization isn’t supposed to be so risky. There in lies the rub with Staumont, the stuff is tantalizing; a fastball that jumps to 102 with life, and a curveball that sits low 80’s with serious power break and depth. He also mixes in an upper-90’s sinking two-seamer, and a changeup with splitter action. The stuff is there, but will Staumont be the 2018 version of Joe Kelly? All stuff and only a bullpen future. ETA: 2018

8) Nicky Lopez, 2B/SS | Age: 22 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .279/.348/.356, 2 HR, 38 RBI, 21 SB

Not that you should take too much away from the Arizona Fall League, in fact you really should take nothing from the Arizona Fall League other than it was a good time. Regardless Lopez definitely upped his prospect stock this fall. He’s a linedrive, gap to gap hitter, with good understanding of the strike zone. Likely fits as future utility role. ETA: 2019

9) Foster Griffin, LHP | Age: 22 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: 15-7, 161 IP, 3.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 141 SO, 54 Bb

A back end of the rotation lefty, Griffin is the type who hints at bat missing ability with good stuff, but it never translates to numbers. His four-seamer lacks velocity, sitting 89-92, but it makes up for a lack of giddy up with nice cut. His two-seamer has tail, and his curveball has improved over the last few seasons. He uses his changeup effectively, but it’s just a fringe pitch at the time being. ETA: 2020

10) Eric Skoglund, LHP | Age: 25 | Level: AAA| 2017 Stats: 4-5, 104 IP, 4.07 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 103 Ks, 32 Bb

A back end of the rotation type with a chance at a significant MLB role for 2018. Skoglund uses his 6’7 frame well getting serious plane on his four-seamer, a pitch that gets easy 60 grades. He mixes in an average curveball, and two fringe offerings in his slider and changeup. He’s super gangly and thin, wouldn’t surprise me if he struggles to stay healthy. ETA: 2018

11) Samir Duenez, 1B | Age: 21 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .242/.304/.402, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 10 SB

Not many 20 year olds reach AA, and even fewer 21 year olds follow that up with a season where their home run total eclipses the career total prior. Yet he’s outside my top 10, and I don’t think I’m alone. It’s just tough to believe in a first base only guy with only moderate power, so so approach, and a hit tool first profile. Not a bad prospect, should be owned in deeper leagues, but he’s no star. ETA: 2019

12) Miguel Almonte, RHP | Age: 24 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: 1-2, 47 IP, 1.72 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 52 Ks, 13 Bb

Do you have any idea how badly I’d like to ignore Almonte? Problem is I can’t ignore a 24 year old with two plus pitches, the ability to miss bats, and MLB experience. Almonte likely is headed toward a bullpen future, but he could be a very good power reliever. The Royals might still pursue Almonte’s starter future, but I just don’t have a great deal of confidence it sticks. He’s dealt with injuries and bouts of ineffectiveness, and the pen has been a place he’s seen success. ETA: 2018

13) Frank Schwindel, OF | Age: 25 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .329/.349/.541, 23 HR, 97 RBI, 0 SB

You know the quad-A label might have a picture of Frank Schwindel next to it in the dictionary, but damn that 2017 production is tough to ignore. Schwindel can hit for decent power, mostly of the pull variety, he doesn’t strikeout much either, but he rarely walks. He’s always had solid minor league production with now three 20+ homer seasons in the minors. Doesn’t seem like a career big league guy, but I could be wrong. ETA: 2018

 

Find all of the 30 Minor League Previews, and Offseason Rankings on the Minor League Index
On Twitter as @ProspectJesus

  1. J-FOH says:
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    Did I ever tell you my friends mom is best friends with Prattos grandma

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-FOH: How is her lasagna?

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I’ll ask him and get back to you

  2. Randy says:
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    Hey Ralph, just listened to your Reds prospect podcast and was surprised you sounded a little less hyped about Trammel. I know you are high on him (Not from the weed festival you attended lol), but is there something that gives you some more doubt on him rising to a top 5-10 prospect?

    Also, your thoughts on Moran vs. Hunter Dozier as a late round flyer? It seems like Dozier has the better pedigree, but the Pirates must see something in him?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Randy: Hahaha I love Trammell, he just needs to do it above A ball. He’s one of my favorite prospects, I just try and provide the assessment inculding his risk. It’s important to balance both sides when evaluating. As for his place in the top 10. He just needs some graduations and a very good April-June in 2018.

      Moran likely has he better pedigree. As a hitter it’s pretty close. I probably prefer Dozier, but it’s so close.

    • Milldood says:
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      @Randy: Moran might not play right away with Freese still there for a couple months, unless he blows the doors off spring training leaving the Pirates with no option. Could happen…Moran made real changes to his swing last year, and he very well could be one of the next handful of guys who unlocks their power these days. Dozier was pretty bad at AAA last year, aside from getting time, idk what he’ll do.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Milldood: I’m still pretty skeptical of Moran doing anything at the MLB level. I’d write off Dozier’s AAA sample next year. For a guy with injuries to his hands and legs those numbers could be much worse.

  3. sport says:
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    Thanks for making my Royals sound a little better. I wish they could flip Herrera for another nice arm/bat to come up when Pratto and Lee are ready.

    Kyla Zimmer is a roller coaster. Only all you do is watch it and never ride it so you don’t even know how fun it is. Every spring training KC coaches marvel over him.

    I’m guessing Hunter gets a shot at splitting time at DH/3B with Cuthbert.

    I even heard Bubba’s name thrown around replacing Cain. Along with Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando.

    At least we got Soler! (sarcasm)

    I’m just going to squeeze my Royal’s WS picture every night and pray it doesn’t take another 30 years.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @sport: It just stinks cause they could have done a better job of maximizing those expiring assets.

      Frustrating.

  4. sport says:
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    I’m in a 15 team keeper league where can keep 2 hitters, but you can only keep a player for four years. I have Correa and Rizzo for this year but it will be my last year with Rizzo. Any reason I should keep Albies instead and have a solid middle infield for a few years? Or stick with Rizzo and either trade for another big piece during season or draft next year’s keeper?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @sport: Stick with Rizzo.

  5. Jash says:
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    Hi Mr. Lifshitz,
    Sorry I am off topic. Where would you rank Corey Ray? I did not see him in your 2018 rankings. Did he fall off the prospect list?

    Thank you

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jash: 200 maybe. He’s been awful.

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    that league yr drafting, awesome idea of basically how to auction the draft slots for early slots, can’t believe i hadn’t heard of something like that yet. just as FAAB beats just rolling waiver order this appears to be wave of future for dynasty startup drafts.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @goodfold2: yeah it’s pretty neat.

  7. foul balls says:
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    enjoy your insight on prospects, in a 16 team 35 player h2h 6×6 dynasty league approximately how many prospects would you have on your team? also how deep would you go on bench bats?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @foul balls: Would depends on my team in the draft. Really don’t have a set number. In dynasty startups I just want the best guys.

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    whittled it down to 3, best overall guy: allen SD (yerzy finally went, in fact more catchers drafted this year than i’ve ever seen), ellis ARI, solis HOU (seems to be your highest P left, over jennings PIT, shore OAK)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @goodfold2: Nice!

  9. Anodyne says:
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    Hey Ralph, great job writing about a pretty thin system. As someone who plays in deep leagues, this is super helpful. Quick dynasty question for you: in dynasty formats, which of these would you prefer to own: Lorenzo Cain, Kyle Hendricks, or Adam Jones?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Anodyne: Cain unless my OF is set, and I need someone like Hendricks to stabilize volitile starters.

      • Anodyne says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Cool, thanks! My outfield isn’t set, turns out, as it’s a league that splits outfielders by position (LF/CF/RF) and I need a reliable CF.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Anodyne: He gets a value bump there for sure.

  10. Test Kitchen says:
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    Ralph,

    OBP/SLG league with 8 teams, we keep 8 plus 1 rookie

    I will likely be a top 3 team this year in the league but there’s a decent gap between me and the top 2 so while I will comete, I am looking to making a push next year

    Which rookie should I keep with eyes on 2019

    Senzel
    Robles

    Think they are both full-time players by then?

    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Test Kitchen: Yes, both full time by then, and I would go with Senzel. He’s the best.

  11. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Off topic, but would love to hear your thoughts on Zack Godley for 2018 and/or his viability as a $4 keeper. Really felt like an Ace-lite type on my team last year and the peripherals seem to support it…plus that humidor can’t hurt!

  12. JD27Lama says:
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    Love your stuff. Took over a 20 team dynasty league, 25 milbs and have a bunch of Royals sitting there. Any reason told hold onto Ryan O’Hearn, Donnie Dewees, Samir Duenez or the great Bubba Starling? I’m completely rebuilding, but they are my low-end and might need to cut some milbs. Do Duenez and O’Hearn fight for 1B on mlb squad? Thanks for any feedback.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JD27Lama: I think Duenez has a shot at being an MLB Regular. I just don’t buy O’Hearn. I omitted him on purpose, perhaps an oversight. Just seems like a guy that will never have much MLB impact. Maybe that’s harsh, but I’m just not much of a fan. He strikeouts a lot now, and doesn’t hit for the type of power to really compensate for that.

      I’d hold onto Duenez. Cut all of the others.

  13. Another Dan says:
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    Evening Ralph,

    And what a weekend it has been !! Hope you have had had a good one.

    See you snagged Folty in RDI. Like him for 2018? Another question about RDI, Do you have to keep 35?

    Am starting to look at FYPD preparation. And in my dynasties (both 12 teamers these) I have to create space on my minor league rosters before I draft. The available players that I could (hopefully) replace these with are either in your top 100 or other unowned players like Hiura / Arias/ Luzardo / Monte Harrison / Esteury Ruiz / Baddoo / Faedo / Fried.

    So the question is would you drop Josh Naylor, Sam Travis, Tylers Beede and Jay ?

    Best wishes,

    Another Dan

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Another Dan: I like the fact that he should give me MLB innings, is 26, doesn’t have the worst underlying skill set, and some pedigree. Maybe something clicks. At close to pick 600 I’ll take a shot.

      Don’t have to but why not? Goal of this season is to find 35 keepable assests.

      Hold on Naylor and drop the rest.

      Take it easy Dan!

      • Another Dan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Naylor was the one I was the most unsure about. Thanks.

        I like Folty, perhaps it’s the name and makes me think – Fawlty. I streamed him a few times last year. Often wished i hadn’t. Waited all year for him to string a few together.

        Best wishes,

        Another Dan

  14. Tweak says:
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    Glad to see some names from the Royals organization. I’ve been really down on them. A few lottery ticket teenagers with upside is a passable place to start, considering that they’ll have high draft picks for quite a few years starting now. Maybe Staumont figures out some control and turns into a machine. Maybe Duenez continues to develop a power/speed combo skillset. Maybe not.

    Separately, Ralph, I haven’t gotten an email from anyone about that dynasty league yet. I sent you an email and also one to the email address provided before. I don’t want to be a bother, so I’ll put this here and then give up if we’re still not able to connect. Do you want me to shoot you another email? Have another address I can send one to? Here’s hoping! Thanks for any help, Ralph.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Tweak: Sorry about that. I think they filed the opening. Let me check back, and I promise I’ll get you in. I’m in two where there’s usually some openings.

  15. Jose says:
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    Ralph:
    Please send me an email. I would like to discuss a possible trade of the boards.

    thanks

  16. Claw dawg says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    So would I be completely crazy to use my 1 pick(pick number 12 overall) in our minor league draft this year on Jhailyn Ortiz? Its possible there’s people like Austin Hays, Florial, and Mcmahon available at my pick. I’m getting that feeling that he may have an Acuna like rise in prospect lists over the course of the year and I don’t want to miss out on that prolific power. Thoughts? Am I crazy? Other prospects I have are Moncada, Soto, Ohtani, and Kyle Lewis

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Claw dawg: I’d take the others first, but you do you hahaha!

  17. Asos Ymmas says:
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    Dynasty question; keep 2 – no salary or draft implications. Just retain the best in a deep 14 teamer:

    Buehler, Martes, McKenzie or Morejon

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Asos Ymmas: Flip Martes and McKenzie

  18. dninja82 says:
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    Bonifacio and mondesi still have some upside?

    • Better Call Limehouse says:
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      @dninja82: mondesi has to be over limits. his speed should anyway. boneface sounds like a slightly better hit tool, slightly less power version of soler.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @dninja82: I think Mondesi has a ton, as for Bonifacio not so much. Both are past their limits. Bonifacio actually has 400+ PA. Mondesi was rushed, I think there’s still a chance he’s a stud.

      • dninja82 says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: thanks for the reply! bonifacio was 24 last season when he had 17 bombs in 113 games. Any chance that he gets to 25 HRs with a full season of ABs?

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