I was born just days after the 1980 World Series – a match between my beloved Phils and the focus of this minor league preview…the Kansas City Royals. Since I wasn’t really conscious, I totally missed out on perhaps the two greatest third basemen of all time (yeah I see you Brooks) going head to head. I do have old pictures though. My favorite is Schmidt and Brett clinking glasses with what appears to be spiked lemonade while sitting in director’s chairs and leaning on baseball bats. I don’t think the next George Brett is in this year’s KC system. In fact, the Royals are limited to only one Grade A prospect (a recently drafted pitcher) and half of this year’s list fell into the ‘C’ tier. So it’s not exactly a powerhouse. But hey, at least the Royals provided (in my opinion) the greatest moment of the 2018 season…

Grade A

1. Brady Singer, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
Singer is likely the lone representative from this system once the top 100 lists come out. The Royals took him 18th overall in the 2018 draft out of Florida and he’ll get his first taste of pro ball this season. The fastball and slider have both earned plus grades, and his control is above average, but the ceiling is limited to a real-life 2/3 starter. That said, he’s a college arm that should coast pretty quickly through the minors and be able to help rosters looking to compete in the next 2-3 years.


Grade B

2. Nick Pratto, 1B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
I honestly like all four guys listed next, but I’m ranking Pratto first because I think he has the highest floor and the most balanced offensive profile of the bunch. He hit .280 with 14 homers and 22 steals in the Sally in 2018 with a 28% strikeout rate and a 9% walk rate. The K-rate concerns me quite a bit, but he can also take a walk so I’m interested to see what he does in the upper minors to adjust. I could see him being the type of fantasy first baseman who surprises people off the waiver wire with like 25 homers out of nowhere, or a fantasy first baseman you want to murder because all he does is hit line drives.

3. Nicky Lopez, 2B/SS | Age: 23 | ETA: 2019
I tend to value pure hitting over other tools when I’m compiling these lists. Lopez scores well in that area. He’s also close to the majors with success in the upper minors, which is another factor I tend to value. For a guy with below-average power, the fact that he hit nine homers between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018 was a pleasant surprise. Mix in his 15 steals and .308 average and I’m sold. Need more? His strikeout and walk rates were nearly identical in Triple-A (11%). That’s Jennifer Connelly beautiful.

4. Khalil Lee, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2020
Lee has some strikeout issues but he has posted good walk rates in the minors and has already touched Double-A (appropriately of course). In 2017 he hit 17 bombs, but that dropped to just six in 2018. I’m not really sure what happened to the game pop, but my guess is he traded some of it in for AVG/OBP (he hit .237/.344 in 2017 compared to .263/.382 in 2018). There’s potential here for a 12-15 homer, 20+ steal player. He’s probably in the top tier on traditional lists thanks to his defense.

5. Seuly Matias, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
All the chips for Matias are stacked on his approach. He hit 31 bombs in 2018, but it came with a 35% (not a typo) strikeout percentage. If you’re keeping score, that’s not good. So basically you’re gambling that the kid figures it out on the hitting side and that the raw power comes shining through in games. If he was a stock, I wouldn’t buy him, but I wouldn’t sell him either. I’d wait and see if he can do anything with pitching in the upper minors. It could get really ugly and you jettison him, or he starts to click and you’ve got a serious power asset on your hands.


Grade C

6. Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
I was tempted to go up a tier with Gutierrez thanks to his plus arm at the hot corner and balanced offensive skills. He was a main chip in the Kelvin Herrera trade and at 24 he’s pretty much Triple-A/MLB ready. His 2018 numbers provided a good glimpse at his potential – .275 with 11 homers and 20 steals. The power is still developing and could surprise down the road. The downside is that former first-round pick Hunter Dozier is slotted to play third which blocks Gutierrez’s opportunities in the near future.

7. Daniel Lynch, LHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2021
Left-handed pitching sandwich, coming up! Lynch is the first piece of lefty bread…a potential 3/4 starter with average or better stuff across the board (including control). He’s a tall drink of water the Royals took with one of their first round picks last year. His debut was solid, especially in the strikeout department. He punched out almost eleven per nine while walking just 1.4 per nine. I’d bet he beats the 2021 ETA.

8. Jackson Kowar, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2021
Another first round pick, Kowar has better “stuff” than Lynch but lacks the same polish and upside. He threw about 26 innings in 2018, striking out 22 and walking 12. I could see him needing a little more time to work things out in the minors in order to reach his mid-rotation potential. Fun fact…he was a teammate of Brady Singer at Florida. Who’s Brady Singer? Scroll up and start reading this article all over again.

9. Kris Bubic, LHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2021
The bottom bread in our lefty sandwich is Mr. Bubic. Mr. Bubic would be a fantastic name for a substitute teacher. Just close enough to a funny word to incite chortles, giggles, snickers, and the like. I will call him Mr. Boobdick. He’s not much different than the other two…average stuff, 2018 draftee, mid-rotation upside…you know the drill. Mr. Bubic’s control wasn’t so hot in his debut season, but Mr. Bubic could strike a mother out…nearly 13 per nine in the Pioneer League.

10. MJ Melendez, C | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
With our tenth pick we don’t have a hotshot teenage prospect with tons of upside. We have a catching prospect with limited offensive upside. Also, a child has already solved the jumble using crayons. The answer is fries. Melendez has average power but a shaky hit tool. I could see him as a depth piece in one of those batshizz-crazy deep dynos or two-catcher jawns, but that’s about it.


2019 Index

  1. Ante Galic says:
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    Mike!!

    Great write-up!

    a. Mostly sad emoji on this one. So the Royals are going with what they have for the next 5-6 years. Not good, thankfully am not a Royals fan.

    b. I see what you mean about being a masochist or not seeing the first few spec reports and trying to figure out if they go from bad system to worst or what. You said neither nor so there’s that and now I agree with your assessment on the neither nor part.

    c. Little known factoid about Chad for December 5

    You’d think that an international hotel (the Novotel) in N’Djamena would be super happy to have customers sleeping there given the depressed economic situation and the really tiny interest for ANY foreign investment in Chad, right? Well the main receptionist at the Novotel got so Prima Donna on me that he refused to give me a room in the hotel unless I make a reservation before my arrival. Like here’s the scenario.

    1. Depressed economic situation in N’Djamena, very little foreign investment

    2. Therefore very few visitors to N’Djamena. [I sh*t you not, I was there on December 27 on my way out to go home ahead my family’s planned trip to the Dominican. There was almost no one in town, I was almost alone in the hotel and worse still they cancelled the dinner buffet ’cause dah it was not at all cost effective to bake 40 hens for 1 person. Little did they know that I would have eaten it all.]

    3. Very little money coming into the hotel’s coffers

    4. This a$$hole refuses to give me a room without making a reservation.

    So of course, while I’m waiting in line at the reception, I call the hotel’s reception and make my reservation. There is only one phone line into the hotel and it’s almost always occupied. In addition, the national mobile phone network crashes for hours at a time. Final nail in the coffin, they never reply to e-mails. Pretty bad service overall in the only hotel with a reasonable price in N’Djamena.

    So, yeah,the factoid…you get Prima Donna types who feel privileged in the poorest country in the world just because they feel entitled or someone put them into such a position. I never had a problem getting a room in the hotel. Don’t get me started with their poor internet speed and just bad coverage.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      a. yeah, it’s not the greatest
      b. good thing nobody reads them!
      c. holy cow…you should have demanded the 40 hens, taken one small bite, dabbed your lip with a cloth napkin, and got up and left

      • Ante Galic says:
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        @Mike: MIke!!

        How dare you? I read them! But you’re write, it’s not like mid-August when everyone is throwing their panties at Grey. That said, these are very important and historical posts that can be used by ANYONE during the year so in their name, thanks a million for existing Mike.

        On the hens, haha! I was joking about the exact number. There is a certain norm which needs to be met to qualify for a buffet meal. The thing is the buffet at Novotel N’Djamena has three price tiers.

        1. Table 1 Hot meal tables
        2. Table 2 Salad table
        3. Table 3 Dessert table

        If you eat from just 1, you pay 10$. If you eat from any 2, you pay 20$ and if you eat from all 3, you pay 30$. I would usually pay the 20$ for 2 tables (hot meal and dessert, ’cause the fruit and yogurt is on the dessert table – screw the salad for an extra 10$).

        Anyway, all that was moot on December 27 2016 as the only thing available was to go to the a la carte restaurant in back near the pool area. Great location with all the mosquitoes to have an outdoor restaurant. A la carte meals were like from 10-20$ – expensive and not filling at all. My two favorite indoor sports – eating and sleeping.

        Lastly on doing something similar, that’s the only hotel approved by the UN Security unit in New York which was reasonably priced – expensive at 150$ but the Hilton hotel was 200$ and more. So, yeah! Grin and bear it.

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          ha! thanks man, just kidding around

          reminds me of the Brazilian steakhouses where it’s all you can eat awesome meat brought to your table and there is always some clown filling up at the salad bar

          • Ante Galic says:
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            @Mike: Mike!

            Lol on that! Not worth the salad stuff. Some times when I was there with my two buddies we would play a trick on the stupid concierge/receptionist at the buffet. I would pay 10$ for all you can eat hot table, buddy A for all you can eat salad and buddy B all you can eat dessert! We all ate at the same table and each friend fed the other. Each pays 10$, each eats like a king and no one is the wiser. It’s one of those rare occasions in that shit hole where we could find some enjoyment.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              ha! Ante 1 – 0 Hotel

  2. Chris D says:
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    Mike, been digging the content. Really exited about what’s to come from you this year

    Trade opinion: Just flipped Sixto for Peter Alonso in a dynasty league

    Good deal? Sixto’s injuries seem like trouble in the future and Alonso’s power was just too interesting to pass up. I have Votto and Abreu so I can sit and wait on him to see how it plays out. Seemed like a good risk for me despite depleting my once strong pitching prospect core (have Whitley, Kopech injury, traded Sixto and flipped Gore and Gleyber for Trea Turner)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Yeah, I like that a lot for you.

  3. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Even though I have no opinions about the KC Royals, other than they kind of suck, I want to declare that I read these posts, and the comments.

    There’s nuggets of gold here. Not just for prospecting, but for anyone considering a honeymoon in the Republic of Chad.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Please, the Republic of Chad Pinder

      • El Famous Burrito says:
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        @Grey: I wonder if there is a single person in Chad that you could make that joke to.

        Like Cable Guy, Janeane Garafalo as the waitress at Medeival Times with the look of death, but a Chadly person instead.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yes! Ante! (When he’s there)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      ha! thanks man

      Five weeks ago I wouldn’t have been able to find it on a map…now I know how to order at a buffet there!

  4. jack florida says:
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    thanks for all the minors help

    i would like your opinion on a trade offer, i just took over this team, 14 teams h2h

    i give first round pick #9, which is after the keepers, up to 28 keepers

    i get luis urias and leody taveras, i would need to drop two of these to make this trade

    rengifo,moniak,kristian robinson,justin dunn, honeywell, everson pereira

    would you do this and who goes, thanks for the help

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      no problem…if my math is right, you’ve got about 400 players off the board if everybody keeps their max. Assuming new signings and last year’s draft picks are on the table, I’d rather keep your pick and not do the deal.

  5. thorbs says:
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    Mike! Good stuff – I’m looking at Singer with my late first-round pick in our first-year draft.

    Semi-spicy Q for you – I won my dynasty league last year with a tasty win-now hitting core with depth (Trout, Betts, J-Ram, Arenado), arms at the end of their peaks (JV, Kluber, Tanaka) and a big trade for Yelich.

    The rest of my arms are a pu-pu platter of potential or injury risk like D-Rod, Lucchesi, Maeda, Ryu, so not nearly as strong as my bats.

    I’ve got Robles on the farm, but not much else as far as high-end prospects near to the show, having more Nolan Jones/Pache/Varsho types, and another owner approached me about my Kris Bryant, dangling Tatis Jr.

    His first offer was Tatis Jr./Gausman for Bryant, and we’re now discussing my Bryant for Tatis Jr/Carrasco or Tatis Jr/Gausman/first overall pick.

    Am I way off on evaluating Bryant’s value? I’m somewhat concerned with his shoulder and think that Tatis could be a team cornerstone for a decade.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Interesting offers…I like the Tatis/Carrasco one the best. I don’t think you’re way off. Bryant is obviously good, but you have to have balanced team to win. I’m going through a similar situation in one league…trying to keep that window open as long as possible. Tatis can help you soon and obviously Carrasco immediately becomes an anchor for your staff.

  6. Clam Ambush says:
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    Have a dynasty league decision to make… Cal Quantrill, Corbin Martin, or Will Smith (LAD)?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      tough one…I’d go with Martin

      • Clam Ambush says:
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        Thanks!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          no problem!

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