MLB Reports: The Kansas City Royals Top 10 Prospects In 2014
Shaun Kernahan (Guest Royals Writer): Follow @shaunkernahan
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Royals Top 10 Prospects
We are in that black hole for baseball fans.
Still a month and a half until pitchers and catchers report, still a month or so before the big publications release their organizational prospect lists, and the flood of free agency and trades have stopped.
Heck, I have taken to late night Australian Baseball League games to get my baseball fix, and happened to catch one of the better brawls I have seen in a while.
10) Jason Adam – RHP – Adam just makes it into my top ten, and primarily on upside. He is a tall lefty that can touch 95, which in itself can often land a guy on a prospect list.
Then take into account he has a frame that appears to be made for a long starter’s season and should be able to eat close to 200 innings, and a hook that can certainly play at the big league level and you have a legit prospect, and future mainstay in the rotation.
He will never be a star, in fact, he will never be a guy of much concern, but he will be a guy that can take the ball every fifth day as a fourth or fifth starter, and give his team a chance to win.
9) Bubba Starling – OF – Starling has been a massive disappointment since being drafted fifth overall in 2011.
The high school product from Kansas turned down a full ride from Nebraska to play baseball, but football is still a possibility for him. He has flashed power, but has struggled to produce a decent batting average.
Another poor year, and there might be some real grumblings and real consideration of going back to school and pursuing a football career while he has the chance.
8) Orlando Calixte – SS – Calixte has a strong infield arm, but average at best range and glove.
His approach at the plate still needs work and will never be a .300 hitter, but he has a power profile that is rare from a guy that could potentially stick in the middle infield.
His home run numbers don’t jump off the pages, his power is currently showing up in the form of doubles, but he finished his age 21 season at AA still weighing a mere 160 lbs. on a 5-11 frame.
He will likely add some size soon, and his doubles will quickly turn into home runs.
His glove and average might keep him from being anything more than an average big league regular, but with the potential to hit 20 long balls out of the middle infield, he is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
7) Hunter Dozier – SS/3B – Dozier was selected eight overall in the 2013 draft out of Stephen F. Austin State University, and while currently listed as a shortstop, is probably best suited as a third baseman.
6) Miguel Almonte – RHP – Almonte has a chance to be special. The righty can touch 95, but typically sits between 92-94 on his fastball, but when he throws his change is when it really gets good.
He has about a ten MPH difference between fastball and change, and if there is a difference in delivery, it comes in the form of it looking like he throws the change harder than the fastball.
Add that to the fact it drops and runs, and you have a plus plus big league pitch, from a soon-to-be 21 year old who has not pitched higher than low A.
He is a bit slow to the plate, and big league base runners should be able to steal on him, but that comes from a leg kick that could be quickened in time.
His curveball is just a show me curve at this point, and doesn’t project as anything more than average, but an average curve to go with an above average fastball and a plus change gives him the ability to slate in as high as a number two starter, but more than likely a number three.
5) Jorge Bonifacio – OF – Jorge Bonifacio’s comparisons to his older brother, Emilio, who happens to be on the Royals, will end at the name.
I don’t want to say Jorge is slow, but I have seen Molinas that can give him a run for his money in a foot race.
Jorge is not an up the middle defender, instead is a big armed right fielder. He also flashes impressive raw power.
While his home run numbers haven’t really shown up yet, his slugging percentage through the minors still in the mid-.400’s.
He has a plus bat, probably projects as a .280 hitter, and could be a 20+ HR type of guy. If he reaches his potential, he will be a stand out bat at the back end of the middle of the order, a prototypical 5th or 6th hitter.
4) Sean Manaea – LHP – There was a time that the left handed pitcher from Indiana State University was considered a top five pick in the 2013 draft, but after injuries, he fell to the Royals in the first Competitive Balance round.
Manaea has three plus pitches. His fastball has touched 97, but is expected to sit around 94-95. His slider is deadly when it is sharp, but can get loopy at times, making it average at best.
He needs to add consistency to his slider, and to his changeup, which has the potential to become his best pitch in time.
Manea has solid control, and if he continues to improve and show he can paint corners against higher level competition, he could become a front of the rotation guy.
He will never quite be an ace, but a solid #2 or #3 is probably where he will end up.
3) Kyle Zimmer – RHP – Zimmer is a special pitcher, each of his pitches has multiple looks. His fastball can range from 92-97 and has even touched 99.
He has a big 12-6 curve, but can also add depth to it and make is slurvy over two planes. Then he can sneak in a sharp slider with a bit of drop in the pitch in the high 80’s.
As if that wasn’t enough, he has solid control on a change that has late movement and projects at a bit above average.
His four pitch mix plays more like a six pitch mix, and can easily fit in at the top of a rotation.
Aldaberto can pick it at short, can run, can throw, and can put bat to ball with the best of them in the minors. He will easily stick at short as a true four tool player.
Sorry, but the fifth tool, power, will only be average, but that is far better than the Royals are used to at the shortstop position.
Mondesi was one of the few players under the age of 18 playing in full season ball anywhere in the minor leagues in 2013, and will be entering his age 18 season in 2014. He could get as high as AA this coming season, but will likely spend the majority of the year at High A.
He is on my list of players I want to get many looks at on the backfields this coming spring, so be sure to follow me for updated scouting updates in March.
1) Yordano Ventura – RHP – Ventura made his big league debut in 2013, and looked every bit as good as he did as he did coming up through the minors.
His fastball is as good as it gets. He lights up radar guns, but he also has the secondary pitches to go with it.
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A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Guest Royals Writer’ Shaun Kernahan for preparing today’s featured article.
Shaun was born and raised in Southern California, and has been a diehard baseball fan since childhood. He also follows football, soccer, and hockey, but baseball is his true sports love.
He played through high school before blowing out his shoulder and elbow, then turned to coaching, before finally writing about baseball.
Shaun also covers other sports on his own website, thestainsports.com here.
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Posted on January 12, 2014, in On the Verge: MLB Prospects and tagged @shaunkernahan on twitter, al central, Aldaberto Mondesi, anthony rendon, blake swihart, bubba starling, chester cuthbert, chris dwyer, christian colon, emilio bonifacio, Francisco Lindor, george springer, hunter dozier, Jason Adam, Javier Baez, Jorge Bonifacio, kansas city royals, Kansas City Royals Top Ten Prospects 2014, kyle zimmer, Miguel Almonte, Orlando Calixte, patrick leonard, pcl, raul mondesi, shaun kernahan, wil myers. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.