KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' 2017 regular season was over less than 24 hours when general manager Dayton Moore boarded a plane to Phoenix to check out his next wave of prospects in the instructional league.Moore saw players such as 2017 first-round pick Nick Pratto, a first baseman who is
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' 2017 regular season was over less than 24 hours when general manager Dayton Moore boarded a plane to Phoenix to check out his next wave of prospects in the instructional league.
Moore saw players such as 2017 first-round pick Nick Pratto, a first baseman who is ranked No. 1 in the organization by MLBPipeline.com; '17 second-round pick M.J. Melendez, a catcher (No. 10); and outfielder Seuly Matias, a non-drafted free-agent signing ($2.5 million) in '15 out of the Dominican Republic (No. 4).
Moore said he was impressed with everything he saw.
"Everybody feels really good about this next wave of players," Moore said. "The important thing is that there's a high level of energy among them. And the work is being done properly with a plan by the coaching staff.
"We are very pleased with the Draft class of 2017 and look forward to adding to that group."
Though there are no official statistics for the instructional league, the Royals do keep track. For example, in Pratto's first 17 at-bats, he had two doubles, a triple, a home run and was hitting .412.
"Pratto has a very advanced approach at the plate, an approach that will continue to serve him well as he advances through Minor Leagues," Moore said. "He has an easiness to him in the field and has the ability to be an above-average defender. He looks good and he's right where he should be."
MLB Pipeline.com described Melendez as the best defensive catcher in the 2017 Draft.
"Melendez can really throw and he has power in his bat," Moore said.
Moore also was eager to check in on Matias, whom MLB Pipeline.com described as "one of the toolsiest" players during the 2015-16 international signing period.
"Oh, yes," Moore said. "Saw Matias make an incredible throw from right field from the base of the track and threw a runner out at second base. One quick step and the throw was right on line. He has tremendous tools."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.