Two straight 100-loss seasons and a whole lot of roster turnover make it easy to forget that the Kansas City Royals were World Series champions just five years ago, in 2015. Those struggles have come with opportunity, though, and few teams have improved their farm system as much in recent
Two straight 100-loss seasons and a whole lot of roster turnover make it easy to forget that the Kansas City Royals were World Series champions just five years ago, in 2015. Those struggles have come with opportunity, though, and few teams have improved their farm system as much in recent years as the rebuilding Royals.
|AL East ||BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR |
|AL Central ||CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN |
|AL West ||HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX |
|NL East ||ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WSH |
|NL Central ||CHC, CIN, MIL, PIT, STL |
|NL West ||ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF |
|Division ||Team |
The Royals made an outstanding Draft haul in 2018, selecting advanced college pitchers with their first five picks and seven of their first nine selections. First-rounders Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar both pitched their way up to Double-A in their first full season, while all but one of those seven hurlers finished the year at the Class A Advanced level.
The Royals used the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s Draft to land a potential franchise player in Bobby Witt Jr. The young shortstop is the highest-ranked Royals prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, where he’s joined by Singer and left-hander Daniel Lynch, and it might not be long until some of the organization’s other rising prospects enter the mix.
The Top 20 spots on the Royals Top 30 this year belong to homegrown players, and, overall, the list features 28 players who were either drafted or signed by the organization. Erick Peña, whom the club signed for $3,897,000 last July, is the top-ranked international player and headlines a group of three international amateur free-agent signees in the Top 15.
Thanks mainly to the 2018 Draft, the Royals are especially deep on the mound. Specifically, pitchers comprise more than half of the list, including four of the top six spots, and 13 of them are projected to reach the Major Leagues by the end of the 2021 season.
Here’s a look at the Royals’ top prospects
1) Bobby Witt Jr., SS (No. 10 on Top 100)
2) Brady Singer, RHP (No. 59)
3) Daniel Lynch, LHP (No. 61)
4) Jackson Kowar, RHP
5) Erick Peña, OF
Complete Top 30 list »
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2019 preseason list to the 2020 preseason list:
Jump: Jonathan Bowlan, RHP (2019: 29 | 2020: 9) -- The 2018 second-rounder broke out in his first full season, recording a 3.14 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 150/23 K/BB in 146 innings between Class A Lexington and Class A Advanced Wilmington, where he fired a nine-strikeout no-hitter in his fifth start.
Fall: Scott Blewett, RHP (2019: 15 | 2020: NR) -- After a respectable 2018 season in Double-A that landed him on the Royals’ 40-man roster, the former second-round pick (2014) came undone in his first Triple-A campaign, posting an 8.52 ERA with 56 strikeouts and 46 walks in 81 1/3 innings before the Royals demoted him to Double-A.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 55 – Witt Jr. (Peña, Kyle Isbel, Darryl Collins)
Power: 60 – Seuly Matias (Witt Jr.)
Run: 70 – Nick Heath
Arm: 70 – Matias
Defense: 60 – Nick Pratto (Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Jeison Guzman, Michael Gigliotti)
Fastball: 60 – Lynch (Kowar, Jonathan Bowlan, Carlos Hernandez, Zach Haake, Daniel Tillo, Yefri Del Rosario, Brandon Marklund, Josh Staumont, Yohanse Morel)
Curveball: 60 – Austin Cox (Staumont)
Slider: 60 – Singer (Lynch)
Changeup: 70 – Kowar
Control: 60 – Bowlan
How they were built
Draft: 21 | International: 6 | Trade: 2 | Free Agent: 1
Breakdown by ETA
2020: 7 | 2021: 14 | 2022: 7 | 2024: 2
Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 1B: 1 | 2B: 0 | 3B: 1 | SS: 3 | OF: 8 | RHP: 12 | LHP: 4
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.