SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the benefits of Spring Training for Royals general manager Dayton Moore is the proximity to his Minor League players.Moore regularly can be found on the backfields observing the club's prospects. And Moore has been impressed with what many believe will be the next wave of
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the benefits of Spring Training for Royals general manager Dayton Moore is the proximity to his Minor League players.
Moore regularly can be found on the backfields observing the club's prospects. And Moore has been impressed with what many believe will be the next wave of young Royals talent, a group that includes first baseman Nick Pratto, catcher MJ Melendez, and outfielder Khalil Lee.
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"Nick Pratto is the best hitter we've signed since I have been here," Moore said of the Royals' top prospect. "Will he continue to develop? I don't know.
"When you look at him, he's a guy who takes pitches, see pitches well. He has the right temperament. He doesn't get too excited. He's very advanced."
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Moore on Melendez: "MJ Melendez is the most confident, secure player we've signed. Some people think he's cocky, but he's just really confident. A really advanced thinker in the game."
Moore on Lee: "Khahil is the most dynamic player we've signed since Eric Hosmer."
Hammel staying behind
Because of an iffy weather forecast for the Royals' exhibition game Monday in Omaha, right-hander Jason Hammel, who was projected to start that game, will stay in Arizona when camp breaks Sunday and pitch in a Minor League game. Hammel's first regular-season start will be April 1 against the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
• Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, a non-roster invitee, struggled in the Royals' 10-0 loss to the Dodgers in a split-squad game at Surprise Stadium. Nolasco started and gave up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings, though manager Ned Yost said Nolasco actually threw the ball OK.
"He gave up that Arizona homer [to Yasiel Puig] and then some soft-contact hits," Yost said. "Not bad."
Nolasco can opt out of his Minor League deal on Saturday if he isn't added to the 25-man roster.
• Right-hander Wily Peralta, in camp on a Major League deal, has struggled most of the spring. Peralta, trying to secure a bullpen spot, gave up one run in 2 1/3 innings Friday and struck out two.
"He was better today," Yost said. "Still a little flat with his pitches but better."
• Infielder Raul Mondesi, battling right shoulder impingement, continues to show improvement and may play in the field in a Cactus League game Saturday.
• Outfielder Bubba Starling is still out with a strained oblique, but he began throwing Thursday.
The Royals will play their final road game of Spring Training when they travel to Scottsdale to play the D-backs at 3:10 p.m. CT on Saturday. Left-hander Danny Duffy, the Opening Day starter, will start and get his final tune-up of the spring. Also expected to throw will be right-handers Blaine Boyer, Kelvin Herrera, Brad Keller and Brandon Maurer. The matchup will be available on an exclusive audio webcast.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.