Here's where the Royals' Top 30 prospects are starting '22

April 7th, 2022

With the 2021 Minor League season about to get started, here's a look at where the Royals' Top 30 prospects are projected to start the season. (Note: Some Major League roster decisions remain unannounced. Players in such limbo are noted “TBA” here and will be updated once their status is solidified.)

1) Bobby Witt Jr. (MLB No. 1), SS -- Kansas City
2) MJ Melendez (MLB No. 51), C -- Omaha (Triple-A)
3) Nick Pratto, 1B (MLB No. 62), 1B -- Omaha (Triple-A)
4) Asa Lacy (MLB No. 72), LHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
5) Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B -- Omaha (Triple-A)
6) Nick Loftin, SS/OF -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
7) Kyle Isbel, OF -- Kansas City (MLB)
8) Frank Mozzicato, LHP -- Extended spring training
9) Jonathan Bowlan, RHP -- Injured (Tommy John recovery)
10) Jon Heasley, RHP -- Omaha (Triple-A)
11) Ben Kudrna, RHP -- Extended spring training
12) Erick Pena, OF -- Columbia (Single-A)
13) Alec Marsh, RHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
14) Angel Zerpa, LHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
15) Peyton Wilson, 2B -- Quad Cities (High-A)
16) Ben Hernandez, RHP -- Columbia (Single-A)
17) Carter Jensen, C -- Columbia (Single-A)
18) Anthony Veneziano, LHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
19) Austin Cox, LHP -- Omaha (Triple-A)
20) Will Klein, RHP -- Injured (shin splint)
21) Daniel Vazquez, SS -- Extended spring training
22) Maikel Garcia, SS -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
23) Dylan Coleman, RHP -- Kansas City (MLB)
24) Michael Massey, 2B -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
25) Noah Murdock, RHP -- Quad Cities (High-A)
26) Darryl Collins, OF -- Columbia (Single-A)
27) Shane Panzini, RHP -- Extended spring training
28) Luca Tresh, C -- Quad Cities (High-A)
29) Tyler Gentry, OF -- Quad Cities (High-A)
30) Drew Parrish, LHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)

Team to watch
Though Omaha will have the firepower with Melendez, Pratto and Pasquantino in the heart of the batting order, it might not last for long since the first two could force their way to the Majors in short order. Instead, pay attention to Northwest Arkansas one level below. The Naturals claim eight of the Royals’ Top 30 prospects, led by No. 4 Asa Lacy and No. 6 Nick Loftin (who is moving to the outfield for 2022). Lacy headlines a particularly deep Naturals pitching group alongside Alec Marsh, Angel Zerpa and Anthony Veneziano. Shortstop Maikel Garcia and second baseman Michael Massey will give Kansas City’s Double-A affiliate a defensively gifted middle-infield pairing.

Teams on MiLB.TV
Triple-A Omaha
Double-A Northwest Arkansas
High-A Quad Cities
Single-A Columbia

New faces
The Royals went heavy on pitching in the early rounds of the 2021 Draft, taking Frank Mozzicato, Ben Kudrna and Shane Panzini with three of their first five picks last July. All three hurlers, who each hail from cold-weather states, will be brought along slowly in their first full seasons and are being held back at extended spring training for now. Fellow early picks Peyton Wilson and Carter Jensen did break with clubs at High-A Quad Cities and Low-A Columbia, respectively.

On the shelf
Jonathan Bowlan underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and remains months away from a return to Minor League action. He did, however, start throwing bullpens last week -- his first since the procedure. Also, Will Klein is being monitored after suffering shin splints in spring camp and will not break with a club this week.