The last time the Royals posted a winning regular-season record was 2015, when they defeated the Mets to win their first World Series title since 1985. Since then, the organization hasn’t cracked the .500 mark, with a turnover on the Major League roster leading to four straight losing seasons, including
The last time the Royals posted a winning regular-season record was 2015, when they defeated the Mets to win their first World Series title since 1985. Since then, the organization hasn’t cracked the .500 mark, with a turnover on the Major League roster leading to four straight losing seasons, including back-to-back 100-plus-loss campaigns in '18-19.
Yet, those recent struggles also have been instrumental in driving the Royals’ rebuild, netting the club high Draft picks as well as some compensatory selections that have helped to vault Kansas City up to No. 10 on MLB Pipeline’s midseason farm system rankings.
Brady Singer and Kris Bubic became the first two hurlers from the Royals’ pitching-heavy 2018 Draft class to reach the Majors. Combining to make 22 starts, they each showed improvement and tied a bow on their respective rookie campaigns by posting a sub-3.00 ERA in September. It might not be long until fellow 2018 draftees Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar, as well as 2020 No. 4 overall pick Asa Lacy, are ready to join them.
Bobby Witt Jr., MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 overall prospect, gives the Royals’ Top 30 list some real star power up top, as he headlines a promising group of young Royals hitters that includes Erick Peña, Nick Loftin and Kyle Isbel.
And after finishing the regular season with a 26-34 record, the Royals are poised to add even more high-end talent to their system with the No. 7 pick in next year’s Draft, the organization’s third top 10 pick in as many years.
FARM SYSTEM RANKINGS
2020 Midseason: 10 | Preseason: 17
2019 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2018 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2017 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2016 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
2015 Midseason: NR | Preseason: NR
Only the top 10 systems were ranked from 2015 to 2019 preseason; the top 15 systems were ranked 2019 midseason.
TOP 5 PROSPECTS
1) Bobby Witt Jr., SS (No. 8 on Top 100)
2) Asa Lacy, LHP (No. 26)
3) Daniel Lynch, LHP (No. 54)
4) Jackson Kowar, RHP
5) Erick Peña, OF
Complete Top 30 list »
Draft: Asa Lacy, LHP, 1st round (No. 2); Nick Loftin, SS, Competitive Balance Round A (No. 6); Ben Hernandez, RHP, 2nd round (No. 16); Tyler Gentry, OF, 3rd round (No. 20); Christian Chamberlain, LHP, 4th round; Will Klein, RHP, 5th round Complete Draft list »
NDFA: Kale Emshoff, C; John McMillon, RHP; Tucker Bradley, OF
Trade: Ronald Bolaños, RHP (No. 17); Lucius Fox, SS (No. 23); Dylan Coleman, RHP
Waivers: Carlos Sanabria, RHP
The Royals landed the top-ranked pitching prospect in the Draft in Lacy, signing the Texas A&M left-hander for $6,670,000 -- a franchise record for a drafted pitcher -- after they took him No. 4 overall. All six of Kansas City’s picks ranked among MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 200 list, and they added a seventh Top 200 player in Arkansas-Little Rock catcher Kale Emshoff, one of several noteworthy non-drafted players signed by the club. Trade acquisitions Bolaños, Fox and Kelvin Gutierrez (No. 25), as well as waiver pickup Carlos Sanabria, are all on the Royals’ 40-man roster.
2021 IMPACT PROSPECT
Daniel Lynch, LHP: The 6-foot-6 left-hander may have the best stuff in the organization, boasting a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s that he complements with a devastating slider and a curveball and changeup that both continued to improve this past summer at Kansas City’s alternate training site.
2022 TOP PROSPECT
Bobby Witt Jr., SS: The 2019 No. 2 overall pick has star potential as an athletic and physically projectable infielder who is expected to hit for both average and power. He’s more advanced than the typical prep pick, too, possessing an advanced feel for the game that could allow him to reach the big leagues relatively quickly.
Hit: Kyle Isbel
Power: Seuly Matias
Run: Nick Heath
Arm: Nate Eaton
Field: Nick Pratto
Best athlete: Witt Jr.
Fastball: Daniel Lynch
Curveball: Alec Marsh
Slider: Asa Lacy
Changeup: Jackson Kowar
Control: Jonathan Bowlan
HOW THE TOP 30 WAS BUILT
After defeating the Mets in the 2015 World Series, the Royals have spent much of the past half-decade restocking their farm system with premium talent via the Draft and international market. As a result of those efforts, homegrown players currently occupy all but three spots on Kansas City’s Top 30, with Draft picks comprising two-thirds of the list. Fourteen of those picks are products of the Royals’ 2018-20 Draft classes, and half of that group ranks among the organization’s top 10 prospects. Erick Peña, who signed for $3,897,500 in July 2019, Seuly Matias (No. 14) and Jeison Guzman (No. 19) all received seven-figure bonuses as international signees.
TOP 30 BY POSITION
Though Kansas City’s pitching depth did take a minor hit with the graduations of Singer, a preseason Top 100 prospect, and Bubic, as well as relievers Josh Staumont and Tyler Zuber, in 2020, the Royals’ Top 30 list has only two fewer hurlers (14) now than it did going into the season. Lacy and Lynch, MLB Pipeline’s respective Nos. 3 and 8 left-handed pitching prospects, are the obvious standouts in that group and give the Royals the highest-ranked southpaw duo of any organization. Lastly, the fact that nine of the top 15 spots K.C.’s Top 30 list belong to hitters bodes very well for an organization that has but a few long-term position players on its big league roster.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.