Where the Royals' Top 30 prospects are starting season

April 4th, 2023

With the Minor League season opening this week, here's where the Royals’ Top 30 prospects are projected to start:

1) Gavin Cross (MLB No. 62), OF -- Quad Cities (High-A)
2) Ben Kudrna, RHP -- Columbia (Single-A)
3) Maikel Garcia, SS -- Omaha (Triple-A)
4) Nick Loftin, UTIL -- Omaha (Triple-A) 
5) Cayden Wallace, 3B -- Quad Cities (High-A)
6) Drew Waters, OF -- Injured (left oblique strain)
7) Frank Mozzicato, LHP -- Columbia (Single-A)
8) Tyler Gentry, OF -- Omaha (Triple-A)
9) Angel Zerpa, LHP -- Injured (left shoulder tendinopathy)
10) Carter Jensen, C -- Quad Cities (High-A)
11) Jonathan Bowlan, RHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
12) Beck Way, RHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
13) Luca Tresh, C -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
14) Andrew Hoffmann, RHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
15) Asa Lacy, LHP -- Extended spring training
16) Alec Marsh, RHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
17) Diego Hernandez, OF -- Injured (right shoulder dislocation)
18) Mason Barnett, RHP -- Quad Cities (High-A)
19) Austin Charles, SS -- Extended spring training
20) Peyton Wilson, 2B/OF -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
21) Samad Taylor, 2B/OF -- Omaha (Triple-A)
22) Noah Cameron, LHP -- Quad Cities (High-A)
23) T.J. Sikkema, LHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
24) Will Klein, RHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
25) Lizandro Rodriguez, 2B -- Columbia (Single-A)
26) Chandler Champlain, RHP -- Quad Cities (High-A)
27) Daniel Vazquez, SS -- Columbia (Single-A)
28) Tucker Bradley, OF -- Omaha (Triple-A)
29) Steven Cruz, RHP -- Northwest Arkansas (Double-A)
30) Luinder Avila, RHP -- Quad Cities (High-A)

Team to watch
The Royals graduated tons of prominent prospects in 2022, leaving Cross as their only Top 100 prospect entering the season. The former Virginia Tech star begins his first full season at High-A Quad Cities, and he won’t be the only intriguing bat headed to the Midwest League. Fellow 2022 pick and 2021 third-rounder add some additional thump to the River Bandits lineup, while Barnett, Cameron and Avila bring three different styles to the pitching staff. This might be where the next significant wave to Kansas City starts.

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

Players we could see in MLB in 2023
Garcia is coming off a stellar winter-ball experience in Venezuela and is off to another hot start with Triple-A Omaha. After getting 22 at-bats last year with the big club, the Royals’ No. 3 prospect should get several more looks this summer, even if he has to move off shortstop in deference to Bobby Witt Jr. to make it happen. Loftin is still seeking out his debut, but his own versatility at second, third, short, center and left will only help his case. Waters (oblique) should figure into KC’s open center-field discussion once healthy, while Zerpa (shoulder) could provide depth once he’s able to come off the 60-day injured list.

New faces
Cross (first round) and Wallace (second round) teaming up in Quad Cities is exciting, considering both 2022 picks provide above-average power that could help them take off in their first full seasons. Cruz was acquired from the Twins in a January trade for Michael A. Taylor and brings a 96-100 mph fastball to his new organization. He’ll open at Double-A after posting a 5.14 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 35 walks in 56 innings at the level last year.

On the shelf
Waters is only one day of Major League service time away from prospect graduation, but that time will have to wait after he suffered a left oblique strain in late February. He opens the year officially on the Major League 10-day injured list. Zerpa’s placement on the 60-day injured list portends a longer return from his left shoulder tendinopathy. Similarly, Diego Hernandez was added to the 40-man roster last fall but will be delayed three to four months after suffering a dislocated right shoulder in Spring Training. Lacy hasn’t opened with an affiliate as he’s roughly a week behind other pitchers but has been throwing sides back at the complex in Arizona.