The next three on MLB.com’s KC Royals top prospect rankings at the end of July consisted of three of their newest players: all 2014 draft picks and all three were high schoolers.
Let’s start with right-hander Scott Blewett, who came in at number 11.
The Royals drafted Blewett in the second round and gave him close to $800,000 to keep him from going to St. John’s. They then sent him to rookie level Burlington to start his professional career.
The numbers weren’t promising: 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA in eight games (seven starts). Over 28 innings, Blewett allowed 27 hits (.266 average), including three home runs. He walked 15 and hit three, but he did strike out 29.
Scouts believe Blewett already has the look of a big leaguer at 6’6, 210. He works in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball. That velocity, along with his offspeed pitches, still needs work.
Despite his youth (he will still be 18 when the 2015 season begins), Blewett has a sound delivery.
Where Blewett ends up in 2015 depends on how hard he works this offseason. He could easily start the season in Low-A Lexington, or he could be held back in extended spring training.
Catcher Chase Vallot was selected 40th overall this past June. He was touted more for his offense than his defense coming out of high school. MLB.com ranked him at number 10.
Vallot’s quick swing with leverage gives him above-average power, as he hit seven home runs in his professional debut with Burlington. He also hit 14 doubles and drove in 27 runs.
With the B-Royals, Vallot had a .329 on-base percentage (26 walks) in 53 games, though he did strike out 81 times and only hit .215. He only went 11-for-58 with runners in scoring position.
Vallot has a strong arm and good movement behind the plate, though his transfer and receiving skills need alot more work.
Vallot won’t turn 19 until the middle of August, so the Royals could keep him in extended spring training to work on improving behind the plate. The Royals have a ton of no-hit catchers in their minor league system, so Vallot could see Lexington by at least midseason.
Coming in at number nine was lefty Foster Griffin, who was drafted late in the first round. Scouts believe he is advanced with a good feel for his three pitch repertoire (fastball in the low 90s, a changeup, and a slider).
Griffin was a two-way player in high school, so it will be interesting to see his upside once he focuses solely on pitching.
In their blurb on Griffin, MLB.com wrote that he throws strikes and pounds the strike zone. In his professional debut with Burlington, he walked 12 and struck out 19 in 28 innings. However, he only allowed 19 hits (a .186 average) and ten runs in 11 starts.
Griffin is in the same boat as Blewett, though he is already 19 (July 27th is his birthday). The Royals could push him to Lexington in 2015 or hold him back for some extra work in extended spring training. It really depends on his work in the offseason (and the pitchers in front of him).
Stay tuned tomorrow for a look back at #8.