MLB.com aired their annual Top 100 Prospects show on MLB Network on Friday night. Not surprisingly, the KC Royals had just one player ranked in the top 50, but five players overall in the top 100.
Why is it not surprising that the Royals only had one player ranked in the top 50 prospects?
They only had three players ranked in the top ten at each position. Two of those were left-handed pitchers.
Shortstop Raul Mondesi was the highest ranking Royal, coming in at number 40 (just ahead of Baltimore’s Hunter Harvey, Washington’s Michael Taylor, and Toronto’s Dalton Pompey, who reached the big leagues in 2014). Last year, he was ranked 38th.
As a shortstop, he was ranked seventh out of the top ten. He was ranked ahead of big names like Trea Turner (Washington), Daniel Robertson (TB), and Tim Anderson (who also played in the Carolina League in 2014 in the Chicago White Sox system).
Mondesi ranked behind big names like Carlos Correa (Houston), Francisco Lindor (Cleveland), Addison Russell (Chicago Cubs), Corey Seager (LA Dodgers), JP Crawford (Philadelphia), and Nick Gordon (Minnesota). The top four are expected to reach the big leagues sometime in 2015.
The American League Central has a talented group of shortstops coming up, as four of the five teams have a shortstop ranked in the top ten.
MLB.com graded Mondesi out as follows:
Hit 50, Power 45, Run 70, Arm 60, Field 60, Overall 55
Next up on the top 100 prospects list was lefty Sean Manaea, who ranked at number 56. He was ranked number six among all lefties. He ranked behind big names like Julio Urias (LA Dodgers), Carlos Rodon (CWS), Daniel Norris (Toronto), Henry Owens (Boston), and Andrew Heaney (LA Angels). That top five should pitch in the big leagues in 2015 (two of which have already made their big league debuts: Norris and Heaney). Last year, Manaea was ranked 66th.
If Manaea pitches the way he did in the second half of the 2014 season, he could provide the Royals some help at the end of the 2015 season. Or I see him taking Jeremy Guthrie’s rotation spot in 2016.
MLB.com graded out Manaea as follows:
Fastball 65, Slider 55, Changeup 50, Control 50, Overall 55
Despite not being able to stay healthy, right-hander Kyle Zimmer ranks 58th among MLB.com’s top prospects. When healthy, Zimmer may have the best stuff of any Royals pitcher. The problem is keeping him healthy. The Royals do not expect him back on the mound until May (or June) and I am hoping that they let him rehab (at least for a few games) in Wilmington so he can face his younger brother Bradley (who will probably be playing with Lynchburg). Last year, Zimmer was ranked 41st.
MLB.com graded Zimmer out as follows:
Fastball 70, Curveball 65, Slider 55, Changeup 55, Overall 55
Though he ranked in the top ten among lefties, Brandon Finnegan somehow ranks behind Zimmer in the top 100 prospects. Finnegan came in at number 75 and was the tenth best left-handed pitcher.
Scouts are not as high on Finnegan as a starter because of his small stature (5’11) and mechanics, but he did just fine as a starter at TCU. With all the money the Royals invested in him ($2.2006 million), I see him heading to the minors to work as a starter. If he struggles in that role, expect to see him back in the bullpen.
MLB.com graded Finnegan as follows:
Fastball 65, Slider, 55, Changeup 50, Control 50, Overall 55
Last but not least is right-hander Miguel Almonte, who came in at number 84. Expected to be a quick mover in 2014 after his dominating performance for Low-A Lexington in 2013, Almonte never moved out of High-A Wilmington because of inconsistency (remember he was just 21). Last year he was ranked 86th.
Almonte pitched much better in the Arizona Fall League and then winter ball for Dominican Winter League champion Gigantes. If he pitches like that in 2015, he will once again be on the fast track to the big leagues.
MLB.com graded Almonte as follows:
Fastball 65, Curveball 50, Chnageup 60, Control 55, Overall 55
As you can see, none of the Royals prospects were given an overall grade higher than 55.
The one Royals prospect that I was surprised missed the cut was third baseman Hunter Dozier (he was ranked 85th and eighth among third baseman in 2014). Though he struggled after his promotion to Double-A at midseason in 2014 (because he changed his approach at the plate and got too pull happy), I think he is only about a year away from taking the big league third base job.