I received my Baseball America in the mail yesterday and opened it right up because it is the minor league top 20 prospects issue. The writers break down all of the league’s top prospects. I was curious how many (if any) KC Royals minor leaguers cracked the lists.
Let’s take a look.
Pacific Coast League: Triple-A Omaha had zero players on the top 20 prospect list, despite having the batting champion (Jose Martinez).
Texas League: Shortstop Raul Mondesi is ranked fifth. One manager was quoted as saying that he was the most exciting player in the league, despite playing most of the season at age 19.
One player in the top ten was part of the Ben Zobrist trading deadline deal. That would be lefty Sean Manaea, who pitched even better after the trade and pitching with Double-A Midland (who beat NW Arkansas in the championship).
Kyle Zimmer was ranked 15th, despite being shut down once again at the end of the season and only pitching in 15 games.
Carolina League: One player in the top ten was part of the Johnny Cueto trading deadline deal. That would be lefty Cody Reed, who was ranked sixth. While he was part of a piggy-back combination for most of the first half with the Blue Rocks, the CL All-Star excelled and continued his dominance after his promotion to NWA and definitely after the trade to Cincinnati.
Reed was also named the Southern League’s tenth best prospect after joining the Reds Double-A affiliate (Pensacola).
South Atlantic League: First baseman Ryan O’Hearn and his home run power was ranked 19th. He hit 19 homers with the Legends, before adding eight more with the Blue Rocks.
Appalachian League: The Royals top two picks in this June’s draft were ranked in the top 20. Top pick Ashe Russell came in at number 11, while Nolan Watson came in at number 16. Both made 11 starts with Burlington, but only Russell completed five innings in a start (his final start of the season).
Pioneer League: Idaho Falls, who went from worst to first and reached the championship, garnered two players in the top ten (and three overall). Italian shortstop Marten Gasparini was signed in 2013 and has played in just 77 games since his signing (he left the Chukars early to play for Team Italy). Obviously, he is very raw, but has a ton of speed (ten triples and 26 stolen bases) and athleticism. However, he strikes out a ton (80 in 197 at-bats) and makes a ton of errors (35 in 272 chances).
Second round pick Josh Staumont easily tops 100 mph, as he struck out 14.6 batters per nine innings with opponents hitting just .168 against him. Command was an issue coming out of college and he struggled a bit with the Chukars (24 walks in 31.1 innings).
Chukars Player of the Year Amalani Fukofuka ranked 13th. In his third year of rookie ball, he hit .339 with 18 doubles, nine triples, and three home runs.
Arizona League: Right-hander Gerson Garabito ranked ninth. The Dominican was signed back in 2012, with 2015 being his first season in the US. Garabito walked just 19 in 57 innings while striking out 42.
*For a complete list of the top 20 prospects for each league, click HERE.