|11-03-2016, 09:11 PM|
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*** Official 2017 Royals Offseason Repository ***
The reign is over. Time to begin the quest for the next one.
Interesting offseason opens for the Royals. Will they go all in for one last shot with this crew? Will they re-tool for 2018 and beyond? Will Dayton Moore actually decrease payroll this time?
Trades, free agent signings, rumors, plans, proposals... dump 'em all here, for this is... the offseason repository!
Royals Top Prospects, 2017
This is a list that’s going to seem a little bleak initially, as Raul Mondesi got enough ABs to age out of the prospect rankings (just barely – at 135 ABs, he is not rookie eligible). But that said, I like the talent and feel like this is a system that will actually be underrated by the prospect services.
Format: POS/Name/2017 Projected Final Level
1) 3B/OF Hunter Dozier, MLB. Dozier bounced back from a disastrous 2015 campaign that had many wondering, myself included, if he was wrecked. His strong offensive performance in 2016 saw Dozier recapture the mature approach that many liked coming up, while also starting to tap into his above-average raw power for the first time.
In addition to his success at the plate, Dozier also proved he could at least HANDLE an OF spot, which could put him in the conversation for 2017 playing time at the major leagues. If the Royals DO end up trading Cheslor Cuthbert, Dozier could find a decent amount of MLB playing time sliding between RF and 3B. With Moustakas recovering from knee surgery, he likely will need more regular breaks from the field. And the streaky Paulo Orlando is just not an intriguing short-side platoon partner for Jarrod Dyson.
2) LHP Matt Strahm, MLB. Strahm just barely skates under the rookie eligibility rules for a pitcher, so he can be included here. Royals fans already got a taste of the lefty’s abilities, as he used his above-average fastball and slurve to dominate out of the pen in 2016. For him to translate that dominance to the rotation, Strahm will need to maintain his velocity (92-94) and continue to improve a changeup that flashed average at times.
If the changeup becomes a weapon he can lean on against righties, Strahm could be a very solid mid-rotation starter and fringe ToR/No. 2 type (think Danny Duffy-lite).
3) RHP Josh Staumont, AAA. This one could blow up on me and look really silly by this time next year, but I’m encouraged by what we saw from Staumont late last year. He showed significantly improved control down the stretch for Northwest Arkansas, including some impressive playoff starts, while maintaining the big-time K ability. That trend continued in the Arizona Fall League.
If Staumont’s control holds, the Royals have a guy with a plus fastball, plus-plus curve, and average change (with a slider that could develop into a real weapon as he matures). He’ll start next season at AAA and could be an addition to the MLB bullpen or even the rotation before the season ends.
4) RF Jorge Bonifacio, AAA. Boni, like Dozier, had a bounceback season in 2016 with the bat, and also played 15-20 pounds lighter than the year before, which added some nice defensive utility according to reports I’ve gotten. He now looks like a guy could provide solid/average RF production in the major leagues… Average defense paired with potential to put up a .275/.335/.450 line. While that’s not all-star level, it IS playable. Especially at pre-arbitration dollars. He’ll get another year in Omaha to refine his approach, and likely be in the mix of a 2018 mini-youth movement… unless moved for MLB reinforcements.
5) C Meibrys Viloria, Low-A (Lexington). I haven’t seen him in person, but I like the pedigree. You’ve got a lefthanded hitting catcher with the defensive ability to stick behind the plate. He was a big-bonus guy out of Colombia (nearly $500k). And his offensive performance has been highly impressive early, with a good combination of power, plate discipline, and contact skills.
He’s forever away from the majors, just now clearing rookie ball, but Viloria is the most exciting prospect KC has had at Idaho Falls since someone on this board was gushing about a 16-year-old SS tearing it up.
6) 1B Ryan O’Hearn, AAA. O’Hearn is a guy who has never gotten a lot of hype from scouts, but he continues to be a strong producer. He’s someone who likely will strikeout about 25 percent of the time at the big-league level, but has the ability to be a .500+ SLG guy. That plays. He also has shown good patience at the plate, posting above-average OBPs at every level.
Bold prediction: I won’t be shocked if O’Hearn takes over at 1B for KC in 2018/2019 and provides similar offensive production to Hosmer out of the gate. He’s probably never going to be a consistent plus average (.290+) hitter, but .270 with 25 HR is something within reach for him. He’ll get his first shot at AAA in 2017.
7) RHP AJ Puckett, A+. Puckett is a high floor, low-ceiling guy who performed about as you’d expect in 2016 after being the Royals’ first pick in the 2016 Rule IV Draft. He’s not flashy, but Puckett does profile as a solid potential back-end starter. Good fastball command and an above-average changeup are his calling cards. If Puckett finds a reliable breaking ball to put batters away, this could tick up. Great athlete, very similar to Jake Odorizzi in that regard.
8) RF Khalil Lee, Low-A (Lexington). Lee was a two-way player in HS and many viewed him as a pitcher first as a pro, but the Royals drafted him as an OF and were reward with a strong debut campaign. Lee is not a big guy, but he produced solid power numbers despite that. He’s a dynamic athlete who could contribute with power and speed.
9) C Chase Vallot, High-A (Wilmington). Vallot has an intriguing bat, with plus raw power. Got off to a great start in 16 before being sidelined and then sidetracked by injury. RH bat may be good enough to push him out from behind the plate, where he has good tools but a long way to go.
10) RHP Jake Junis and RHP Alec Mills (AAA). I'm copping out here and including both at No. 10 because they're so similar. Like Puckett, they each project as a serviceable back of rotation starter. Similar stuff and profiles, though Junis has shown a little better strikeout ability and may have a smidge more upside as a result.
Others of note:
SS/CF Marten Gasparini. Production has been bad for this toolsy player, but Gasparini has speed and pop that jump out at you. At only 19, need to be patient with him... this European signee was even less polished when signing at 16 than the typical Latin America prospect.
OF Seuly Matias. Loud, loud tools. Matias profiles as a classic RF... big-time power potential. He's a long ways from the majors but is one of the Royals' biggest bonus babies from LA.
RHP Ashe Russell. 2014 1st rounder saw his velocity disappear last year and was quickly shut down. He's intriguing one way or the other, even if he ends up as another notch in the belt of the TINSTAAPP saying.
2B Corey Toups. O'Hearn's HS teammate has been an above-average producer for an up-the-middle player. His small stature hides a surprising amount of pop. Could turn into a Mark Grudzielanek type of offensive second baseman at his peak - solid average, lots of 2Bs.
RHP Scott Blewett, LHP Foster Griffin, RHP Nolan Watson - all three have underwhelmed as pros but were drafted in the supplemental round. Stuff and projectability for each is a positive. Wouldn't be surprised to see one of them take a Cody Reed-like step forward this season and crack the 50-75 range on prospect lists. They all have the natural ability.
SS/2B Ricky Aracena - Jose Altuve-sized Aracena is a switch hitting middle infielder who can flat out run. Switch hitter with a good approach.
RHP Pedro Fernandez - I'm still a believer in his stuff, even if he is destined for the pen. Was having a nice 2016 start until injuries derailed him right after his promotion to AA.
Sirs not Appearing in this Prospect List:
RHP Kyle Zimmer. Same story, different year. The Royals are hopeful they FINALLY found the cause of Zimmer's achy shoulder. If they really did, and he can stay healthy, the talent/potential is exciting.
OF Bubba Starling. Never trust a guy named Derek.
Last edited by duncan_idaho; 11-03-2016 at 09:38 PM..
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