Royals Top 10 Prospects Chat With JJ Cooper




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Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. This should be a fun chat, as it is always easy to chat about a system as stacked as the Royals have this year. It was tough ranking the top three (you could put them in any order). Then Lamb and Montgomery form a tier just below those top three. And if you wanted to flip No. 8 prospect Chris Dwyer with No. 6 prospect Christian Colon, I could see the argument. For that matter, the prospects ranked No. 9-No. 14/15 are all pretty bunched up as well.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How close to the Top 10 were Yodano Ventura and Robinson Yambati?

J.J. Cooper: Hi Ben. Ventura was quite close and Yambati could have made the top 10 of a thinner team. Both are very interesting prospects, but of course, they are a long ways from the majors. One of the key things will be seeing if both can stay healthy. A couple of years ago Kelvin Herrera's stuff was similar (if a tick below Ventura's), but he's been sidelined as much as he's pitched in the last two years. So there is plenty of reason to be excited about those two, now we just have to see them do it consistently at higher levels.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Does Montgomery still possess the best pure stuff of any Royals' arm?

J.J. Cooper: It depends on how you define stuff. Ventura's fastball is better, but if you are talking about fastball-curveball-changeup, yes Montgomery's stuff grades out the best for his top three pitches. The reason Lamb ranked ahead of him is largely because Lamb does it easier. Montgomery's best games will likely be better than Lamb's best, but Lamb has proven he can succeed even on days he doesn't have his best stuff. Add in Montgomery's injury problems this year (which don't appear to be a significant long-term concern, but still have to be factored in) and Lamb barely edged him.

    Gary (NYC): Your early impressions of Noel Arguelles? Is he in the 11-15 range?

J.J. Cooper: Arguelles has to prove he's healthy before I'd run him that high. Before his shoulder problems, he was one of the top prospects in the Royals' farm system. But he threw just a couple of innings in spring training, had to be shut down and eventually had to have his shoulder cleaned up with surgery. Obviously that raises some serious concerns until Arguelles can prove that his stuff is all the way back.

    Not JAYPERS (Not IL): Seriously JJ. Its one thing to put Hosmer ahead of Moose, but your Myers choice as number 2 makes me think you are simply trying too hard to be different. There is no chance Myers is the number 2 on this team, and I'll even wager with you that Moose ranks higher than both in your Top 100 as your silly ranking gets overruled. On a separate note...where's Chelsor..he's an animal.

J.J. Cooper: Wow, that's a lot of venom for a top three that is oh-so-close together when you rank them. I've enjoyed asking a lot of scouts and front office personnel around baseball how they would line those three up. What I've found is there is no consensus, and from people inside the game none of the certainty that you seem to have. I've had each of the three offered up as No. 1 depending on who was ranking them. Here are the reasons I had Myers over Moustakas—he has a better hit tool and he's a better athlete. Myers recognizes pitches better than Moustakas and outperformed him at the similar stage in their career—Myers succeeded against high Class A pitching in his first exposure to it in his first full pro season, while Moustakas struggled in Wilmington in his second full pro season. Moustakas definitely has better power (although Myers has plenty of power potential), but his tendency to make contact with most everything means he's more likely to be a .280/.320/.550 guy than a high average/high on-base guy with power. Myers could hit for a higher average than Moustakas, with a better on-base percentage, with a tick below Moustakas' power. I'll grab Cheslor in a question I've got lined up in the queue, so I'm not ignoring it.

    AC (Atlanta): Where did Cheslor Cuthbert fall on the top 30? I've heard nothing but good things about this kid.

J.J. Cooper: He's in the 11-20 range (for the exact spot, buy the Prospect Handbook). Like I mentioned about Yambati and Ventura, he's a very promising prospect who is a long ways away. The Royals are encouraged by his defense over at third base as well as his hitting potential. On the absolute upper end I heard an Adrian Beltre comp. I'm not saying that is going to be true (I also heard Edwin Encarnacion which seems like a more realistic one), but it's been thrown out there.

    Ben (Leland Grove): What was the reason given for Duffy's brief sabbatical from the game? Please tell us he's not another Greinke V. 2 in that respect.

J.J. Cooper: The reason given is that he was wondering whether being a baseball player is what he wanted to do with his life—could he make a bigger impact by doing something else. One of the points the Royals tried to make to him is that he can make an impact off the field with charity work that can garner a bigger impact because he is a baseball player and can bring attention to noteworthy causes.

    JAYPERS (IL): If you had to pick a lefty for your team, who wins and why - John Lamb or Matt Moore?

J.J. Cooper: Am I trying to win the game on Opening Day of 2011 or sometime in 2016? If you are talking about for right now I'd definitely go with Lamb—he's a much safer bet than Moore because of his much better command. But if you are talking about weighing long-term ceiling more heavily than immediate impact, I'd take Moore because his stuff is unhittable at his best.

    Don (Rosemont, IL): Tim Melville had a tough year, though he's still young for the CL. How was his stuff this year and do you figure that he'll repeat in Wilmington next year?

J.J. Cooper: You could usually tell if Melville was going to be good or bad from his first couple of pitches. When his tempo was good, he was pretty good and his stuff was what made him a top 10 prospect last year. When he slowed down and seemed to become very mechanical, he struggled. Like most pitchers he didn't have his best stuff every time out, but more than that he nibbled too much with stuff that is good enough to get hitters out.

    Chuck (Wichita): Your thoughts on the Dejesus trade? Would Marks have made the As top 30 again this year if he hadn't been traded?

J.J. Cooper: He definitely would have made the A's top 30. I don't think he's going to make the Royals Top 30. As far as the trade, Kansas City needed another starter, so they got one in Mazarro that doesn't cost them much money and who they control for many years to come. The fact that he's righthanded while almost all of Kansas City's best pitching prospects are lefties was another factor in the deal. If the Royals didn't pick up a starter to add to the rotation through a trade, they were either going to be spending money on an iffy veteran in the free agent market or shuffling through a laundry list of 4A guys with invites to spring training. It's not a sexy deal for them obviously, but it does give them one more major league ready pitcher to take a look at, and a semi-intriguing arm to develop long-term.

    Brad (MO): The Royals seem to be the consensus #1 minor league system due to the impact talent in their top 10, but how deep is Kansas City's system, does the bottom of their top 30 rank favorably with other top organizations depth?

J.J. Cooper: It's very deep. Of last year's top 30 prospects, 27 are still eligible for this year's list. Add to that the 6-7 prospects they added in trades, the 2010 draft and the Latin players they signed (like a pair of $1 million+ shortstops), plus the emergence of young players like Ventura and Yambati and it's an extremely deep system. Some guys who ranked last year had good years this year and moved down because of the increased depth. I would have been quite comfortable writing up 45+ guys for this year's list without feeling like I was writing about guys without a chance. There are guys in the 20+ range on this list who might make some other team's top 10s.

    Brad (MO): Who has the highest ceiling and floor of the following RHP's outside the top 10: Ventura, Yambati, Melville, Sample, and Adam?

J.J. Cooper: Ceiling: Ventura. Floor: Adam.

    Kyle (West Plains, MO): People question Colon's ability to stay at SS. What do you think?

J.J. Cooper: It's going to remain a question as no one I talked to thinks he'll ever be a Gold Glover. The guys who think he can stay at SS think he can be average there while making every routine play and being very steady with excellent instincts and positioning. The guys who don't think he'll be a tick below-average defensively, which will lead to a move to second base because teams usually like to have a 55 or 60 defensive SS at least.

    Bernie (Warwick, RI): Does Tim Mellville fall into the 11-15 range ? Was his 2010 season an abberation or is this just what he is ?

J.J. Cooper: He's in the 11-20 range. I think he will take a good bit longer to develop than some of the guys he was climbing the ladder with early in his career. He's not the athlete of a Lamb, Montgomery or Dwyer, so it takes him longer to make adjustments. The stuff is still there to be a solid middle of the rotation starter, but he obviously has plenty of work to do.

    Andrew (Kansas City): What do you think about Johnny Giavotella? Can he man second base for KC?

J.J. Cooper: Giavotella's future gets a lot murkier because of the addition of Christian Colon. If the Royals ever went out and picked up an above-average defensive shortstop, Colon would likely slide to second, blocking Giavotella. And if Colon stays at shortstop, then you run into the question of whether a team which plans to be built around pitching would be comfortable with a 50 glove at shortstop and a 45-50 glove at second base. Giavotella's bat is definitely solid, but his defensive questions will keep coming up as he heads to Omaha next year.

    Dean (Houston): Poor Aaron Crow was one of the top ranked college pitchers and how he isn't even projected to be one of the starting pitchers on your 2014 lineup. That really shows how improved KC's future appears to be. Do you believe he will become a relief pitcher or be used in a trade?

J.J. Cooper: I do believe that Crow will pitch in the big leagues for the Royals. The 2014 lineup think is a tool, but it's a pretty inexact one. I don't think Greinke will be in the 2014 Royals rotation, which opens up a spot right there (by rule we have to project every current player under contract will remain in town for the next four seasons). Or Crow could be the setup man for Soria getting ready to take over as the closer when Soria's contract finishes off at the end of the '14 season. Crow's stuff is still pretty impressive, he just has to fix some mechanical problems. The same thing could have been said for Daniel Bard a couple of years ago and it's worked out pretty well for him.

    Ryan Hall (Abingdon, MD): Both Yordano Ventura and Cheslor Cuthbert seem to have the tools to be successful. What have reports said about their work ethic and ability to make adjustments? And being a fan of the movie 'Sugar', I have to ask, did they have a hard time adapting to life in the US? Thanks for the chat!

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question. With Cuthbert, he speaks and understands a lot of English because the Corn Islands used to be a U.S. protectorate, so he has had an easier transition than most Latin American prospects.

    Roy (Omaha): Just who is Noel Arguelles and how did he get the fifth richest signing bonus in club history at $3.4 million?!?!? And he doesn't even crack this list??? Is this considered a rare bad move/signing by the front office?

J.J. Cooper: Arguelles was a Cuban defector the Royals signed last winter (he was in the Prospect Handbook, but not in the Royals section because he signed too late). When healthy he was a three-pitch lefty with potential to have three average or tick above average pitches. But as I noted above, that "when healthy" is a big caveat right now because of shoulder surgery. It's a sign of the depth of the system that having a $3.4 million bonus baby miss the entire season is more a blip than a catastrophe for the Royals.

    MJ (Valpo): Why would the Royals keep Myers at C? I don't get why a team would keep their best player and best athlete (or one of) behind the plate, especially when they're only available for 135-140 games. Why not move that player somewhere else where he can get 155+ games, and not get abused back there. Most WS champion teams throughout history have had average athletes at the catching position, with average numbers...the one thing they can do is receive a staff, block some balls, be a leader, and throw a few guys out once in a while. That whole philosophy still doesn't make sense to me, and I played D-I and professional ball! The Nats did the right thing by moving Harper to the OF, that's for sure!

J.J. Cooper: You just summed up exactly why I think the Royals will move Myers. It's not because he doesn't have the potential to catch—several scouts I talked to think he has the aptitude and the ability to be a big league catcher. But to do so would slow his development, and more importantly, it would, as you point out, likely limit him to 25-30 games less a season than he will play as an outfielder. It's worth noting that Joe Mauer has played more than 140 games once in his career. The Royals don't bring in middle-of-the-order bats through free agency, so they need their middle of the lineup guys to be out there most every day.

    Jim (Hagerstown, MD): Is it too early to call Noel Arguelles a bust?

J.J. Cooper: Way too early to call him a bust. But not too early to adopt a wait and see approach to see if he can fully bounce back from the surgery. When you hear the words "shoulder surgery" it's never a good sign, but there are plenty of pitchers who have bounced back from it. And then there are Ryan Anderson's who can never recover.

    Rodney Chinn (Ithaca, NY): In the best tools section, Montgomery's curve is listed as the best in the organization, while Dwyer's bio list his as the best—as I have seen and heard absolutely everywhere. Which is correct?

J.J. Cooper: That's a typo that's now fixed. Dwyer's CB is the best (although Montgomery's is quite good). Montgomery's at its best is nearly as good, but Dwyer's is more consistent.

    Rodney Chinn (Ithaca, NY): Was the choice of Hosmer over Myers (last year's choice) for best hitter for average pretty much a tossup?

J.J. Cooper: Pretty close. The reason for picking Hosmer this year is because he uses the whole field while Myers has more of a pull approach. Smarter baseball people than me (that's not a high bar to cross there) have told me they believe it's easier for a hitter who likes to go the other way to learn to pull the ball than it is for a pull hitter to start using the entire field. Hosmer's oppo approach with oppo power gives him a slightly better chance to hit for average. It's generally considered a more advanced approach.

    Bernie (Warwick, RI): Does having reconstructive elbow surgery officially end Jeff Bianchi's chances of becoming a major leaguer ?

J.J. Cooper: It doesn't end them, but it's a case of very unfortunate timing. Bianchi could have been up to help the big league club at some point in 2010. Now he has to head into the 2011 season hoping to prove he is healthy. And by the time he does that, he will have Christian Colon and Johnny Giavotella breathing down his neck.

    Dan (East Brunswick, NJ): Salvador Perez seems to be hugely under the radar in this system. What do his tools make his ceiling offensively and defensively? Would he be top 10 in most systems?

J.J. Cooper: He's not hugely under the radar. He's the best defensive catcher in the system with some offensive potential. Top 10 might be a little strong for him. Talking to people outside the organization I got mixed reviews. There's plenty of more details explaining why coming up in his writeup in the Prospect Handbook.

    Ryan Hall (Abingdon, MD): As a young offensive-minded catcher who might switch to RF, how would you compare Wil Myers to Bryce Harper?

J.J. Cooper: It's hard to compare anyone to Harper. Myers is a very, very good prospect, but he doesn't have Harper's power. But then, there are few people not named Mike Stanton among recent prospects who could get their power comped to Harper's. Harper is a better runner too with a better arm. And I think Myers is one of the best prospects in the game. Harper is just that good.

    Eric (Schaumburg, IL): What are your thoughts about Will Smith? (the pitcher, not the multimedia superstar) He's easy to lose in this system, but did put up some impressive numbers after coming over from the Angels. Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: I may not agree about Perez being overlooked, but in Smith's case, the onslaught of interesting pitching prospects makes him a guy who slips into the shadows. Smith shouldn't have been in Triple-A this year (and he has the stats to show for it), but he's a semi-interesting lefty in an organization with a thousand lefties.

    TT (Seattle, WA): Can we expect Lou Coleman to be in the ML bullpen in 2011? Does he have a closer ceiling?

J.J. Cooper: I'd expect to see him in Kansas City in 2011, but I think he'll end up more as a setup man.

    Brad (MO): In the case of Myers and Harper, wouldn't an athletic catching prospect have more value if they were moved to third before a corner outfield spot? There are numerous cases of third basemen transitioning to the outfield, but none that I can think of the other way around. Both played some shortstop in highschool, could they play third or would the gloves still not be ready when the bats are?

J.J. Cooper: In the case of Myers, the problem with moving him to third is they have a pretty good prospect who would likely block him there. Of the Royals top three, Myers fits the outfield the best. Since the other two are a 1B and a 3B, it makes sense that if Myers is going to move, he moves to an OF corner. When you throw in the fact that the Royals' best young big league hitter is a first baseman/designated hitter and it becomes even easier to move him to the outfield.

    Gage (Denver): When looking at a potential infield defense that includes Moustakas, Colon, and Giavotella, it seems like future KC teams will heavily rely on offense. Is it realistic to think KC can win games with a below average defense?

J.J. Cooper: That's the point I was trying to make in my previous comment about Colon and Giavotella. If the Royals traded Greinke, I wouldn't be shocked to see them try to land a plus glove shortstop in the deal. I would expect that the Royals will have a 55-60 glove at one of the two middle infield spots long-term, but that's purely my speculation.

    Clint (Omaha, NE): What did you hear and see out of Jason Adam at instructs?

J.J. Cooper: Sorry I had to duck out to do a quick phone interview there. Back now. Very, very good things. More details will be in the Prospect Handbook, but he was showing front-end of the rotation stuff.

    HankScorpio (KC): Is Hosmer definitely a 1B all the way? I'm curious about how the Royals will solve the Butler/Ka'ahuie/Hosmer log jam. (Assuming, optimistically, that Ka'ahuie hits this year.) Seems Hosmer would be the one of those 3 that has the athleticism to move to an outfield corner.

J.J. Cooper: If you were saying which one of those could move it's Hosmer, but I haven't heard any suggestions that he'll move to the OF permanently. He takes fly balls in the outfield at times, but the Royals think he could be a well above-average 1B defensively, which is where they project him to play.

    Drew (Ashland): Thoughts on Everett Teaford? He had a very strong 2nd half due to some delivery tweaks, and some think he could challenge for a rotation spot this year.

J.J. Cooper: Teaford had one of the best years as a pop-up prospect of anyone in the organization. He showed better velocity which helps him project more as a big leaguer now than he did in the past. If the Royals have some injuries, I wouldn't be shocked to see him get a shot in the big leagues this year, but he better hurry up and get established, because there are a lot of higher ceiling guys who will start the year in Double-A right behind him.

    Paul (Pullman, WA): Is Darian Sandford the second fastest guy in the system now behind Dyson? Do you see him following in Dyson's footsteps, or is there not enough bat there?

J.J. Cooper: The Royals could put together a track team with Dyson, Sandford, Derrick Robinson, Paulo Orlando (a former actual track guy), Hilton Richardson, Adrian Ortiz and others. Sanford is among the fastest of that group, but he has a lot of prove with the bat. And he'll be a 24-year-old in A ball this year.

    Kyle (West Plains, MO): Humberto Arteaga is a guy that no one is talking about. Can you give us a quick report on him as he was ranked as the best infielder defensively in the system?

J.J. Cooper: A full report will be in the Prospect Handbook (he made the top 30), but he's a glove-first shortstop who has a solid swing but needs to add strength.

    Drew (El Dorado Springs, MO): What do you see in David Lough's future? Is he a 4th outfielder or a possible starter? If I remember correctly, he was on this list last year.

J.J. Cooper: It's hard to see him being the everyday center fielder in Kansas City and he doesn't have enough pop to be a regular as a corner outfielder, so that seems to peg him more as a fourth outfielder, but one with a decent hit tool and plenty of speed.

    Brian (Nashville): How has Jeff Bianchi's rehab from Tommy John progressed so far? What can we expect from him next year?

J.J. Cooper: It's a pretty similar timetable to Mike Aviles' from last year as far as recovery. Expect to see him head to Triple-A Omaha. It often takes a little while to get your swing back after T.J., so he may have a slow start, but he should warm up as the weather warms up.

J.J. Cooper: It's a pretty similar timetable to Mike Aviles' from last year as far as recovery. Expect to see him head to Triple-A Omaha. It often takes a little while to get your swing back after T.J., so he may have a slow start, but he should warm up as the weather warms up.

    Brian (Nashville): What is your take on the position Wil Myers will play next season? Is Salvador Perez advanced enough at catcher that the Royals will feel comfortable in moving Myers to the OF?

J.J. Cooper: It's hard to say for next season. I'll predict that Wil Myers will end up as a corner outfielder, but it's hard to say if that switch will happen in spring training, during the 2011 season or some time even later than that.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): The Wilmington Blue Rocks have been to the postseason 14 out of the 17 years they have been in existance. All but two of these years have been with Kansas City. The Royals sure do stock the Wilmington team well! Who are a few of the names you expect KC to put in Wilmington to continue this wonderful record in 2011?

J.J. Cooper: It will be hard to top the prospects they've sent there the last two years with Hosmer, Moustakas, Lamb, Colon, Montgomery, Dwyer, etc. I'd expect the WIlmington club will be better in the second half next year than the first half. Because the Royals drafted numerous college players who are on similar timetables to the high school prospects drafted in previous years, there is a dip in the talent level that was in Burlington last year. So the 2011 Blue Rocks won't be as stacked as the 2010 club. Tim Melville should be back, Kelvin Herrera could be there as well. Possibly catcher Jose Bonilla. And Brett Eibner could be there at some point.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Infielder Kurt Mertins was going great in AA, but sputtered in AAA. Does he still make the top 30 prospect list? What 's his arrival time in Kansas City?

J.J. Cooper: Hard to make this Top 30. If this was the 2007 Royals list, maybe. But not this year's.

    The Missouri Kid (Kansas): Is this system deep enough for the Royals to be legtimate contenders this decade?

J.J. Cooper: Well it's fair to say that if it isn't, then the Royals will be starting over in the front office and on the field at the big league level. This team is built to be a contender in the next three or four years once this wave of prospects in high Class-A and Double-A makes it to the big leagues and settles in. One of the biggest jobs Kansas City has over the next 2-3 years is figuring out which prospects are the keepers and which ones should be traded away to fill holes in the big league roster. Even with all these prospects, there will be positions where Kansas City needs help. A reasonable comparison would be the Reds' team that started promoting Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs and all a couple of years ago. This year they made it to the playoffs. Cincinnati hit on a string of prospects, with Votto turning into an MVP candidate while Bruce, Stubbs, Homer Bailey and Cueto (the rest of the Reds Top 5 prospects in 2008) all playing significant roles on the big league club. But even with that, Cincinnati needed to acquire Brandon Phillips on the cheap, Scott Rolen through a trade and other moves like that to fill in the holes.

    Steve (Wilmington): Is Jayson Werth a fair comparison for Wil Myers?

J.J. Cooper: I've heard that thrown around, and both were tall catchers coming up through the minors (I was lucky enough to see Werth catch for Delmarva in 1998), but Werth was a .265/.360/.467 minor league hitter. Myers has shown a much better hit tool than Werth did at a similar point in his career. At the same time, I think Werth is a little better athlete than Myers.

    Clint (Omaha, NE): With the strength of the system and Moore's hopes of contending 2013 do you see the Royals drafting a college guy in that first round again?

J.J. Cooper: I wouldn't be shocked. But at the same time, Kansas City has already added Colon, Louis Coleman, Patrick Keating, Kevin Chapman and others as the college wave to move up with the high school crew. That left the lower levels of the minors a little thinner than they have been in recent years, so I would expect to see the same mix of college/high ceiling high school players we saw in the 2010 draft.

    Dan (Brentwood, TN): How did Pat White look in instructs? Where will he be assigned for full season ball?

J.J. Cooper: Plenty of athleticism, good defense and receptiveness to instruction. His swing is a long, sweepy one that has to be shortened up to play in the minors. But he showed some power when he connected. Hard to say as far as where he'll go. He's shaking off so much rust that spring training will determine a lot.

    Paul (Pullman, WA): I think most people expected this to be a wasted season for Crow due to the layoff - similar to Hochevar. Luke's stuff has rebounded now - at least velocity-wise, how do you see Crow compared to him?

J.J. Cooper: Crow's stuff is better than Hochevar's, although Hochevar's command and delivery are better than Crow's. I think Crow will be significantly better in 2011—his stuff was still good when his mechanics weren't out of whack. But he overthrew a lot and seemed to dig himself into a deeper hole every time he reared back and tried to blow another hitter away.

    Mike (KC): Does any other organization compare in depth or quality to the Royals LSP's prospects?

J.J. Cooper: Right now. Probably not. I haven't seen every team's Top 30 yet, but the Royals depth at LHP is insane.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Rowdy Hardy was going nowhere, but he radically changed his delivery a couple of years ago. He seems to be on track now. Prospect or organization guy?

J.J. Cooper: I'd lean toward org guy. Not a knock against a very good competitor, but his stuff is well below some of the other guys we're talking about in this chat.

    Chris (Chicago): Two part question. Hypothetical but fun to think about. If the Royals trade Greinke a.) what could they realistically get for him and b.) where would they fit on the Top 10? For example, if they got Montero and Banuelos from the Yanks, where would they fit? Thanks for answering my question!

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question. As far as a) that's hard to say. Take a look at what Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay have brought in trades—that's a pretty fair comp as far as Greinke's value in a trade. B). Taking your hypothetical, Montero would likely rank. No. 2 if I was putting together a list, but he fits right in that top three group. If you want to argue him No. 1, I'd see the argument, and I could even see him ending up at No. 4 behind those three, there's just not much separation there. As far as Banuelos, I'd put him at No. 9 behind Dwyer, although again, I could see the argument for anywhere between No. 6 and No. 9.

    Chuck (Wichita): How close to the top ten is Salvador Perez? And does his emergence make it easier for the Royals to move Myers to the outfield?

J.J. Cooper: Perez wasn't really that close to cracking the top 10. The Royals' decision on Myers will be based entirely on what they want to do with Myers, not Perez' emergence. Perez is solid, but he's not a good enough prospect to knock Myers off the position.

    Dean (Houston): How close were the top five to being considered for the top spot? It seem that you could have put them in any order. Is any team even close to having an equal top five?

J.J. Cooper: I feel comfortable in saying this is the best top five among all of this year's Top 10s, and that will be reflected when the Top 100 comes out.

    Allan (Hartland Wi): J.J. what is approximate ceiling for Eibner, or a fair MILB, MLB comp? Thanks

J.J. Cooper: I'm going to throw out a name that will make Royals' fans cringe. I heard a "Jeff Francouer physically with hopefully a better hit tool" comp. Also heard his swing path compared to Pat Burrell's.

    JAYPERS (IL): In the past, BA had speculated that Moustakas would eventually be pushed to the OF, yet you have him at 3B on the 2014 lineup card. Has he sufficiently proven himself at the hot corner in your eyes?

J.J. Cooper: Moustakas has shown enough first-step agility to make many scouts think he can stick there. He's not likely to win a Gold Glove, but he should be OK over there especially when you consider he'll hit enough to forgive the occasional ball that gets through.

    Don (Rosemont, IL): Was there room for either Clint Robinson or Paulo Orlando at the back of the list?

J.J. Cooper: I will give one ranking away. As of right now, Clint Robinson is No. 30 on the Royals Top 30 I filed. That could change before the book is printed.

    matt (KC): The Royals acquired many prospects through trades over the last 6 months: Elisaul Pimentel, Kevin Pucetas, Will Smith, Justin Marks, Lucas May. Which of these do you like to have the biggest impact in the major leagues?

J.J. Cooper: May will make the biggest short-term impact because he could catch a lot in 2011. Long-term Pimentel has a pretty interesting arm.

    Dennis (Chicago): With the Royals system so deep, how far down the list could you go and still have the #1 ranked prospect for a team with a poor system? How many Royals make the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: If you are picking the absolute worst No. 1 prospect on another team, I could see No. 8 Chris Dwyer being in the discussion for No. 1.

    Matt (KC): Was there a player that was really hard to leave off the top 30, but you couldn't find a way to sneak him in?

J.J. Cooper: There were several guys who didn't make it who would have in most years, but I'll give you two deep, deep, deep sleepers who have been basically unmentioned anywhere. Neither of these guys was anywhere close to the Top 30, but Nick Rogers and Nick Blanco both showed impressive stuff in instructs. They are a pair of NDFA's. Blanco almost signed with the Royals after his senior year in college before going to Mexico to pitch. The Royals kept tabs on him and signed him out of there and sent him to instructs. There he showed a solid 92-94 mph fastball that touched 97. Rogers was a third baseman and pitcher at North Carolina A&T who made the MEAC all-conference team. His delivery has plenty of effort and he's working on developing a second pitch, but he was consistently topping 95 mph in instructs.

    DRetter (Chicago): Hypothetical: let's say the Royals commit a serious paperwork snafu and accidentally release every one of their Top 10 prospects (these *are* the Royals, after all...) Where would their farm system rank then? I'd have to think that with guys like Johnny Giavotella, Cheslor Cuthbert, Jason Adam, Salvador Perez, Tyler Sample, Tim Melville, Derrick Robinson, Noel Arguelles and others, the Royals would still have a decent system - maybe below-average, but far from the worst in the majors. A fair assessment?

J.J. Cooper: Yeah. It would be below average because it would lack any elite prospects, but it wouldn't be the worst out there because they'd still have depth beyond the top 10.

    Ben (Buffalo, NY): What have you heard about Jarrod Dyson? His stats don't jump out, but apparently he is a toolbox and some scouts are very high on him.

J.J. Cooper: Dyson's the toughest guy in the Royals system to rank. How much value do you put on excellent defense and speed? If you think he can hit, you rank him pretty high. If you think he's offensively challenged, he ranks a lot lower. I won't give away where he will rank in the Prospect Handbook, but I will say there are people outside the organization who think he'll hit some in the big leagues.

    Rob (Alaska): I'm hoping you can talk more about Wil Myers' chances of sticking behind the plate. There was an in-depth feature on BA this summer that indicated the Royals are committed to that even if it takes him longer to reach the majors. Would you say that's changed?

J.J. Cooper: I think it's a constant debate the Royals are going to keep having. They saw this year that he can do it. Now they have to decide if it's worth doing.

    Mike (Pleasant Hill, MO): Do Colon, Duffy, and Dwyer all have a pretty good shot at making the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: I think they all have a chance.

J.J. Cooper: I think they all have a chance.

    Darryl (Toronto): When does the top 100 usually come out?

J.J. Cooper: Right around Valentine's Day. We have to get all the Top 10s out first (we still have 24 to go) and the Prospect Handbook.

    Andrew (KC): Buddy Baumann. What can we expect the Royals to do with him?

J.J. Cooper: They have some time to figure it out, but he's somewhat intriguing. He has solid velo, hides the ball well and projects as a potentially useful reliever.

J.J. Cooper: OK, I need to write up the Minor League Team of the Year for our next issue, so I need to wrap it up. But thanks for the questions, and I'll try to answer some more over at my twitter feed (@jjcoop36). Thanks to everyone for subscribing.