Kansas City Royals Top 10 Prospects
Index of Top 10 Prospects for all 30 Major League Teams
By Jim Callis
1. Angel Berroa, ss
Age: 22. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 175. Signed: Dominican Republic, 1997. Signed by: Santiago Villalona (Athletics).
Background: Berroa is the exception to the rule that the Athletics take advantage of the Royals whenever the two clubs swing a trade. In recent years, Oakland has plucked Scott Chiasson (for Jay Witasick), Kevin Appier (for Jeff DAmico, Brad Rigby and Blake Stein) and Jermaine Dye (in a three-team deal that left Kansas City with Neifi Perez). Kansas City did make out well in January 2001, when it gave up Johnny Damon and infield prospect Mark Ellis in another three-team transaction. Roberto Hernandez and A.J. Hinch were disappointments, but Berroa gave the Royals the shortstop prospect they coveted. He set career highs in most offensive categories while improving defensively. Called to the majors in September, Berroa started for the final two weeks of the season and held his own. He stacks up against the top shortstop prospects in the minors.
Strengths: Berroa has Gold Glove potential at shortstop, where theres nothing he cant do. He has plenty of range and arm. He can get outs by making the long throw from deep in the hole as well as charging slow rollers. He got steadier in 2001, cutting his errors to 33 after making 54 in 2000. Unlike most standout middle-infield defenders, he can hit. With his speed and pop, Berroa could be a 20-20 player. He led all minor league shortstops with 60 extra-base hits last season.
Weaknesses: In order to hit at the top of a lineup, Berroa will need to draw more walks. He consistently puts the ball in play early in the count rather than working pitchers. He has become much less nonchalant in the field, though some high Class A Carolina League managers thought he showed off his arm too often. He can become more proficient as a basestealer after getting caught 12 times in 39 attempts last year.
The Future: Royals scouts thought Berroa was two years away from being ready for the majors at the time of the trade. But he has developed much more quickly than expected and will get a look in spring training. He has considerably more upside than Perez, so even if Berroa begins the year at Triple-A Omaha he shouldnt stay there long.
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