2014 Kansas City Royals Top 10 Prospects

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For any Royals fan under the age of 30, the 2013 season provided a new experience—September games that actually mattered.

With 86 wins, Kansas City won more games than it had in any season since the 1980s. Thanks to the dual wild card system, the Royals sat on at least the periphery of the playoff chase until the final week of the season.

1. Kyle Zimmer, rhp
2. Yordano Ventura, rhp
3. Raul A. Mondesi, ss
4. Jorge Bonifacio, of
5. Miguel Almonte, rhp
6. Sean Manaea, lhp
7. Hunter Dozier, 3b
8. Bubba Starling, of
9. Jason Adam, rhp
10. Christian Binford, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Hunter Dozier
Best Power Hitter Bubba Starling
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Hunter Dozier
Fastest Baserunner Terrance Gore
Best Athlete Bubba Starling
Best Fastball Yordano Ventura
Best Curveball Kyle Zimmer
Best Slider Kyle Zimmer
Best Changeup Miguel Almonte
Best Control Christian Binford
Best Defensive Catcher Parker Morin
Best Defensive Infielder Raul A. Mondesi
Best Infield Arm Jack Lopez
Best Defensive Outfielder Bubba Starling
Best Outfield Arm Brett Eibner
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Salvador Perez, c (23) Majors
2. Eric Hosmer, 1b (24) Majors
3. Kyle Zimmer, rhp (22) Double-A
4. Yordano Ventura, rhp (22) Majors
5. Raul A. Mondesi, ss (18) Low Class A
6. Mike Moustakas, 3b (25) Majors
7. Danny Duffy, lhp (25) Majors
8. Jorge Bonifaco, of (20) Double-A
9. Miguel Almonte, rhp (20) Low Class A
10. Sean Manaea, lhp (22) Did not play
11. Hunter Dozier, 3b (22) Low Class A
12. Kelvin Herrera, rhp (24) Majors
13. Bubba Starling, of (21) Low Class A
14. Tim Collins, lhp (24) Majors
15. Jason Adam, rhp (22) Double-A
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Zack Greinke, rhp Dodgers
2005 Billy Butler, 1b Royals
2006 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2007 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2008 Mike Moustakas, 3b Royals
2009 Mike Moustakas, 3b Royals
2010 Mike Montgomery, lhp Rays
2011 Eric Hosmer, 1b Royals
2012 Mike Montgomery, lhp Rays
2013 Kyle Zimmer, rhp Royals
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Billy Butler, 1b Royals
2005 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2006 Luke Hochevar, rhp Royals
2007 Mike Moustakas, ss Royals
2008 Eric Hosmer, 1b Royals
2009 Aaron Crow, rhp Royals
2010 Christian Colon, ss Royals
2011 Bubba Starling, of Royals
2012 Kyle Zimmer, rhp Royals
2013 Hunter Dozier, 3b Royals
Bubba Starling, 2011 $7,500,000
Eric Hosmer, 2008 $6,000,000
Alex Gordon, 2005 $4,000,000
Mike Moustkas, 2007 $4,000,000
Sean Manaea, 2013 $3,550,000
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It was a more thrilling season than any in Kansas City in years. But a repeat in 2014 won't come close to being enough.


If 2013 was the year the Royals returned to respectability, then 2014 is the time for October baseball in Kansas City. The front office ensured as much when it dealt away Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi in a December 2012 trade that brought righthanders James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.

Shields gave the Royals the first ace they've had since Zack Greinke left town. But he arrived with two years remaining on his current deal. In trading away six-plus cost-controlled years of Myers, the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year, and Jake Odorizzi, the Rays' No. 1 prospect, for two years of Shields, the Royals explicitly traded away the long term for a short-term gain.

That short term now has one year remaining. Shields did everything the Royals could have expected in 2013, going 13-9, 3.15 and leading the AL with 34 starts and 229 innings, to help the club climb from the basement to third place in the AL Central. But if he leaves in free agency after the 2014 season without a Royals playoff appearance on his résumé, it's fair for fans to consider the trade a short-sighted failure.

Kansas City actually disappeared from the playoff race in May thanks to a brutal 6-22 stretch that included an eight-game losing streak. But the streaky club rallied back into contention, getting a boost from rookie right fielder David Lough, who proved a significant improvement on veteran Jeff Francoeur, as well as franchise icon George Brett. The Hall of Famer became an interim hitting coach and helped spur a bounceback season from first baseman Eric Hosmer.

The Royals built their best pitching staff in years, thanks in part to the acquisition of Shields and the trade for righthander Ervin Santana, but even more so because of the best bullpen in baseball. Greg Holland developed into one of the game's best closers and he was well supported by Tim Collins, Aaron Crow, Will Smith and Luke Hochevar, who was revitalized by a move to the bullpen.

The next step for the Royals is to develop homegrown starters, so they don't have to continue trading players such as Myers for pitchers. Their top two prospects are starters: 2012 first-rounder Kyle Zimmer and diminutive righty Yordano Ventura, who was the majors' hardest-throwing starter in September. And they got one of the 2013 draft's top arms in lefty Sean Manaea, whom they signed for $3.55 million as the 34th overall pick.

The Royals may have other complementary pieces ready to help soon. Their Triple-A Omaha team won the Pacific Coast League, despite a 70-74 record, and then the one-game Triple-A National Championship.