- Full name Ryan Rexford Royster
- Born 07/25/1986 in Eugene, OR
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Churchill
- Drafted in the 6th round (165th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2004 (signed for $160,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
The make-or-break point in a player's career often comes when he has to respond to adversity for the first time. That's what Royster faced during a 2008 campaign after a string of impressive performances earlier in his career. He was Princeton's MVP in 2004 and Hudson Valley's in 2006, then won the Rays' minor league player of the year award in 2007 after leading the South Atlantic League with 30 homers. He did earn Vero Beach's MVP award last season, but that had much to do with the club's overall lack of production. Much of Royster's home run power was compromised by the Florida State League's larger ballparks, and he was hitting just .201 at the end of May. His concentration lapsed at times and he took poor at-bats with him to the field. However, Royster was able to make adjustments at the plate and cope with his frustration with balls dying on the warning track, hitting .307 in the final three months. He has the strength and bat speed to produce at the plate at higher levels, though better plate discipline is a must. He moves well for his size and has good baserunning instincts, though his speed is below-average. Defensively, he struggled with his lateral movement while having to cover more ground in the spacious FSL outfields. His arm strength is average and he fits best in left field. Tampa Bay would like to see Royster make more strides with his mental approach in Double-A this year.
After three years in short-season leagues, Royster had a breakthrough season in 2007 and was named the Rays' minor league player of the year. He won the system's triple crown and led the South Atlantic League with 30 homers, 65 extra-base hits and a .601 slugging percentage. He homered in six straight games in August and finished the season with a double and homer in the clinching game of the SAL championship series. Royster is a classic country boy with tremendous bat speed and plus-plus raw power to all fields. He cut down on his swing midway through the season and displayed improved patience at the plate. His hands work exceptionally well, enabling him to control the bat head and put the barrel on the ball with impressive consistency. His swing is particularly effective from the point of contact through the finish. He has surprising speed for his size and good instincts on the bases. Though he moves well, Royster needs to upgrade his routes to balls in left field as well as the accuracy of his throws. His arm strength is fringy. Offensively, he's working on covering the outer half of the plate better and upgrading his strike zone discipline. Royster has the righthanded power to play at the game's top level. The Rays are interested to see how his pop will play in 2008 in the pitching-friendly Florida State League.
Minor League Top Prospects
In his fourth year as a pro, Royster finally got a shot at a full-season league and nearly won the SAL triple crown. He topped the league in homers (30), and finished one off the lead in RBIs (98) and third in hitting (.329). He also paced the circuit in slugging percentage (.601) and extra-base hits (65). "I thought he was the best player in the league that I saw," Delmarva manager Gary Kendall said. "He has a great approach at the plate and he's a good all-around player. I don't see how he didn't win the league MVP award." Royster's strength is his hands, which allow him to control the bat head and put the barrel on the ball with great consistency. According to Morrison, the righthanded-hitting Royster drives the ball to right field better than most lefthanded pull hitters. His speed and left-field defense are nothing special.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009