2018 Kansas City Royals Top 10 Prospects
|Royals Top 10 Prospects|
|1. Nick Pratto, 1B|
|2. Khalil Lee, OF|
|3. Seuly Matias, OF|
|4. Josh Staumont, RHP|
|5. Eric Skoglund, LHP|
|6. M.J. Melendez, C|
|7. Nicky Lopez, SS/2B|
|8. Hunter Dozier, 3B/OF|
|9. Foster Griffin, LHP|
|10. Scott Blewett, RHP|
For each organization, we identify the 10 prospects with the highest ceilings, with consideration given to the likelihood of reaching those ceilings.
To qualify as a prospect, a position player cannot exceed 130 big league at-bats, while a pitcher cannot exceed 50 innings or 30 relief appearances. These thresholds mirror major league rookie qualifications, albeit without regard for major league service time.
Notable Graduations: OF Jorge Bonifacio (9).
Trending:🔻 Royals fans have endured rebuilds before. At least this time the front office has a track record of success as a proof of concept.
SYSTEM OVERVIEWStrengths: The top three prospects in this system—Nick Pratto, Khalil Lee and Seuly Matias—all have the potential to be impact bats in a few years. They’re all many years away, but provide tantalizing glimpses of hope for a strong future in Kansas City.
Weaknesses: The top arms in this system, Eric Skoglund and Josh Staumont, have struggled with their command. Staumont in particular took a step back, walking nearly 8 batters per nine innings in 2017. They’ve also had a very rough run in the draft, with their top picks from 2011 through 2016 struggling with either performance or injuries. Two of those picks—lefty Brandon Finnegan and righty A.J. Puckett—have already been traded. Their top pick in 2015, righty Ashe Russell, has taken a leave of absence from baseball after early struggles in his pro career.
BEST TOOLS🔸Best Hitter for Average: Emmanuel Rivera. 🔸Best Power Hitter: Chase Vallot. 🔸Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Nicky Lopez. 🔸Fastest Baserunner: Terrance Gore. 🔸Best Athlete: Khalil Lee. 🔸Best Fastball: Josh Staumont. 🔸Best Curveball: Josh Staumont. 🔸Best Slider: Richard Lovelady. 🔸Best Changeup: Foster Griffin. 🔸Best Control: Jace Vines. 🔸Best Defensive Catcher: Cam Gallagher. 🔸Best Defensive INF: Nicky Lopez. 🔸Best INF Arm: Emmanuel Rivera. 🔸Best Defensive OF: Bubba Starling. 🔸Best OF Arm: Seuly Matias.
PROJECTED 2021 LINEUP
(Listed with 2021 season age)🔸C Salvador Perez (31) 🔸1B Nick Pratto (22) 🔸2B Nicky Lopez (26) 🔸3B Cheslor Cuthbert (28) 🔸SS Raul A. Mondesi (25) 🔸LF Seuly Matias (22) 🔸CF Khalil Lee (23) 🔸RF Jorge Bonifacio (28) 🔸DH Hunter Dozier (28) 🔸SP Danny Duffy (32) 🔸SP Jake Junis (28) 🔸SP Josh Staumont (27) 🔸SP Eric Skoglund (28) 🔸SP Foster Griffin (25) 🔸CL Kelvin Herrera (31)
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: SS Mike Moustakas (Royals) | WAR: 11.4 🔸2009: 3B Mike Moustakas (Royals) | WAR: ** 🔸2010: LHP Mike Montgomery (Cubs) | WAR: 4.9 🔸2011: 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) | WAR: 14.1 🔸2012: LHP Mike Montgomery (Cubs) | WAR: ** 🔸2013: RHP Kyle Zimmer (Royals) | WAR: N/A 🔸2014: RHP Kyle Zimmer (Royals) | WAR: N/A 🔸2015: SS Raul A. Mondesi (Royals) | WAR: -1.1 🔸2016: SS Raul A. Mondesi (Royals) | WAR: -1.1 🔸2017: RHP Josh Staumont (Royals) | Top 10
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals) | WAR: 14.1 🔸2009: RHP Aaron Crow (Did Not Play) | WAR: 2.4 🔸2010: SS Christian Colon (Marlins) | WAR: 1.8 🔸2011: OF Bubba Starling (Royals) | WAR: N/A 🔸2012: RHP Kyle Zimmer (Royals) | WAR: N/A 🔸2013: SS Hunter Dozier (Royals) | Top 10 🔸2014: LHP Brandon Finnegan (Reds) | WAR: 3.1 🔸2015: RHP Ashe Russell (Royals) | WAR: N/A 🔸2016: RHP A.J. Puckett (White Sox) | WAR: N/A 🔸2017: 1B Nick Pratto (Royals) | Top 10
|1. Nick Pratto, 1B 📹|
|BORN: Oct. 6, 1998|
|B-T: L-L | HT: 6-1 | WT: 195|
|DRAFTED: HS—Huntington Beach, Calif., 2017 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Rich Amaral.|
|MINORS: .247/.330/.414 | 4 HR | 10 SB | 198 AB|
Scouting Report: Pratto profiles as a middle-of-the-order hitter thanks to a low-maintenance swing, above-average bat speed and the ability to use the whole field. His loose wrists and advanced approach allow Pratto to adjust to pitches late. He’s still learning how to get to his power, but he drives balls to all fields and will add strength to an already powerful frame. Pratto is already a plus defender at first base with good footwork and instincts. He’s not flashy but knows how to play. His above-average arm and athleticism would allow him to handle a corner outfield position, but for now he’s a first baseman. Pratto is a below-average runner but with good instincts that should get him double-digit steals at least early in his career. He takes a solid attitude and demeanor to the field, maintains an even keel and is competitive by nature.
🔸Projected Future Grades On 20-80 Scouting Scale Hit: 60. Power: 55. Speed: 45. Field: 60. Arm: 55.The Future: Pratto has enough baseball savvy and experience for his age that he could likely handle a jump to full-season ball in 2018, with a possible assignment to low Class A Lexington. The Royals have a longer instructional league period than most other Arizona-based teams, so Pratto’s extra work and experience against more advanced pitchers in 2017 will help him make that next step. His upside is as a first-division first baseman at the big league level.
|2. Khalil Lee, OF 📹|
|BORN: June 26, 1998.|
|B-T: L-L| HT: 5-10 | WT: 192|
|DRAFTED: Oakton, Va., 2016 (3rd round)|
|SIGNED BY: Jim Farr.|
|MINORS: .237/.344/.430 | 17 HR | 20 SB | 451 AB|
Scouting Report: Lee’s high strikeout rate is less of a concern because of his advanced knowledge of the strike zone, which allowed him to walk 12 percent of the time in 2017. He projects to be an average hitter with more power to emerge with experience and strength. Some scouts don’t like his setup at the plate and he frequently struggles to get his foot down, but his hands are lightning quick and give him plus bat speed and good barrel control. Lee has above-average raw power to all fields with a swing that helps him put the ball in the air. Lee could have also been drafted as a pitcher and has plus arm strength. His his premium athleticism will let him handle center field. He moves well in the outfield and takes good routes. He will be at least an above-average runner, even as he gets bigger.
The Future: Lee projects as a starting outfielder capable of handling all three positions. He heads to high Class A Wilmington in 2018.
|3. Seuly Matias, OF 📹|
|BORN: Sept. 4, 1998|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-3 | WT: 204.|
|SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2015.|
|SIGNED BY: Fausto Morel.|
|MINORS: .243/.297/.423 | 7 HR | 2 SB | 222 IP|
Scouting Report: Scouts like to say that Matias passes the eye test. He’s an impressive physical specimen with twitchy athleticism and raw strength. He flashes explosive power to all fields with plus bat speed and a swing plane built for carry on fly balls. While still plenty raw at the plate, Matias handled breaking balls better in 2017 and didn’t chase as many pitches in the dirt. He still swings at fastballs up in the zone but has shown an ability to adjust. His plus arm makes him a natural fit for right field, his most likely position. He’s an above-average runner but may slow down a tick as he ages.
The Future: While he’ll still be a teenager in 2018, Matias will likely break camp with low Class A Lexington, where he’ll be challenged by better pitchers. He has prototype right field tools—but also a long way to go.
|4. Josh Staumont, RHP 📹|
|BORN: Dec. 21, 1993.|
|B-T: R-R | HT: 6-3 | WT: 200|
|DRAFTED: Azusa Pacific (Calif.), 2015 (2nd round)|
|SIGNED BY: Colin Gonzalez.|
|MINORS (2 teams): 6-12, 5.56 ERA | 138 SO | 97 BB | 125 IP|
Scouting Report: Staumont has top-of-the-rotation stuff, and he dominates hitters when he’s repeating his delivery and commanding his pitches. He has a plus-plus four-seamer that touches triple digits. His out pitch is a power curveball, thrown from a high three-quarters slot at 78-82 mph with depth and 11-to-5 tilt. It’s an above-average pitch now and could be a plus offering with more consistent command. He is also developing a changeup.
The Future: The key to Staumont’s success will be developing consistent control and not trying to be too fine. While some observers point to a future as a setup reliever, Staumont won’t need more than below-average control and a fringe changeup to work as a starter.
|5. Eric Skoglund, LHP|
|BORN: Oct. 26, 1992|
|B-T: L-L. | HT: 6-7 | WT: 200|
|DRAFTED: Central Florida, 2014 (3rd round).|
|SIGNED BY: Jim Buckley/Gregg Kilby|
|MINORS (2 teams): 4-5, 4.07 ERA | 103 SO | 32 BB | 104 IP|
Scouting Report: Skoglund battled through a lat issue early in 2017 but showed no ill effects. He gets lots of leverage and good plane from his 6-foot-7 frame. An above-average 90-95 mph fastball, which he elevates with two strikes, gets good movement and plenty of swings and misses. His heater gets good four-seam ride and armside tail, coming in late on righthanded batters. A solid-average curveball with good shape delivered at 80 mph is his best secondary pitch, followed by an 85 mph changeup with cut action he uses infrequently. Skoglund also mixes in an 87 mph slider that resembles a cutter, but it’s a work in progress.
The Future: Skoglund profiles as a No. 4 starter and will head to spring training looking to earn a shot in the 2018 big league rotation.
|6. M.J. Melendez, C 📹|
|BORN: Nov. 29, 1998.|
|B-T: L-R | HT: 6-1 | WT: 185.|
|DRAFTED: HS—Palmetto Bay, Fla., 2017 (2nd round)|
|SIGNED BY: Alex Mesa|
|MINORS (2 teams): .262/.374/.417 | 4 HR | 4 SB | 168 AB|
Scouting Report: At the plate, Melendez gets good carry off the bat with power to all fields, albeit with some swing and miss. He tends to get rotational in the batter’s box with a deep barrel dip and gets his weight out in front. He’s an average or better runner now. Melendez’s calling card is his defense behind the plate. He’s athletic with quick feet, good lateral mobility and good hands. He’s got at least a plus arm with sub-2.0 seconds pop times on throws to second base. He gets rid of the ball quickly and can throw from his knees, and while his arm stroke is a little long, he makes up for it with arm strength and explosiveness from the crouch.
The Future: Melendez projects as a first-division catcher. He could begin 2018 at low Class A Lexington.
|7. Nicky Lopez, SS/2B|
|BORN: March 13, 1995.|
|B-T: L-R| HT: 5-11 | WT: 175|
|DRAFTED: Creighton, 2016 (5th round).|
|SIGNED BY: Matt Price.|
|MINORS (2 teams): .279/.348/.356 | 2 HR | 21 SB | 517 AB|
Scouting Report: Lopez is a line drive type of hitter who takes good at-bats and gets on base with his good understanding of the strike zone and patient approach. He strokes balls gap to gap with a good feel for hitting, projecting as a plus hitter but with below-average power. He’s a plus runner with good baserunning instincts. Lopez is an average defender now at both shortstop and second base, projecting as an above-average defender. He’s not flashy, but with good range and instincts, Lopez gets to the ball and makes plays. He has enough arm for shortstop and a strong internal clock. He has at least an average arm now but could develop an above-average one with added strength.
The Future: Lopez’s reliability could play in a utility infield role in the not-too-distant future. With Raul A. Mondesi the Royals’ presumptive shortstop, Lopez could work his way into the picture at second base.
|8. Hunter Dozier, 3B/OF 📹|
|BORN: Aug. 22, 1991.|
|B-T: R-R | HT: 6-4 | WT: 220|
|DRAFTED: Stephen F. Austin State, 2013 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Mitch Thompson.|
|MINORS (3 teams): .243/.341/.441 | 4 HR | 1 SB | 111 AB|
Scouting Report: At Triple-A in 2017, Dozier built on the swing improvements he made the previous season, though he hit just .226 in 24 games and will have to hit to provide value to a big league team. He’s a below-average runner and fringe-average defender at his natural position of third base. He continued to see time in right field and projects as a second-division regular or bench bat capable of filling in at all four corner positions.
The Future: Dozier struggled in the Mexican Pacific League after the 2017 season. He will be 26 in 2018, when he has a good shot to make the big club because regulars Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were poised to depart as free agents.
|9. Foster Griffin, LHP 📹|
|BORN: July 27, 1995.|
|B-T: R-L | HT: 6-3 | WT: 200|
|DRAFTED: HS—Orlando, 2014 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Jim Buckley.|
|MINORS (2 teams): 15-7, 3.35 ERA | 141 SO | 54 BB | 161 IP|
Scouting Report: Griffin achieved better arm speed in 2017, which allowed him to make more quality pitches down in the zone. His fastball sits 88-92 mph, which was up a tick from before, and he located it better. His two-seamer has tail while his four-seam fastball has cut. He sharpened his 11-to-5 curveball as well. Griffin uses his changeup to keep hitters off balance. It’s a below-average pitch now but projects as an average or above-average offering.
The Future: After 18 starts at Double-A, Griffin may be ready to move up to Triple-A Omaha in 2018, when he will pitch at age 22. He has the upside of a No. 5 starter.
|10. Scott Blewett, RHP|
|BORN: April 10, 1996.|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-6 | WT: 210|
|DRAFTED: HS—Baldwinsville, N.Y., 2014 (2nd round)|
|SIGNED BY: Bobby Gandalfo.|
|MINORS: 7-10, 4.07 ERA | 129 SO | 52 BB | 153 IP|
Scouting Report: Blewett’s fastball sits in the 92-93 mph range and touches 96 at its best. It’s a relatively straight pitch but is heavy down in the zone and induces a lot of ground balls. Blewett’s 75-77 mph curveball has good depth and was sharper in 2017. It is now an average pitch. His below-average changeup is still in development, with the Royals encouraging him to use it more often. The pitch has good action, but its mid-80s velocity doesn’t provide enough separation from his fastball.
The Future: Blewett will face his toughest challenge yet when he moves to Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2018. If it all comes together for him, he projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
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