Kansas City Royals Top 10 Prospects 2011

When Dayton Moore took over as Royals general manager in mid-2006, one of the first things he said he wanted to do was figure out a way to develop pitching. “If you have 20 pitching prospects,” he said, “you might get four or five to the big leagues.”

Now he has his pitching prospects, and plenty of position prospects as well. Thanks to a willingness to spend large amounts of money in the draft and a solid player-development system, the Royals now have the deepest farm system in baseball. If Moore is going to be a success in Kansas City, it will depend on the young talent coming up through the organization.

That focus on the future is good news for Moore, because little has gone right for him at the big league level. The Royals have been just as disastrous under Moore as they were under previous GM Allard Baird. Kansas City has topped 70 wins only once in Moore’s four-plus years running the franchise, and only twice in the last decade.

And it’s hard to say that the 2010 Royals were any better than the group Moore inherited back four years earlier. Kansas City continues to rank near the bottom of the American League in most significant batting, pitching and fielding stats. Many of the cornerstones of the current team—Billy Butler, David DeJesus, Zack Greinke—already were in the big leagues or nearly ready when Moore took over.

With a farm system bereft of talent when he arrived, Moore ended up signing a revolving cast of low-level free agents and veteran trade acquisitions to fill holes at the big league level. Few of them have turned out to be finds, and most were soon headed elsewhere. That steady stream of mercenaries should start to slow down in 2011, thanks to a system almost ready to start producing significant big leaguers.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas should filter into the lineup at some point during the season, and first baseman Eric Hosmer could join him before the end of 2011. All five of the Royals’ top pitching prospects—John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy, Chris Dwyer, Aaron Crow—will open the year in the Double-A Northwest Arkansas rotation, and some of them could bolster the big league staff later in the year. It will be 2012 before the majority of their best prospects reach Kansas City for good, however, which likely means another season of struggling at the big league level.

By devoting resources to player development, the Royals finally have found a possible path of success. They rank fifth in draft bonus expenditures over the last five years at $37.8 million, and spent heavily again in 2010 to land shortstop Christian Colon ($2.75 million), outfielder Brett Eibner ($1.25 million) and righthander Jason Adam ($800,000). They’ve also done well internationally, finding such talents as Dominican righthanders Yordano Ventura and Robinson Yambati, Nicaraguan third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and Venezuelan shortstop Humberto Arteaga in the last three years.

But just as their investments are starting to pay off, the Royals may have to plan a different approach. There has been much talk about a mandated slotting system for the draft beginning in 2012, which would cost Kansas City one of the few competitive advantages a small-revenue team can have—a willingness to sign over-slot players.

1. Eric Hosmer, 1b
2. Wil Myers, c
3. Mike Moustakas, 3b
4. John Lamb, lhp
5. Mike Montgomery, lhp
6. Christian Colon, ss
7. Danny Duffy, lhp
8. Chris Dwyer, lhp
9. Aaron Crow, rhp
10. Brett Eibner, of

Best Hitter for Average Eric Hosmer
Best Power Hitter Mike Moustakas
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Wil Myers
Fastest Baserunner Jarrod Dyson
Best Athlete Derrick Robinson
Best Fastball Yordano Ventura
Best Curveball Chris Dwyer
Best Slider Aaron Crow Best Changeup John Lamb
Best Control John Lamb
Best Defensive Catcher Salvador Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Humberto Arteaga
Best Infield Arm Mike Moustakas
Best Defensive Outfielder Jarrod Dyson
Best Outfield Arm Jordan Parraz

Catcher Salvador Perez
First Base Eric Hosmer
Second Base Johnny Giavotella
Third Base Mike Moustakas
Shortstop Christian Colon
Left Field Alex Gordon
Center Field Jarrod Dyson
Right Field Wil Myers
Designated Hitter Billy Butler
No. 1 Starter Zack Greinke
No. 2 Starter John Lamb
No. 3 Starter Mike Montgomery
No. 4 Starter Danny Duffy
No. 5 Starter Chris Dwyer
Closer Joakim Soria

2001 Chris George, lhp Orioles
2002 Angel Berroa, ss Giants
2003 Zack Greinke, rhp Royals
2004 Zack Greinke, rhp Royals
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 Royals

2001 Colt Griffin, rhp Out of baseball
2002 Zack Greinke, rhp Royals
2003 Chris Lubanski, of Blue Jays
2004 Billy Butler, of Royals
2005 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2006 Luke Hochevar, rhp Royals
2007 Mike Moustakas, 3b Royals
2008 Eric Hosmer, 1b Royals
2009 Aaron Crow, rhp Royals
2010 Christian Colon, ss Royals

Eric Hosmer, 2008 $6,000,000
Alex Gordon, 2005 $4,000,000
Mike Moustakas, 2007 $4,000,000
Luke Hochevar, 2006 $3,500,000
Noel Arguelles, 2010 $3,400,000

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