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Kansas City Royals

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  1. 1. Bobby Witt | SS
    Bobby Witt
    Born: Jun 14, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Colleyville, Texas, 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Chad Lee

    Hitting: 60. Power: 60. Running: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: The son of 16-year major league pitcher Bobby Witt, Bobby Jr. has been around the game his entire life. He blossomed into a regular at premier national showcases while at Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High and shined on the national stage when he won the high school home run derby in Washington prior to the 2018 All-Star Game. He won the High School Player of the Year award in 2019 and was drafted second overall by the Royals. He signed for a franchise-record $7.789 million. Witt made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League and was slated to head to full-season ball in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season. He spent the early days of the pandemic working out with major and minor league players near his Texas home, joined the Royals for summer camp in July, spent the remainder of the season at their alternate training site and finished up at instructional league camp at Kauffman Stadium.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Witt projects as a premier starting shortstop with five impact tools. He struggled a bit in his pro debut and raised concerns about how much he swung and missed, but that’s now a distant memory after he began getting more aggressive in his approach. He showed signs of turning the corner at 2019 instructional league and took a big jump in 2020 while facing more advanced pitchers. Witt’s hit tool is borne through plus bat speed and a short, compact, low-maintenance swing. The swing-and-miss concerns disappeared with his improved approach, and he vastly improved hitting with two strikes. He now projects to be at least an average hitter, and possibly plus. Witt’s plus power has never been in question, and there is now increased confidence he will make enough contact to get to it regularly. Already a plus runner with solid instincts on the bases, Witt worked regularly with Royals coaches to become even better instinctually. There is no doubt about him defensively. He projects to be a solid shortstop with elite hands, a good first step and good body control, rounding out the package with a plus, accurate arm. Witt also saw time at third base during the summer and handled the position well.

    THE FUTURE: Witt still has to show he can maintain his improved approach and contact skills over a full season, but there is now increased confidence that he will reach his ceiling as an all-star shortstop in the mold of Troy Tulowitzki. Even with the missed season, he made enough progress that a Double-A assignment seems likely at some point in 2021.

  2. 2. Daniel Lynch | LHP
    Daniel Lynch
    Born: Nov 17, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Virginia, 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: Jim Farr.

    Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 50. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: One of three college pitchers drafted by the Royals in the first round in 2018, Lynch missed time with arm discomfort in his first full season but starred in the Arizona Fall League to finish 2019. He earned an invitation to major league spring training in 2020, continued working with the big leaguers during summer camp and spent the season at the alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Lynch’s velocity jumped between college and pro ball and he continues to maintain that improved velocity. His fastball explodes on hitters at 94-97 mph and touches 99 with life and sinking action out of his long, lanky frame. Lynch’s best secondary pitch is a hard, mid-80s slider with late bite and depth at the bottom of the zone, and he’s worked to gain confidence in his changeup to throw it to both lefties and righties. He rounds out his arsenal with an average curveball he can locate for strikes. At the alternate site, Lynch improved his mechanics to better repeat his delivery. His three-quarters arm slot features a clean motion, granting him above-average control of his potent stuff.

    THE FUTURE: Lynch should team with Asa Lacy to give the Royals a pair of lefties at the top of their rotation before long. His major league debut is on the horizon in 2021.

  3. 3. Asa Lacy | LHP
    Asa Lacy
    Born: Jun 2, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Texas A&M, 2020 (1st round).
    Signed By: Josh Hallgren.

    Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 60. Curveball: 55. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: Lacy cemented his status as the top pitcher in the 2020 draft with a 0.75 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 24 innings for Texas A&M before the season shut down. The Royals, ecstatic he was still available, drafted him fourth overall and signed him for $6.67 million. Lacy reported to the alternate training site but missed a couple of weeks due to an eye issue. He returned to participate in the instructional league program at Kauffman Stadium.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Lacy earned frequent plaudits as the best college lefthander scouts had seen in years. A big, physical southpaw at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he comfortably works 92-96 mph and touches 98 with solid ride on his fastball. Lacy’s slider is his strikeout pitch. It’s an 87-90 mph wipeout offering that neither righthanded nor lefthanded batters can touch. His changeup flashes plus potential and his curveball was even better than expected in camp, flashing plus as well. All of Lacy’s stuff plays up with the deception he generates from a fluid, downhill delivery. His command is more average than plus, but he throws strikes and his stuff overpowers hitters even without precise command.

    THE FUTURE: Lacy has front-of-the-rotation potential and could move quickly to the majors.

  4. 4. Jackson Kowar | RHP
    Jackson Kowar
    Born: Oct 4, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Florida, 2018 (1st round).
    Signed By: Jim Buckley.

    Fastball: 60. Changeup: 70. Curveball: 50. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: Kowar teamed with Brady Singer to lead Florida to the 2017 College World Series title as the Gators’ top two starters. The Royals drafted both of them in the first round in 2018, Singer with the 18th pick and Kowar with the 33rd. Kansas City kept them together as they ascended to Double-A. Singer jumped to the majors in 2020, but Kowar stayed back at the alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Kowar’s changeup is the gem of his arsenal. It’s a nasty, plus-plus offering at 83-85 mph that confounds hitters with its trapdoor action. It generates swings and misses from both lefthanded and righthanded hitters, and he’s comfortable throwing it in any count. Kowar pairs his changeup with a two-seam fastball that checks in at 93-96 mph with armside sink. He has a tendency to overthrow his fastball, so he worked at the alternate site to keep his delivery more under control and improve his fastball command. Kowar’s mid-70s curveball is a work in progress, but it’s a potentially average pitch he is learning to locate on both sides of the plate. He throws plenty of strikes with at least average control.

    THE FUTURE: Kowar’s major league debut should come in 2021. He projects to join Singer in the middle of the Royals’ rotation for years to come.

  5. 5. Kris Bubic | LHP
    Kris Bubic
    Born: Aug 19, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Stanford, 2018 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Josh Hallgren.

    Fastball: 50. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 50. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: One of five college pitchers taken by the Royals on the first day of the 2018 draft, Bubic led the minors with 185 strikeouts in 2019 and jumped straight from high Class A to the majors in 2020. He made a favorable impression on manager Mike Matheny in spring training with his approach and demeanor and held his own after his callup, logging a 4.32 ERA with a strikeout rate of 8.8 per nine innings over 10 starts despite the massive jump in level.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Bubic is a polished lefthander who relies on his ability to mix and locate three pitches. His fastball sits 90-92 mph and can touch 94. The pitch itself is unremarkable, but it pairs well with an above-average changeup in the low 80s he’s able to keep down in the zone. Bubic’s curveball is his third pitch, but it was his most effective offering in the majors as an average pitch with 1-to-7 shape and solid bite. Bubic has a strong, durable body and generates some deception by hiding the ball in his delivery. He has the potential for above-average control but did not show it in the majors.

    THE FUTURE: Bubic has a chance to settle in as a solid, back-end starter as long as he sharpens his command and control. He’s in the mix for a rotation spot in 2021.

  6. 6. Kyle Isbel | OF
    Kyle Isbel
    Born: Mar 3, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 183
    Drafted/Signed: Nevada-Las Vegas, 2018 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Kenny Munoz.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 40. Running: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: Isbel delivered a sensational pro debut after the Royals drafted him in the third round in 2018. He hit .326 with seven home runs and 26 stolen bases in 64 games, spending the majority of his time with low Class A Lexington. But Isbel’s progress was stalled in 2019 by injuries to his hamstring and hamate bone. He finished the year on a high note with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League and spent 2020 at the Royals’ alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: When healthy, Isbel shows a solid set of tools across the board to go with fast-twitch athleticism. He consistently puts together good at-bats with a swing naturally geared to hit line drives. Isbel showed emerging power at the alternate site during the summer that gave the Royals hope he could approach 15-20 home runs to go with high batting averages. A second baseman in college, Isbel is still relatively new to the outfield and improved his routes and jumps working with Royals coach Mitch Maier. With plus speed, a quick first step and more experience in the outfield, Isbel projects to be a plus defender with an average arm. He’s a gamer who plays above his tools.

    THE FUTURE: Isbel is penciled in as the Royals’ center fielder of the future. He should see the upper minors in 2021.

  7. 7. Erick Pena | OF
    Erick Pena
    Born: Feb 20, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2019.
    Signed By: Edis Perez.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 55. Running: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: Peña was one of the top players in the 2019 international class and signed with the Royals for $3,897,500 on July 2. He was scheduled to make his professional debut in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic limited him to working out at his home in the Dominican Republic. He joined the Royals for instructional camps in Kansas City and Surprise, Ariz.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Peña is a big, physical hitter with excellent balance, strong hands and a level swing. He shows advanced bat-to-ball skills for his age and has a chance to develop plus power as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. Peña’s offensive ceiling is high, but it’s all projection—he will be 18 years old in 2021, has yet to play a professional game and struggled with swings and misses at instructs. Peña’s lower half has thickened up since he signed, cementing his future as a corner outfielder. He showed improvement defensively this summer with a good feel for reading fly balls and an average arm. Peña has a strong work ethic, is mature for his age and already speaks English fluently.

    THE FUTURE: Peña doesn’t turn 18 until spring training and still has a lot of growth ahead. He has a chance to be the Royals’ right fielder of the future, but it will take time.

  8. 8. Nick Loftin | SS
    Nick Loftin
    Born: Sep 25, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Baylor, 2020 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Josh Hallgren

    Hitting: 55. Power: 40. Running: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 40.

    TRACK RECORD: Loftin took over as Baylor’s shortstop midway through his freshman year and posted an OPS above .800 in each of his three seasons for the Bears. He showed increased power in 2020 to raise his draft stock before the season shut down, and the Royals drafted him 32nd overall and signed him for $3 million. Loftin spent the summer working out at home in Corpus Christi, Texas, before joining the Royals’ instructional league program in Kansas City.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Loftin possesses mostly average tools that play up because of his high baseball IQ. He has prototypical leadoff skills as a hitter with a clean, simple swing geared for contact. He has some emerging pull-side power, but doubles and triples are more his game than home runs. Loftin is a solid, instinctual defender who can play both middle-infield positions. He has enough arm strength for shortstop and the athleticism to move around the field. Loftin has just average speed, but his instincts help put him in position to make every play.

    THE FUTURE: Loftin is the type of player for whom the final product will be greater than the sum of his individual tools. The Royals dream of him developing into another Whit Merrifield, who starred at South Carolina but wasn’t viewed as an impact big league while a prospect.

  9. 9. Jonathan Bowlan | RHP
    Jonathan Bowlan
    Born: Dec 1, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 248
    Drafted/Signed: Memphis, 2018 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Travis Ezi.

    Fastball: 55. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: The Royals drafted the massive, husky Bowlan in the second round in 2018 and signed him for $697,500. They implored him to get in better shape and he responded, slimming down and adding strength each year since being drafted. Bowlan’s career highlight came when he threw a no-hitter at high Class A Wilmington in 2019, and he was a late addition to the Royals’ alternate training site in 2020 before taking part in their instructional league program in Kansas City.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Bowlan is an intimidating presence at 6-foot-6, 248 pounds and throws a heavy, 93-96 mph fastball that jumps on hitters with the extension he generates out of his delivery. Both of Bowlan’s secondary pitches flash above-average potential. His darting, low-80s slider has late bite and he shows feel for a changeup he will throw to both righthanded and lefthanded hitters. Despite his big body, Bowlan repeats his delivery with a clean arm action and pounds the strike zone. He has above-average life and deception on all of his pitches and goes right after hitters.

    THE FUTURE: Bowlan projects as a workhorse toward the back of a rotation. With the Royals flush with rotation prospects, he could also thrive in a multi-inning relief role.

  10. 10. Nick Pratto | 1B
    Nick Pratto
    Born: Oct 6, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Huntington Beach, Calif., 2017 (1st round).
    Signed By: Rich Amaral.

    TRACK RECORD: Pratto had a long amateur track record, notching the winning hit in the 2011 Little League World Series and starring for USA Baseball's junior national teams throughout high school. The Royals drafted him 14th overall in 2017 and signed him for $3.45 million. Pratto was supposed to be a polished hitter who could move fast, but he's instead struggled to make contact and hit .191/.278/.310 at high Class A Wilmington in 2019. He spent 2020 at the Royals' alternate training site.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Pratto's swing was non-functional in games, so he refined his body and hand movement at the alternate site to find a more efficient bat path and get his bat in the zone sooner. He had also been overly passive at the plate, but the Royals saw progress that resulted in an uptick in his walk rate and hard-hit rate and a drop in his strikeout rate at the alternate site. Pratto has always been a standout defender at first base with good hands and footwork. He's a below-average runner but has sneaky instincts that allow his speed to play up on the bases.

    THE FUTURE: Pratto still has to prove he can hit in live games. If he doesn't, he was a standout pitcher in high school and could move to the mound.

  11. 11. Austin Cox | LHP
    Austin Cox
    Born: Mar 28, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Mercer, 2018 (5th round).
    Signed By: Jim Buckley.

    TRACK RECORD: Cox was coming off a strong 2019 season split between the two Class A levels just over a year after being drafted from Mercer in the fifth round. He spent the summer at the alternate training site, adjusting to facing more advanced hitters and working on his secondary pitches.

    SCOUTING REPORT: The strength of Cox's repertoire is a plus fastball that he gets to both sides of the plate in the 90-94 mph range. He delivers his pitches with good arm speed and a low-effort, repeatable delivery. Complementing the fastball is a plus curveball in the high 70s with downer movement and good depth. His slider is a newer pitch, offering a different shape from the curveball, and he worked all summer on the changeup, trying to get feel for it and gain comfort with the pitch. The pitches play up because of how well Cox commands them, and he's learning to be more competitive in the zone.

    THE FUTURE: With two plus pitches and outstanding command, Cox would certainly not be out of place as a power arm near the back of the bullpen if he never develops a solid third pitch. He'll likely head to Double-A for the start of the 2021 season.

  12. 12. Alec Marsh | RHP
    Alec Marsh
    Born: May 14, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Arizona State, 2019 (2nd round supplemental).
    Signed By: Kenny Munoz.

    TRACK RECORD: Drafted in the second supplemental round in 2019 from Arizona State, Marsh began his career with a promising pro debut at Rookie-level Idaho Falls where he showed use of four pitches and significantly lowered his walk rates from his college career. After pitching a few games in a pop-up league in Texas, Marsh reported to the Royals alternate training site late in the summer.

    SCOUTING REPORT: The biggest change for Marsh during the summer of 2020 was an increase in his fastball velocity. Previously sitting 90-94 mph with both a two-seamer and a four-seamer, he added several ticks and is now touching 99 mph. The extra velo changes his profile, especially with the new high-powered fastball being complemented by his cerebral approach to pitching and solid secondary pitches. His best secondary is an 11-to-5 power curveball that has good shape and depth, which he pairs with a short, tight slider resembling a cutter. He previously needed more separation between the breaking balls but they now look like different pitches, with the curveball averaging 80 mph and the slider 86 mph. He has feel for a solid-average or better changeup that he throws with good arm speed and natural sink. Marsh delivers his pitches from the same arm slot with a clean, repeatable delivery.

    THE FUTURE: If he maintains the velocity increase, Marsh profiles as a solid, reliable mid-rotation starter. He'll make his full-season debut in 2021.

  13. 13. Ben Hernandez | RHP
    Ben Hernandez
    Born: Jul 1, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Chicago, 2020 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Scott Melvin.

    TRACK RECORD: Hernandez didn't get a high school season in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn't affect his draft stock. The Royals drafted the Chicago-area product in the second round and gave him a $1.45 million bonus to forgo an Illinois-Chicago commitment. An advanced pitcher well ahead of his years, Hernandez finally was able to don a Royals uniform for the fall instructional league program in Arizona.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Hernandez resembles fellow Royals farmhand Jackson Kowar because of his potent fastball-changeup combination. Some observers say Hernandez has the best changeup they've ever seen from a high school pitcher, and he showed in live batting practice sessions in the fall he can get swings and misses with it. His fastball is another plus pitch with easy velocity and was up to 96 mph at instructional league. A mid-70s curveball is his third pitch and is a tight, sharp offering with good depth, but he needs to throw it with more power and arm speed. Hernandez has good feel for pitching and a nice, easy delivery.

    THE FUTURE: He should be able to move more quickly than the normal high school product. An assignment to low Class A to start his pro career is not out of the question.

  14. 14. Daniel Vazquez | SS
    Daniel Vazquez
    Born: Dec 15, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 158
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2021.

    TRACK RECORD: When he began to be scouted, Vazquez was a skinny 5-foot-9 shortstop who lacked strength, but he has shot up to 6-foot-2, 158 pounds and has turned into one of the top players in the class from the Dominican Republic.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Even before his growth spurt, Vazquez had good actions on both sides of the ball, attributes that are still intact. He has significant physical upside with a lot of space left to fill out his lean, wiry frame as his tools continue to improve. Vazquez has a good bat path from the right side, keeping the bat in the hitting zone for a long time with good contact skills and a line-drive approach. While other hitters his age often get pull happy, Vazquez stays through the ball well to drive the ball to the middle of the field. The strength projection in his frame suggests a player who could grow into 20-plus home run power in the future. He's a below-average runner, and while projecting speed gains is tricky, he has the body type and athleticism where he could still get faster. Even if he doesn't, he has the ability to stay at shortstop, with easy actions, good footwork and body control, ranging well to both sides and coming in on the ball. He flashes a plus arm already that could tick up a grade once he gets stronger.

    THE FUTURE: There’s plenty of projection left with Vazquez, but with his baseball acumen and growth spurt, he has a chance to be an impact player both at the plate and in the field.

  15. 15. Carlos Hernandez | RHP
    Carlos Hernandez
    Born: Mar 11, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 250
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2016.
    Signed By: Richard Castro/Joelvis Gonzalez.

    TRACK RECORD: Signed for $15,000 as a 19-year-old, Hernandez was already an older international signee and fell behind in his development due to a rib injury in 2019 that prevented him from advancing beyond low Class A. That inexperience didn't stop the Royals from jumping the native Venezuelan straight to the big leagues for five games in 2020, when he posted a 4.91 ERA in 13.2 innings.

    SCOUTING REPORT: It's all about the fastball for Hernandez. His four-seamer averaged 96 mph and touched triple digits during his time in Kansas City. Hernandez has an easy delivery and the ball comes out of his hand with natural angle, helping it play up despite a lack of significant movement. Hernandez's primary offspeed pitch is a mid-80s hard curveball with 12-to-6 movement that flashes plus. He also throws a hard, split-changeup at 85-90 mph and a below-average slider. Hernandez's control is fringe-average, but he throws enough strikes for a bullpen role.

    THE FUTURE: Hernandez needs more seasoning in the minors and will likely head to Double-A in 2021. He'll continue to develop as a starter, but he is most likely to end up in the bullpen.

  16. 16. M.J. Melendez | C
    M.J. Melendez
    Born: Nov 28, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Miami, 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Alex Mesa.

    TRACK RECORD: Drafted in the second round in 2017 and paid a well over-slot bonus of just over $2 million, Melendez had a disastrous 2019, hitting .163/.260/.311 at high Class A Wilmington. He spent the summer at the Royals' alternate training site followed by the instructional league program held at Kauffman Stadium in order to get as many at-bats as possible.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Melendez has worked on applying mechanical changes to his swing. He cut down on his leg kick, quieted the noise in his swing and worked hard to reduce the amount of pitches he chases out of the zone. Melendez also continued refining his alignment in the batter's box and understanding what pitches he could drive. Even if everything clicks, Melendez projects as no more than a below-average hitter, but his physicality may give him enough power to hit enough for a catcher. Melendez's best tool defensively is a cannon of an arm with a quick release. He's athletic behind the plate and receives and blocks well.

    THE FUTURE: Melendez profiles as a low-average, moderate-power type of hitter with catching skills that will play in the majors. A Double-A assignment awaits in 2021.

  17. 17. Noah Murdock | RHP
    Noah Murdock
    Born: Aug 20, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'8" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Virginia, 2019 (7th round).
    Signed By: Jim Farr.

    TRACK RECORD: Murdock had Tommy John surgery his sophomore year at Virginia and wasn't at peak form when he came back, posting a 6.30 ERA his redshirt sophomore season. The Royals saw his 6-foot-8 frame and mid-90s fastball and decided he was worthy of a flier in the seventh round. Murdock had a solid pro debut at Rookie-level Burlington and worked out remotely during the 2020 coronavirus shutdown, keeping in close contact with the Royals coaches. He got back on the field at the Royals' fall instructional program in Kansas City.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Murdock's velocity continues to increase the further he moves away from surgery. His fastball has ticked up to sit 96-97 mph and touch 99 mph with deception from his long arms and high arm slot. His main secondary is a 79-82 mph slider, which some observers call a slurve, that now profiles as a future above-average pitch. It has more depth than normal because of his arm slot and release. His 82-85 mph changeup is a future solid-average pitch, and everything he throws has sink and angle from his towering release point. Murdock has worked on repeating his delivery and commanding his secondary pitches and has a chance for average control.

    THE FUTURE: Murdock will keep starting until he shows he can't. He'll get his first chance at full-season ball in 2021.

  18. 18. Ronald Bolanos | RHP
    Ronald Bolanos
    Born: Aug 23, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Cuba, 2016.
    Signed By: Chris Kemp/Trevor Schumm (Padres).

    TRACK RECORD: Bolaños originally signed with the Padres in 2016 for $2.25 million after a decorated amateur career in his native Cuba. The Royals acquired him as part of the trade for reliever Tim Hill prior to the start of the 2020 season. Bolaños spent most of the year at the alternate training site and made two abbreviated starts in Kansas City.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Bolaños is a big-bodied righthander with four pitches, highlighted by a fastball that sits 93-95 mph and can get into the upper 90s. He gives hitters different looks by adding cut, sink or rise to his heater. Bolaños' best offspeed pitch is a tight-spinning curveball. He's working on throwing it harder as it's often too soft of a pitch. He gets plenty of spin on his mid-80s slider and infrequently adds a high-80s changeup with cut action. Bolaños needs to smooth out his delivery to get better control of his diverse repertoire.

    THE FUTURE: Bolaños could thrive in a middle relief role but will continue to get chances to make it as a starter. He stands a good chance at opening the 2021 season in the Royals bullpen.

  19. 19. Edward Olivares | OF
    Edward Olivares
    Born: Mar 6, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 186
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2014.
    Signed By: Ismael Cruz/Luis Marquez/Jose Contreras (Blue Jays).

    TRACK RECORD: Originally signed by Toronto in 2014 for only $1,000, Olivares has now been traded twice in his career. The Blue Jays traded him to the Padres for Yangervis Solarte after the 2017 season and the Royals acquired him from San Diego for closer Trevor Rosenthal at the 2020 trade deadline. Olivares had a standout year at Double-A Amarillo in 2019, but wasn't quite ready for the majors and hit .240/.267/.375 in 101 plate appearances for the Padres and Royals.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Olivares uses a compact swing at the plate and flashes above-average power, but struggles with pitch selection. He's generally improved each year and has the athleticism to make adjustments, but he hasn't shown enough consistently for evaluators to consider him more than a fringe-average hitter. Olivares' above-average speed allows him to cover plenty of ground in the outfield with his long strides, but he needs to improve his routes. He shows an above-average arm and is an above-average runner with good instincts on the bases.

    THE FUTURE: Olivares should be at least a fourth outfielder, but he's been more tools and athleticism than production so far. He's in line for more playing time with the Royals in 2021.

  20. 20. Tyler Zuber | RHP
    Tyler Zuber
    Born: Jun 6, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 175
    Drafted/Signed: Arkansas State, 2017 (6th round).
    Signed By: Matt Price.

    TRACK RECORD: Righthanded relievers under 6 feet tall tend to fly under the radar. Zuber put together a strong 2019 between high Class A and Double-A and jumped to the Royals' bullpen in 2020. He made 23 appearances and posted a 4.09 ERA, although he struggled badly with walks.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Zuber dominates with a mid-90s fastball with late hop through the zone that he delivers with a lightning fast arm. His above-average slider is his go-to secondary offering in the mid 80s, and he also has a curveball in the low 80s he'll mix in to slow down hitters. He commands both breaking balls better than he does his fastball. Zuber's changeup came along nicely in 2020 and was an effective pitch against lefties, projecting average overall. Zuber's stuff plays in the strike zone, but he walked 20 batters in 22 innings in his debut and will have to show better control.

    THE FUTURE: Zuber has a good chance to break camp in 2021 with a role in the Royals' bullpen. If he can get his control right, he should settle in as a long reliever.

  21. 21. Jon Heasley | RHP
    Jon Heasley
    Born: Jan 27, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Oklahoma State, 2018 (13th round).
    Signed By: Chad Lee.

    TRACK RECORD: Heasley didn't quite live up to expectations at Oklahoma State and fell to the 13th round of the 2018 draft. He found his stride in his full-season debut and went 8-5, 3.12 at low Class A Lexington, albeit against mostly younger competition. The Royals added Heasley to the alternate training site in September and kept him in Kansas City for their fall instructional league program at Kauffman Stadium.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Heasley is a competitor on the mound with four average or better pitches. He started throwing from a higher slot at Lexington. The move helped his velocity and his fastball now touches 97 mph with a high spin rate. Heasley's best secondary is a potential plus curveball that plays well off the fastball with 12-to-6 movement and heavy break. A changeup that is tough on hitters from both sides gives Heasley a third quality pitch. He rounds out the arsenal with a slider that he uses infrequently but has late, short break. He ties everything together with average control.

    THE FUTURE: Heasley's stuff looked great in his pro debut, but he'll be more tested by age-appropriate competition. That should come in 2021.

  22. 22. Lucius Fox | SS
    Lucius Fox
    Born: Jul 2, 1997
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Bahamas, 2015.
    Signed By: Jose Alou/Joe Salermo (Giants).

    TRACK RECORD: After starting his high school career in Florida, Fox returned to his native Bahamas and re-classified as an international prospect. That move paid off when the Giants gave him a $6 million signing bonus, the largest in the 2015 international class. San Francisco traded Fox to the Rays one year later in the deal for Matt Moore, and the Rays flipped him to the Royals at the 2020 trade deadline for Brett Phillips. Fox joined the Royals' alternate training site after the trade and also saw time at instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Fox's best attributes are traits that can't be taught, with plus-plus speed and an obvious energy and passion for the game. He has the tools and athleticism to be a big league regular, but his bat has not developed. He struggles with consistency in his routine and needs to get better in his pitch selection. He lacks the strength to impact the baseball but shows good barrel control and walks at a high rate. Fox is an above-average defender at shortstop with good hands and is capable of handling other infield positions. He uses his speed well on the bases, with 123 stolen bases in four minor league seasons.

    THE FUTURE: Fox could be a regular shortstop with more production at the plate. If not, his speed and defense may be enough to earn him a role as a utility player.

  23. 23. Zach Haake | RHP
    Zach Haake
    Born: Oct 8, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 186
    Drafted/Signed: Kentucky, 2018 (6th round).
    Signed By: Mike Farrell.

    TRACK RECORD: Haake has had an up-and-down career that included an 8.47 ERA at Kentucky his junior season. The Royals still drafted him in the sixth round based on his loud stuff and were rewarded when he posted a 2.85 ERA in 18 starts for low Class A Lexington. Haake missed nearly two months with shoulder soreness, however, and his only 2020 action came during the Royals' fall instructional program.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Haake's strength is a 93-97 mph fastball with good life that is capable of beating hitters up in the zone. His best secondary pitch is a potential plus changeup that looks like a slider because it cuts so much before dropping quickly. He also throws a slider with 11-to-5 break, which flashes plus and has good late movement. Haake is athletic but doesn't always repeat his delivery and has fringe-average control. He has a history of struggling to get through an order a second time.

    THE FUTURE: Haake has the repertoire to remain in the rotation with more consistency and a cleaner delivery. He has the stuff to thrive in a bullpen role if those developments don't come.

  24. 24. Seuly Matias | OF
    Seuly Matias
    Born: Sep 4, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 204
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Fausto Morel.

    TRACK RECORD: Matias made a splash with 31 home runs at low Class A Lexington in 2018, but that came with an alarming 35% strikeout rate. He got exposed by better pitching and hit .148 with four home runs in 57 games at high Class A Wilmington in 2019 before a broken hand ended his season. Matias returned healthy in 2020 and spent the summer at the alternate training site before heading to instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Matias has explosive, plus-plus raw power, but he needs to undergo massive swing changes in order to hit higher-level pitching. He has started the process by lowering his hands and becoming more relaxed with his setup, creating a cleaner path to the baseball. That result was more of a line-drive approach, with his power playing well with that swing path. Even with the change, Matias has a long way to go. The next step is creating a better connection between his lower half and his hands. Defensively, Matias possesses prototypical right field skills, especially with a plus-plus arm.

    THE FUTURE: Matias' tools are tantalizing, but it's not going to be a quick process to improve his swing. A return to high Class A to start the 2021 season may be best.

  25. 25. Scott Blewett | RHP
    Scott Blewett
    Born: Apr 10, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 245
    Drafted/Signed: HS-- Baldwinsville, N.Y., 2014 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Bobby Gandolfo.

    TRACK RECORD: It's been a slow climb for the New York high school product since he was drafted in the second round in 2014, but Blewett made it to the majors for two appearances in 2020. He spent most of the summer at the alternate training site before getting called up briefly at the end of September.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Blewett has a tall, bulky frame that has added 30 pounds since being drafted. He delivers his 92-96 mph four-seam fastball with sink out of a high, three-quarter slot, and added a two-seamer in 2020. He also added a mid-80s slider with 12-to-6 break he uses to get swings-and-misses as an above-average pitch. Blewett still has an average curveball, but it's taken a back seat to his slider. He occasionally mixes in a firm changeup in the upper 80s. with good action. His ability to repeat his delivery has improved in the past year, providing hope he can get to average control.

    THE FUTURE: Without a plus pitch and uncertain control, Blewett projects more as a spot starter or long reliever than a rotation mainstay. He should get another chance to pitch in the majors in 2021.

  26. 26. Angel Zerpa | LHP
    Angel Zerpa
    Born: Sep 27, 1999
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 211
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2016.
    Signed By: Richard Castro/Joelvis Gonzalez/Orlando Estevez.

    TRACK RECORD: The Royals surprisingly added Zerpa to the 40-man roster after the 2020 season. The 21-year-old Venezuelan lefty has yet to pitch above the Rookie-levels, but he's pitched well so far with a 2.95 ERA in 38 career appearances, including 31 starts.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Zerpa pitches from a lower slot with a short-armed delivery. He's a consistent strike thrower with a feel for the strike zone, particularly with his 89-94 mph fastball with plenty of sink. Zerpa commands his secondary pitches, notably a high-70s slider with sweep and a mid-80s changeup with good drop. He'll need to continue to rely on his pitchability since there's not much projection left in his body, but he gives batters a different look.

    THE FUTURE: Zerpa will head to spring training with the big league team before returning to the minor leagues. The hope is he becomes a lefthanded reliever.

  27. 27. Yefri Del Rosario | RHP
    Yefri Del Rosario
    Born: Sep 23, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2016.
    Signed By: Jonathan Cruz (Braves).

    TRACK RECORD: Del Rosario originally signed with the Braves in 2016 for $1 million but was later declared a free agent as part of Atlanta's punishment for violating international signing rules. The Royals signed him for $665,000 and he quickly shot up to low Class A Lexington in his first season in the organization. Del Rosario's progress was stunted when he missed all of 2019 with a nerve issue, but he returned in 2020 to participate in the Royals' fall instructional league camp at Kauffman Stadium.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Del Rosario is throwing as well as ever, with a 92-95 mph fastball with late life to both sides of the plate. He throws with a sneaky arm action and his pitches jump on hitters. He's still fine-tuning his 80-mph curveball, which flashes plus with good shape, and his changeup has good action but he needs to better follow through on it. Del Rosario is still growing and continues to add strength. His control is fringy but has a chance to improve as he matures physically and moves further away from injury.

    THE FUTURE: Del Rosario hasn't pitched in an official game in two years, but he's a tantalizing righthander with lots of potential. He should see high Class A in 2021.

  28. 28. Samuel Valerio | RHP
    Samuel Valerio
    Born: Oct 8, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2018.
    Signed By: Edis Perez

    TRACK RECORD: It didn't take long for a buzz to start circulating at instructional league about the hefty young Dominican regularly hitting triple-digits in outings for the Royals. Valerio's fastball sat in the high 80s when he signed in 2018 for $242,500, but it wasn't long until that velocity started creeping up.

    SCOUTING REPORT: It's all about the fastball for Valerio. The ball flies out of his hand with plenty of hop to it, getting heavy sink and downhill plane. He sits 96-99 mph with the heater and has touched 102. He has a nice, easy delivery but needs to repeat it better to locate his pitches. Valerio's secondary pitches are behind his fastball. His 79-81 mph curveball has downer movement and could be a plus pitch with more consistency. He doesn't often use the hard, 88-89 mph changeup. Valerio is still growing into his body but there's already strength in the lower half. He has a chance to reach fringe-average control if he can be more consistent in his delivery.

    THE FUTURE: There's a lot to dream on with Valerio, but he's very far away. His plus-plus fastball gives him a carrying asset.

  29. 29. Darryl Collins | OF
    Darryl Collins
    Born: Sep 16, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Netherlands, 2018.
    Signed By: Nick Leto.

    TRACK RECORD: Collins is the rare baseball prospect from The Netherlands, but his athleticism and ability to hit that have attracted more interest than his nationality. He began his pro career in the Rookielevel Arizona League and hit .320/.401/.436 as a 17-year-old. He left early to represent his nation at the Under 18 World Cup in Korea and was named to the All-World team. Collins got back on the field in 2020 at instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Collins has added strength since his debut season without affecting his athleticism. He's more of a hit over power type, with plus bat speed and a good approach at the plate. Since he's likely to be limited to left field, Collins will need to develop more power. He's a plus runner underway but projects as more of an average runner or a tick above as he continues to grow. A below-average arm will keep him out of right field. He is mature for his age and a hard worker.

    THE FUTURE: Collins still has a long way to go. A corner outfielder with power questions and an unorthodox profile, he may still have the hitting potential to make it work.

  30. 30. Brewer Hicklen | OF
    Brewer Hicklen
    Born: Feb 9, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 208
    Drafted/Signed: AlabamaBirmingham, 2017 (7th round).
    Signed By: Nick Hamilton.

    TRACK RECORD: Hicklen was a two-sport star who played wide receiver at Alabama-Birmingham until the school dropped its football program in 2017. With his focus solely on baseball, he had a breakout season that spring and was drafted in the seventh round by the Royals. Hicklen advanced to high Class A Wilmington in 2019 and showed an impressive combination of power and speed with 34 extra-base hits and 39 stolen bases, albeit with 140 strikeouts. He returned to the field in 2020 at instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: A strong, physical talent with plus-plus speed, Hicklen is capable of playing all three outfield positions. He has a chance to be at least an average defender, but he struggles with routine plays at times. His above-average arm will be enough for right field. Hicklen is working to get the parts of his swing to work together as he continues to improve the timing and rhythm of his toe tap. His struggles with good velocity and pitches with horizontal movement will limit his offensive upside, but he should be able to get to at least average power. Hicklen plays with an aggressive football mentality and demonstrates elite makeup and leadership skills.

    THE FUTURE: Hicklen has the physical skills to be a reserve outfielder, with the added bonus of exceptional leadership that will help a clubhouse.

View Players 11-30

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