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  1. 1. Vinnie Pasquantino | 1B
    Vinnie Pasquantino
    Born: Oct 10, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 245
    Signed By: Jim Farr.
    Minors: .280/.372/.576 | 18 HR | 3 SB | 250 AB

    May Update: Pasquantino is knocking on the door for the big league first base job. He’s a rare slugger who walks more than he strikes out.

    Track Record: Pasquantino was an unheralded 11th-round pick out of Old Dominion in 2019. He stood an ungainly 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, but his bat held promise and earned quiet praise from evaluators. He returned from the coronavirus shutdown an improved hitter and defender and broke out in 2021. He hit .300/.394/.563 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs as he rose from High-A to Double-A and had as many walks as strikeouts (64).

    Scouting Report: Pasquantino is a determined hitter with a high level of focus at the plate. He regularly takes professional at-bats and his strikeout-to-walk rate is rare for a power hitter in the modern era. Instead of making a lot of mechanical changes to his swing, Pasquantino instead has focused on seeing the ball well, keeping his eyes behind the ball, letting pitches travel deep and taking pitches in the right situations. He works hard on improving his defense and is now at least an average defender at first base, with the work ethic to continue improving. He provides a big target for infielders throwing to first and is athletic enough for the position. While he’ll always be a well below-average runner, he makes up for the lack of speed with good baserunning instincts and reads on the bases. What makes Pasquantino even more special is his gregarious personality, outstanding makeup and passion for the game.

    The Future: Pasquantino didn’t miss a beat after his midseason promotion. He has a chance to be a power-hitting first baseman or DH.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 30. Fielding: 50. Arm: 45.

  2. 2. 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.
    Minors: .240/.374/.484 | 17 HR | 8 SB | 275 AB

    Track Record: Track Record: Like teammate MJ Melendez, Pratto suffered through a miserable 2019 season at High-A Wilmington and went to work improving his swing and approach at the plate. The work paid off in 2021 as Pratto hit 36 home runs while rising from Double-A to Triple-A, tied for the second most home runs in the minor leagues, and finished the season with a .988 OPS.

    Scouting Report: The key changes that Pratto made revolved around developing a new approach and mindset at the plate and adapting a more efficient bat path to allow his barrel to get into the zone sooner. This was helped further by the innate bat speed and quickness in his hands. Pratto now hits the ball in the air with more authority and will continue to add strength to his frame. Pratto sees the ball well and has shown that he can pick up spin, and a key factor in his improvement was better pitch selection. He doesn’t miss his pitch to hit, especially those at higher velocities. Pratto also handles lefthanded pitchers well. While not a burner, Pratto continues to reach double-digit stolen bases every year, with sneaky instincts allowing his speed to play up on the bases. He’s at least a plus defender at first base, with some plus-plus grades given to his glove and projections that he will win Gold Glove awards.

    The Future: First base has been a position of need for the Royals since Eric Hosmer departed as a free agent. Pratto will head to spring training vying to earn playing time in the big leagues, although additional Triple-A seasoning would provide long-term benefit for his career.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 60. Speed: 45. Fielding: 60 Arm: 55.

  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.
    Minors: 1-1 | 9.82 ERA | 30 SO | 36 BB | 26 IP

    Track Record: Track Record: Lacy finally made his pro debut one year after the Royals drafted the hard-throwing southpaw fourth overall out of Texas A&M. After signing with the Royals for a $6,670,000 bonus, Lacy spent 2020 at the alternate training site and opened 2021 at High-A Quad Cities. Expected to move quickly, Lacy instead struggled to a 5.19 ERA and walked more than seven batters per nine innings in an underwhelming season, albeit while flashing exhilarating pure stuff.

    Scouting Report: The centerpiece of Lacy’s arsenal is a plus-plus fastball that regularly touches 97-98 mph with sharp downward tilt. His three off-speed pitches all flash plus and get swings and misses in the strike zone. His high-80s slider, which sometimes looks more like a cutter, is a wipeout strikeout pitch against both righthanded and lefthanded batters. His changeup has late life and projects as a plus offering when he commands it, and his curveball has good bite. To improve his below-average control, Lacy needs to keep his feet and head in sync during his delivery in order to maintain a more fluid direction to the plate. But rival scouts are not yet concerned with his struggles to consistently throw strikes because of the quality of his pitches.

    The Future: After four starts in the Arizona Fall League, where he showed loud stuff with very high strikeout and high walk rates, Lacy will be ready to move up to Double-A in 2022.

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

  4. 4. Ben Kudrna | RHP
    Ben Kudrna
    Born: Jan 30, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 203
    Signed By: Matt Price.
    Minors: 2-4 | 2.93 ERA | 41 SO | 24 BB | 46 IP

    Track Record: Track Record: Kudrna started building his reputation at the 2020 Area Code Games and continued with a strong senior season at Blue Valley Southwest High in Overland Park, Kan., about 30 miles south of Kansas City. The Royals selected the local product in the second round, 43rd overall, and signed him for an above-slot $3 million bonus. Like Royals first-round pick Frank Mozzicato, Kudrna was held out of games during the regular season and didn’t pitch until instructional league in the fall.

    Scouting Report: Kudrna presents an imposing presence on the mound and backs it up by attacking hitters with a 96-98 mph fastball. He generates easy velocity from his loose, quick arm and makes hitters uncomfortable with his downhill angle and late hop on his pitches. He may have more velocity in the tank as he adds strength to his solid, high-waisted frame with broad shoulders. Kudrna is still developing his slider and shows the potential to turn it into an above-average pitch with depth and tilt. He began incorporating his changeup, a hard pitch that he throws with arm speed and deception, more during instructs. Kudrna is very competitive on the mound, with Royals coaches noting he bears down and gets better with men on base.

    The Future: Kudrna will likely make his professional debut with Low-A Columbia in 2022. He has a chance to be a hard-throwing, mid-rotation starter.

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

  5. 5. Frank Mozzicato | LHP
    Frank Mozzicato
    Born: Jun 19, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Casey Fahy.
    Minors: 1-5 | 5.40 ERA | 60 SO | 39 BB | 49 IP

    Track Record: Track Record: Mozzicato was an under-the-radar draft prospect until his stock soared in his senior season, when he pitched four straight no-hitters and showed one of the best curveballs in the country. The Royals pulled a surprise when they selected Mozzicato seventh overall in the draft and signed him for a $3,547,500 bonus, about $3 million under slot. Mozzicato reported to the Royals training facility in Surprise, Ariz., after signing but did not pitch in games during the regular season. He made his unofficial debut during instructional league.

    Scouting Report: Mozzicato’s curveball is his money offering. It’s at least a plus pitch with some observers believing it could eventually be plus-plus because of its high spin rate, sharp bite and good depth. It has 1-to-7 shape, and he showed in instructs that he can fold it into the zone for a strike and expand the zone with it when ahead in the count. His fastball sits 90-93 mph with good vertical movement, and with his size and athleticism he should be able to add velocity with more experience and physical maturity. Like most prep pitchers, Mozzicato didn’t have to use a changeup much during his high school career, but it’s a potential plus pitch that is hard for hitters to see because he sells it with arm speed and it looks like his fastball coming out of his hand. He repeats his delivery and has good feel to pitch.

    The Future: After getting his feet wet in the pro game, Mozzicato will be ready for a full-season assignment in 2022, with a likely limit on his total innings throughout the season.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 55. Control: 50.

  6. 6. 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.
    Minors: 0-2 | 5.58 ERA | 41 SO | 8 BB | 31 IP

    Track Record: Track Record: Heeding the advice of Royals officials to get his body in better shape, Bowlan arrived at spring training in 2021 with a significantly improved physique. It appeared to pay off when he began the 2021 season with three outstanding starts at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, but after being pulled early in his fourth start, it was determined he needed Tommy John surgery. The injury robbed Bowlan of what was looking like his breakthrough season and the chance to represent his country as a member of the United States Olympic qualifying team.

    Scouting Report: Bowlan uses a four-pitch mix highlighted by a 93-97 mph fastball. His fastball jumps on hitters because of the extension he gets in his delivery out of his big, 6-foot-6 frame and plays as a plus pitch with late explosion in the strike zone. Bowlan’s biggest change in 2021 was the addition of a curveball to complement his low-80s slider and give him a second breaking ball. His nascent 80-82 mph curve with downward break gives hitters a different look from his slider and plays well off of his other pitches. Bowlan’s slider has late bite and he has a good feel for his changeup, which he throws to both righthanded and lefthanded batters. His pitches play up because of how well he controls and commands them. Bowlan repeats his clean delivery and pounds the strike zone effectively, and the above-average life and deception on all of his pitches allow him to go right after hitters.

    The Future: Bowlan’s work ethic and dedication to conditioning will help him during the injury rehab process. The Royals hope he may return late in the 2022 season, but it may be 2023 before he gets back on the mound.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 60.

  7. 7. 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.
    Minors: 3-7 | 6.28 ERA | 65 SO | 25 BB | 58 IP

    Track Record: Track Record: Of the five college pitchers the Royals took in the first two rounds of the 2018 draft, Kowar was the fourth to make it to the big leagues, with his debut coming on June 7, 2021. The former Florida righthander struggled to command his fastball in the majors and logged an ugly 11.27 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts), but he was solid throughout the rest of the season in Triple-A.

    Scouting Report: Kowar’s plus-plus changeup continues to be the gem of his arsenal. He throws his changeup with confidence and its trapdoor action makes it a tough pitch to barrel. Kowar complements his changeup with a fastball that sits 94-95 mph but plays down from its velocity at times. When his fastball gets up in the zone, it flattens out and there’s not a lot of deception. When he’s on top of the pitch it has two-seam running life in on righthanded batters and late sinking action. Kowar’s curveball was a below-average pitch he used infrequently in college, but he worked on it extensively at the alternate training site in 2020. It has improved to the point that it’s now an above-average pitch with the potential to be a plus offering. It has 11-to-5 shape with good spin, and will be more effective when he lands it for strikes with greater frequency. Kowar uses a three-quarters delivery with a full stroke and the ball comes out clean, giving him average control.

    The Future: Kowar will be ready for another chance at the majors in 2022. He has the velocity and stuff to be a mid-rotation starter and will head to spring training looking for a spot in the Royals’ rotation.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 45. Changeup: 70. Control 45.

  8. 8. Michael Massey | 2B
    Michael Massey
    Born: Mar 22, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: Scott Melvin
    Minors: .312/.371/.532 | 16 HR | 13 SB | 346 AB

    Midseason Update: Massey continues to hit after a promotion to Triple-A, with power to all fields and good strike zone awareness. Track Record: Healthy for the first time since his sophomore season at Illinois, Massey broke out in 2021. He hit a career-best 21 homers for High-A Quad Cities and tied for the High-A Central batting title (.289) with teammate Nick Loftin.

    Scouting Report: Massey has plus raw power, but his lack of experience and poor health prevented him from showing it consistently. That changed in 2021. His 21 homers were more than his entire three-year college career combined (17). Massey has a solid approach at the plate, with good strike zone awareness and bat speed, and stays short to the ball. Defensively, Massey has played only second base but he could likely handle third base or a utility role. He is a solid-average defender with an average arm. Despite just average speed, his reads and baserunning instincts allow his speed to play up. Massey draws positive reviews for his character and makeup.

    The Future: Massey shares many of the same attributes as Loftin. Both players will move to Double-A Northwest Arkansas and form a promising double-play tandem in 2022. Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 55. Speed: 45. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50.

  9. 9. 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
    Minors: .270/.354/.421 | 12 HR | 24 SB | 363 AB

    Track Record: Loftin was generally regarded as a solid all-around performer when the Royals made him the 32nd overall pick in the 2020 draft. So far, the Baylor product has come as advertised. He made his professional debut at High-A Quad Cities in 2021, helping them win a championship. He was one of three players to tie for the league lead in batting average (.289), including teammate Michael Massey.

    Scouting Report: Loftin is a gap-to-gap contact hitter favoring his pull side with sneaky pop that should increase as he gets stronger. A minor wrist injury slowed his start to the season, but he finished strong down the stretch, posting a 1.014 OPS over the final two months of the season. He shows good strike zone awareness and walks nearly as often as he strikes out. Loftin is solid at shortstop with a good first step, a quick release, and good hands and range. He also saw time at second and third base, and with his athleticism he’d thrive in a utility role if that’s his future. Loftin is an average runner, but his instincts allow his speed to play up both in the field and on the bases. He draws raves for his leadership quality, and his work ethic and off-the-charts instincts allow his tools to play up.

    The Future: Loftin’s development path has often been compared to Royals star Whit Merrifield. If he can live up to that, he’ll be around the game for a long time.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 45. Speed: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 55.

  10. 10. Maikel Garcia | SS
    Maikel Garcia
    Born: Mar 3, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 161
    Signed By: Richard Castro
    Minors: .288/.363/.412 | 5 HR | 27 SB | 337 AB

    Track Record: Garcia signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2016 and debuted the following year. He spent three consecutive seasons in rookie ball, making limited impact offensively, then missed all of 2020 because of the pandemic. Garcia made his full-season debut this year with Low-A Columbia and showed much better feel for contact, hitting .303 in 51 games, and kept on hitting after his promotion to High-A Quad Cities. Kansas City added Garcia to its 40-man roster in November.

    Scouting Report: Long considered a glove-first shortstop, Garcia added strength and improved his barrel accuracy at the plate, posting a contact rate close to 85% in 2021. His approach and strike zone control improved, too. But Garcia has very little power in his thin, wiry frame and a bail move in the box at times, instead relying on spraying line drives to all fields. Garcia still has plenty of value defensively. He’s at least an above-average shortstop—some evaluators believe he’s a plus defender—and his hands and feet work together well, giving him good range. While not a burner, Garcia has good instincts on the bases, resulting in 35 stolen bases in 41 attempts in 2021.

    The Future: Garcia needs to get stronger to make an impact at the upper levels, but his defense and speed give him a high floor. Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 40. Speed: 50. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55.

  11. 11. 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.
    Minors: 1-11 | 7.85 ERA | 116 SO | 44 BB | 84 IP

    Track Record: Marsh entered 2021 as one of several picks to click in the Royals system after gaining strength during the 2020 shutdown, giving his fastball a significant velocity bump while also developing more separation between his breaking balls. But Marsh made just six regular- season starts at Double-A before being shut down because of biceps soreness and arm fatigue. He returned to make one start in the Arizona Fall League.

    Scouting Report: Despite limited looks in 2021, Marsh showed enough to remain one of the better pitching prospects in the Royals system. He attacks the zone with a fastball that sits at 96 mph and tickles triple-digits. He aggressively goes right at hitters, throwing four pitches, all potential plus offerings, for strikes. Marsh’s two breaking balls tended to blend together earlier in his career, but he now gets enough separation to make them distinct pitches. His mid-80s slider is a hard, tight pitch that sometimes resembles a cutter, and his curveball that ranges from the high 70s to low 80s has solid depth. His changeup has natural depth and he throws it with good arm speed. His delivery is clean and repeatable.

    The Future: Marsh has all the attributes of a starting pitcher, but he could also thrive as a power arm at the back of the bullpen. He could be a contributor to the big league team in 2022 if he stays healthy.

  12. 12. Drew Parrish | LHP
    Drew Parrish
    Born: Dec 8, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 200
    Minors: 6-9 | 3.83 ERA | 75 SO | 39 BB | 99 IP

    May Update: The Florida State product is dominating Double-A hitters in his return to Northwest Arkansas, with his strengths being a fastball that he lands to all quadrants of the plate and a plus changeup with pitch characteristics resembling the heater. He rounds out his arsenal with a work-in-progress curveball typically thrown in hitter’s counts. He’s not overpowering, with the fastball sitting 88-92 mph, but succeeds with mound confidence and pitchability.

  13. 13. Andrew Hoffmann | RHP
    Andrew Hoffmann
    Born: Feb 2, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 210
    Minors: 8-4 | 2.96 ERA | 105 SO | 32 BB | 101 IP

    Track Record: Hoffmann spent time at three different schools over three collegiate seasons, spending his Freshman campaign with Oakland University, his sophomore season at junior college John A. Logan, and his third season of eligibility at Illinois. His claim to fame as a collegiate is a 34-game undefeated streak stretches back to his final start with Oakland his Freshman season. He was named all-Big Ten third team in 2021, going 3-0 with a 2.87 ERA, and 64 strikeouts to 15 walks over 62.2 innings. Taken in the 12th round of the 2021 draft by the Braves, Hoffmann made his professional debut in early august 2021 making seven starts with Low-A Augusta out of the draft. Hoffmann was assigned to High-A Rome out of camp this spring. Scouting Report: One of the best breaking balls in the system, Hoffmann’s slider is his primary pitch seeing over 40% of Hoffmann’s pitch usage this season. The pitch sits 82-84 mph with heavy horizontal break, giving it a unique combination of velocity and movement. Despite the heavy break Hoffmann shows an innate ability to locate the slider to where he wants it in the zone. This combination of shape, velocity and command allow Hoffmann to miss bats consistently with the slider, even when batters know it’s coming. He mixes in two fastball variations at 92-94 mph in a two-seam with moderate sink and a four-seam without much life. Hoffmann shows command for each fastball type with the ability to set himself up in counts. Neither is a swing and miss offering but has enough power and command to rate fringe-average. Hoffmann’s arsenal is rounded out by a mid-80s split-changeup that he shows feel for, but is inconsistent still in terms of shape and execution. The Future: Overall Hoffmann is a bit of a tweener profile as he has a signature breaking pitch and average or better fastball velocity, but there’s questions about his fastball and changeup quality when exposed to the order a second time through. Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Slider: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 55.

  14. 14. Luca Tresh | C
    Luca Tresh
    Born: Jan 11, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 193
    Minors: .273/.360/.470 | 14 HR | 3 SB | 300 AB

    May Update: Tresh was drafted last year in the 17th round, signing just before the deadline for an over-slot $423,000 bonus. He’s gotten off to a strong start at High-A Quad Cities in his first full season and has been one of that team’s strongest hitters, in addition to catching more than half its games.

  15. 15. Carter Jensen | C
    Carter Jensen
    Born: Jul 3, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 210
    Signed By: Matt Price
    Minors: .203/.323/.366 | 10 HR | 4 SB | 306 AB

    Track Record: The Royals twice dipped into the greater Kansas City area high school ranks in the 2021 draft, taking righthander Ben Kudrna in the second round and Jensen in the third round. After signing for an over-slot $1,097,500, Jensen appeared in 19 games in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League and impressed with his performance during instructional league.

    Scouting Report: Jensen has a strong, mature build and an advanced lefthanded bat with plus raw power. He stands out for his feel to hit, all-fields approach, and an ability to slow the game down. He’ll need to learn to make adjustments against lefthanded pitchers, especially against good breaking balls. Like most catchers coming into pro ball from the prep ranks, Jensen has a lot of work ahead of him defensively. He has the athleticism, flexibility, strong hands and tools to stay behind the plate, with an above-average arm that shows average or better pop times consistently.

    The Future: Lefthanded-hitting catchers with power are valuable, so Jensen will be given time to develop. He needs defensive instruction and plenty of reps, but has youth on his side.

  16. 16. Drew Waters | OF
    Drew Waters
    Born: Dec 30, 1998
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Woodstock, Ga., 2017 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Dustin Evans.
    Minors: .274/.343/.467 | 11 HR | 14 SB | 285 AB

    Track Record: Waters was a local Georgia prospect who the Braves signed in the second round in 2017 for $1.5 million. He progressed through the minors and was named the Double-A Southern League MVP in 2019, but the lost 2020 covid season hampered his offensive development.

    Scouting Report: Waters needed as many upper-level at-bats as he could get and this year repeated Triple-A after struggling at the level in 26 games during 2019. Overall, Waters made marginal improvements offensively, but was still a below league-average hitter in Triple-A, per wRC+ (94). A 6-foot-2 switch hitter with long levers, Waters has struck out 30% or more in 129 games with Gwinnett, though he went from a 36.1% strikeout rate in 2019 to 30.9% in 2021, and in the final month of the season, saw that clip drop to 21.9%. The Braves want Waters to improve his mental approach at the plate and gain a better understanding of the pitches he can and cannot do damage with. His toolset is still quite loud, with plus speed, defensive ability and arm strength that will allow him to play center field well and either left or right exceptionally with average in-game power potential to go along with it.

    The Future: For Waters, his role will rely on the mental adjustments he’s able to make at the plate. His toolset suggests an above-average regular, but if his strikeout rate prevents him from being a fringy or average hitter with solid power, well, Atlanta’s outfield room is getting more crowded with Michael Harris coming up behind him. Waters is still young and will enter his age-23 season in 2022.

    Tool Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 50. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60.

  17. 17. 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).
    Minors: 5-3 | 4.97 ERA | 42 SO | 23 BB | 55 IP

    May Update: Now pitching out of the bullpen, Del Rosario is regaining the form he had before his 2019 injury that kept him out all season. The key is better location of his 94-95 mph fastball and being more aggressive with it inside. He’s also improved the location of a sweeping slider with horizontal movement.

  18. 18. 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.
    Minors: 1-6 | 4.23 ERA | 57 SO | 26 BB | 62 IP

    Track Record: Hernandez broke camp with Low-A Columbia at the start of the 2021 season, his first full pro season after the Royals drafted him in the second round of the 2020 draft. Arm fatigue limited the Chicago high school product to nine starts before he was shut down, although he returned for three late-season starts in the Arizona Complex League and also pitched in Kansas City’s fall instructional league.

    Scouting Report: The gem of Hernandez’s arsenal is a plus changeup that he throws with fade and deception, and it’s been his bread-and-butter offering dating back to high school, where it was routinely recognized as the top changeup in the 2020 high school class. Hernandez pitches off a 94-96 mph fastball that jumps out of his hand with armside run and sink, inducing plenty of ground balls. Hernandez’s curveball has always been a distant third pitch, but it showed improvement during the season. The Royals’ staff worked with him to throw it more aggressively, particularly in the lower quadrants. With the added bite, the breaking ball provides Hernandez with another weapon to pair with his fastball/changeup combination. He throws all three offerings from an easy, deceptive delivery.

    The Future: Reports from instructional league were very favorable, so Hernandez should be ready to go back to full-season ball in 2022. Concerns that he would be better suited for a bullpen role have been allayed by the improvement in the curveball, along with his pitchability and athleticism.

  19. 19. 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.
    Minors: 2-5 | 4.43 ERA | 69 SO | 21 BB | 65 IP

    Track Record: Zerpa was a surprise addition to the 40-man roster just before the 2020 deadline despite never having pitched above the Rookie levels. However, the native Venezuelan proved that the Royals made a wise decision, as he moved across three levels of the minors. He finished 2021 with a single late-season start in Kansas City, pitching five innings and yielding just two unearned runs in his big league debut.

    Scouting Report: More of a pitchability-over-stuff type, Zerpa has plenty of weapons at his disposal. A lower arm slot adds an element of deception to his arsenal and helps his pedestrian raw stuff play up. The fastball ticked up in 2021, ranging from 91-96 mph, with a four-seamer that he commands to his glove side and a two-seamer with good movement that he uses when he falls behind in the count. Zerpa’s slurvy slider is a hard pitch at 85-88 mph with late bite and sweep. His changeup sits 86-87 mph, a firm pitch that’s best when it is inducing grounders. Zerpa is a competitor and has no fear, as scouts noted that his velocity would tick up as he faced better competition.

    The Future: Zerpa could fill any number of roles on a big league staff. He has the look of a high-floor, back-end of the rotation or swingman type, but he’s going to have a career in the major leagues.

  20. 20. Tyler Gentry | OF
    Tyler Gentry
    Born: Feb 1, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 205
    Signed By: Travis Ezi
    Minors: .326/.422/.548 | 15 HR | 6 SB | 279 AB

    Midseason Update: Healthy for the first time since joining the Royals organization, Gentry started off hot in High-A and has continued raking in Double-A. He stands out most for the consistency of his hit tool, and a plus arm suits for right field.

  21. 21. Will Klein | RHP
    Will Klein
    Born: Nov 28, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 225
    Signed By: Scott Melvin
    Minors: 1-1 | 11.61 ERA | 44 SO | 40 BB | 31 IP

    Track Record: Klein was Kansas City’s final pick in the shortened five-round 2020 draft, and it’s already looking like the Royals have found excellent value. A converted catcher, Klein pitched his first two college seasons in Eastern Illinois’ bullpen before moving into the starting rotation prior to the abbreviated 2020 season. The Royals used him exclusively in a reliever role during his pro debut, and Klein struck out nearly 41% of hitters he faced with High-A Quad Cities.

    Scouting Report: Klein attacks hitters with a plus four-seam fastball that sits at 96-97 mph with good vertical break and touches 100 mph. Batters struggled to catch up to his fastball, with 43% of balls hit to the opposite field against Klein in 2021. He pitched in two-inning stints with Quad Cities and held his velocity. Klein arrived in Kansas City’s organization with two distinct breaking balls, but has since shelved his slider/cutter in favor of refining his curveball. It’s a hard breaker, sitting at 83-85 mph, and batters struggled with it as Klein messed with their eye levels, whiffing nearly 45% of the time. He’s also working on a split-grip changeup, but it’s not a regular part of his repertoire. Batters hit just .173 against Klein, but he struggled with control issues, walking 5.63 batters per nine innings.

    The Future: Developing command and control will dictate Klein’s future, and even subtle improvements will enhance his potent two-pitch mix. He’s a candidate for a high-leverage bullpen role if he throws more strikes.

  22. 22. Anthony Veneziano | LHP
    Anthony Veneziano
    Born: Sep 1, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 205
    Signed By: Joe Barbera
    Minors: 5-7 | 6.48 ERA | 100 SO | 50 BB | 91 IP

    Track Record: Kansas City’s 10th-round pick in 2019, Veneziano wasn’t on many radars until a heavily scouted appearance late in 2021 minor league spring training, where he flashed a fastball up to 97 mph. The Coastal Carolina product built on his solid spring, enjoying a very good season with High-A Quad Cities, where he struck out 127 batters in 93.2 innings. He was especially tough down the stretch for the eventual High-A Central champions.

    Scouting Report: Veneziano attacks hitters with a heavy, bat-missing arsenal out of an easy three-quarters arm slot and repeatable motion. His sinking fastball sits 94-97 mph and plays above his velocity due to his whippy arm motion and good extension. Veneziano needs to become more confident in his secondary offerings to take another step forward. His breaking ball is a slurvy slider that he commands inconsistently. He also throws an average changeup with tumble and fade.

    The Future: Veneziano is nowhere near a finished product, but he has the upside of a mid-rotation starter. He should move to Double-A in 2022.

  23. 23. 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.
    Minors: 4-6 | 4.52 ERA | 61 SO | 38 BB | 100 IP

    Track Record: Cox consistently ranked between No. 9 and No. 16 in Kansas City’s Top 30 Prospects since the Royals made him their 2018 fifth-round selection out of Mercer, but his 2021 season represented a bit of a step back. Cox spent almost all season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and was not added to the 40-man roster after the season.

    Scouting Report: Cox has always pitched off the strength of his plus fastball, but his velocity was down a few ticks in 2021, mostly sitting 90-92 mph. He also shelved his inconsistent slider, instead choosing to focus on his curveball and changeup. The curveball made strides and is now considered an above-average pitch, delivered in the upper 70s with good depth and downward movement. His upper-80s changeup is too firm and hasn’t developed into a reliable pitch. In the past, Cox’s arsenal played up because of his command, but he labored to keep his delivery under control in 2021 and walked 3.57 batters per nine innings at Double-A. This heightened concerns about a potential shift to the bullpen.

    The Future: Cox will head to spring training looking to regain velocity and smooth his delivery. He’s shown the ability to get results previously, so a few adjustments may get him back on track.

  24. 24. Collin Snider | RHP
    Collin Snider
    Born: Oct 10, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 200
    Signed By: Nick Hamilton
    Minors: 2-1 | 6.35 ERA | 11 SO | 16 BB | 17 IP

    Track Record: Snider could be the next success story for the Royals’ pitching development program. Drafted in the 12th round out of Vanderbilt in 2017, Snider primarily pitched out of the bullpen in college. He never struck out more than six batters per nine innings as a professional until 2021, when he broke out in the upper levels and reached Triple-A. Snider was especially effective with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, posting a 2.97 ERA while striking out more than a batter an inning.

    Scouting Report: Snider’s fastball now sits at 97 mph and touches 99—the primary reason for his surge in 2021. His high-spin two-seamer has run and sink and plays well with his other pitches. The other key was improving his 86-88 mph slider, which added movement and plays well off his fastball. The improvement in the slider gives Snider a swing-and-miss pitch that he didn’t have before, but he needs to keep improving the consistency and command of it. His changeup, which he uses infrequently, is very much a work in progress, struggling for shape and strikes. Snider delivers his pitches from a three-quarters arm slot with a longer arm stroke.

    The Future: Snider was added to the 40-man roster at the deadline and will head to spring training with the big league club looking for a spot in the Royals’ bullpen. He’s an intriguing sinker/slider power arm.

  25. 25. 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.
    Minors: 0-7 | 6.91 ERA | 64 SO | 44 BB | 71 IP

    Track Record: Murdock’s velocity has slowly returned since he had Tommy John surgery his sophomore year at Virginia, but a rash of injuries limited the 6-foot-8 righty to just seven games with High-A Quad Cities in 2021. Minor soreness wiped out his spring training and he then injured his hamstring while pitching in extended spring training. Once healthy, Murdock settled into the rotation at High-A Quad Cities and posted a 3.18 ERA in 22.2 innings.

    Scouting Report: Murdock creates deception from the excellent extension driven by his long levers. His two-seam fastball has plus velocity, sitting 93-97 mph, and ample horizontal movement. His curveball mirrors the movement of his fastball, keeping hitters off-balance, and is thrown with high spin efficiency. He’ll flash feel for an average changeup, but his fastball and curveball combination is his main point of attack. With unique movement and a deceptive operation, Murdock makes for an uncomfortable at-bat, although it also limits him to below-average control.

    The Future: Murdock could be effective in a relief role where his fastball would play up. He should see Double-A in 2022.

  26. 26. Brennon McNair | SS/3B
    Brennon McNair
    Born: Sep 15, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Travis Ezi
    Minors: .250/.343/.483 | 5 HR | 5 SB | 120 AB

    Midseason Update: Drafted in the 11th round in 2021, McNair signed for a well-above slot bonus of $347,500. The Mississippi high school product saw limited action after signing, so 2022 is really his first real experience as a pro. Returning to rookie ball this year, McNair stands out for his outstanding makeup and physicality.

  27. 27. Shane Panzini | RHP
    Shane Panzini
    Born: Oct 30, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 220
    Signed By: Casey Fahy.
    Minors: 0-2 | 4.36 ERA | 41 SO | 29 BB | 44 IP

    Track Record: Panzini was the third of a trio of high school pitchers selected by the Royals early in the 2021 draft, signing an above-slot $997,500 bonus as a fourth-rounder. The New Jersey native was held out of games before seeing action during instructional league.

    Scouting Report: Panzini aggressively attacks hitters with a heavy fastball that sits 89-92 mph with life and a high spin rate. His velocity, generated by his strong lower half, has touched higher and has room to increase. Panzini presently lacks a true swing-and-miss secondary. His slider is a future average pitch with sweep and horizontal movement. He infrequently throws a changeup, and he’ll need to show it more as he gets his feet wet in pro ball. Panzini shows a repeatable delivery that should portend average control.

    The Future: Panzini projects as a reliever, but the Royals will start him for now. He is set to open the 2022 season at Low-A Columbia.

  28. 28. Peyton Wilson | 2B/OF
    Peyton Wilson
    Born: Nov 1, 1999
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 180
    Minors: .252/.332/.400 | 6 HR | 10 SB | 230 AB

    Midseason Update: Kansas City’s second-round pick from Alabama in 2021 projects as a super utility player capable of playing up the middle in both the infield and outfield, and perhaps even filling in behind the plate having had catching experience in his freshman year with the Crimson Tide. He’s got twitchy athleticism and plus speed, with average raw power from both sides of the plate.

  29. 29. Nathan Eaton | UTL
    Nathan Eaton
    Born: Dec 22, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 185
    Minors: .289/.355/.471 | 13 HR | 21 SB | 325 AB

    Midseason Update: Eaton succeeds in being a Swiss army knife type of player, capable of playing multiple infield and outfield positions, with outstanding makeup allowing him to play above his tools. He’s showing more with the bat this year, especially since his move to Triple-A Omaha.

  30. 30. Diego Hernandez | OF
    Diego Hernandez
    Born: Nov 21, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 150
    Minors: .279/.343/.418 | 7 HR | 27 SB | 330 AB

    Midseason Update: The lean, lanky Hernandez has always teased with his potential, but growing into his body and gaining strength has resulted in his best season at the plate, with more home runs in less than half a season in High-A than his combined total in three previous seasons. A swing change has resulted in him hitting more line drives, with his batting line improving each month.

View Players 11-30

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