Kansas City Royals: Top 10 Prospects

Kansas City Royals

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.

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J.J. Cooper
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1. Mike Montgomery, lhp
2. Aaron Crow, rhp
3. Wil Myers, c
4. Mike Moustakas, 3b
5. Eric Hosmer, 1b
6. Tim Melville, rhp
7. John Lamb, lhp
8. Danny Duffy, lhp
9. Chris Dwyer, lhp
10. David Lough, of
Best Hitter for Average Wil Myers
Best Power Hitter Mike Moustakas
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Kila Ka'aihue
Fastest Baserunner Jarrod Dyson
Best Athlete Derrick Robinson
Best Fastball Aaron Crow
Best Curveball Chris Dwyer
Best Slider Aaron Crow
Best Changeup Edgar Osuna
Best Control John Lamb
Best Defensive Catcher Salvador Perez
Best Defensive Infielder Mario Lisson
Best Infield Arm Mike Moustakas
Best Defensive Outfielder Derrick Robinson
Best Outfield Arm Jordan Parraz
Catcher Wil Myers
First Base Eric Hosmer
Second Base Alberto Callasp
Third Base Alex Gordon
Shortstop Jeff Bianchi
Left Field David DeJesus
Center Field David Lough
Right Field Mike Moustakas
Designated Hitter Billy Butler
No. 1 Starter Zack Greinke
No. 2 Starter Mike Mongtomery
No. 3 Starter Gil Meche
No. 4 Starter Aaron Crow
No. 5 Starter Tim Melville
Closer Joakim Soria
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Dee Brown, of Nationals
2001 Chris George, lhp Orioles
2002 Angel Berroa, ss Mets
2003 Zack Greinke, rhp Royals
2004 Zack Greinke, rhp Royals
2005 Billy Butler, 3b Royals
2006 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2007 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2008 Mike Moustakas, 3b Royals
2009 Mike Moustakas, 3b Royals
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Mike Stodolka, lhp Out of baseball
2001 Colt Griffin, rhp Out of baseball
2002 Zack Greinke, rhp Royals
2003 Chris Lubanski, of Royals
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
Eric Hosmer, 2008 $6,000,000
Alex Gordon, 2005 $4,000,000
Mike Moustakas, 2007 $4,000,000
Luke Hochevar, 2006 $3,500,000
Jeff Austin, 1998 $2,700,000
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Kansas City Royals

Every day that Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke wasn't pitching was a disaster for the 2009 Royals. There's hope for the future, but the bad news for Kansas City fans is that the club's rebuilding effort will need more time.

The Royals though they were fielding a team ready to take a significant step toward contending last season. They traded away young relievers Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez to acquire veterans Mike Jacobs and Coco Crisp, and signed free-agent relievers Juan Cruz and Kyle Fansworth. The result was 65 wins, which marked the seventh time in the past nine years that Kansas City has won fewer than 70 games.

At least the organization recognizes now that it's planning for the future. General manager Dayton Moore says his team now will focus on acquiring young major leaguers who are years away from free agency. That would seem to fit with the state of the farm system, which has plenty of talent but little to contribute in 2010.

The Royals at least deserve credit for trying a different approach. Unlike many smaller-revenue teams that save money by sticking to slot bonus recommendations in the draft, Kansas City has spent money to sign high-ceiling talents.

The problem is that the Royals haven't always gotten what they paid for. They gave a $4 million bonus to Alex Gordon, the No. 2 overall pick in 2005, and a $5.25 million contract to Luke Hochevar, the top choice in 2006. Gordon (.250/.331/.415 in three big league seasons) and Hochevar (13-26, 5.88 in three years) have massively underperformed, and no other player from those drafts has made the majors.

Those failed drafts have left the upper levels of the system system barren, which became a significant problem when injuries struck in 2009. When Crisp went down with a shoulder injury early in the season, the Royals were forced to get Josh Anderson from the Tigers. When Mike Aviles' arm injury ended any chance of an encore to his outstanding rookie season, they turned first to Tony Pena Jr., whom they acquired from the Braves in 2007, then traded for Yuniesky Betancourt in a deal that sent pitching prospects Daniel Cortes and Derek Saito to the Mariners.

Despite injuries to Crisp, Aviles, Gordon, Gil Meche and Joakim Soria, and a record that quickly made it clear that they were playing for the future, Kansas City had only two marginal rookies (Mitch Maier and Brayan Pena) see playing time before September because the system simply lacked prospects worth promoting.

At the lower levels, the Royals have a bounty of pitching prospects that few organizations can match, led by lefthander Mike Montgomery. Their willingness to exceed MLB's slot recommendations landed five of their 10 best prospects (catcher Wil Myers, third baseman Mike Moustakas, first baseman Eric Hosmer, righthander Tim Melville, lefty Chris Dwyer) and they gave a major league contract to a sixth (righty Aaron Crow).

Moore came to Kansas City from Atlanta, and his farm system reflects the Braves' emphasis on developing pitching. The Royals can dream of similar success, but their promising youngsters are going to need a few more years to develop.

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