2012 Kansas City Royals Top 10 Prospects

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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, 2011.

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1. Mike Montgomery, lhp
2. Bubba Starling, of
3. Wil Myers, of
4. Jake Odorizzi, rhp
5. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3b
6. John Lamb, lhp
7. Kelvin Herrera, rhp
8. Jason Adam, rhp
9. Chris Dwyer, lhp
10. Yordano Ventura, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Wil Myers
Best Power Hitter Bubba Starling
Best Strike Zone Discipline Wil Myers
Fastest Baserunner Terrance Gore
Best Athlete Bubba Starling
Best Fastball Yordano Ventura
Best Curveball Chris Dwyer
Best Slider Kevin Chapman
Best Changeup Mike Montgomery
Best Control Greg Billo
Best Defensive Catcher Manny Pina
Best Defensive Infielder Humberto Arteaga
Best Infield Arm Cheslor Cuthbert
Best Defensive OF Jarrod Dyson
Best Outfield Arm Brett Eibner
Catcher Salvador Perez
First Base Eric Hosmer
Second Base Johnny Giavotella
Third Base Mike Moustakas
Shortstop Alcides Escobar
Left Field Wil Myers
Center Field Bubba Starling
Right Field Alex Gordon
Designated Hitter Billy Butler
No. 1 Starter Mike Montgomery
No. 2 Starter Danny Duffy
No. 3 Starter Jake Odorizzi
No. 4 Starter John Lamb
No. 5 Starter Luke Hochevar
Closer Joakim Soria
Year Player, Pos 2011 Org
2002 Angel Berroa, ss Diamondbacks
2003 Zack Greinke, rhp Brewers
2004 Zack Greinke, rhp Brewers
2005 Billy Butler, 3b Royals
2006 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2007 Alex Gordon, 3b Royals
2008 Mike Moustakas, ss Royals
2009 Mike Moustakas, 3b Royals
2010 Mike Montgomery, lhp Royals
2011 Eric Hosmer, 1b Royals
Year Player, Pos 2011 Org
2002 Zack Greinke, RHP Brewers
2003 Chris Lubanski, OF Phillies
2004 Billy Butler, 3B Royals
2005 Alex Gordon, 3B Royals
2006 Luke Hochevar, RHP Royals
2007 Mike Moustakas, SS Royals
2008 Eric Hosmer, 1B Royals
2009 Aaron Crow, RHP Royals
2010 Christian Colon, SS Royals
2011 Bubba Starling, OF Royals
Bubba Starling, 2011 $7.500,000
Eric Hosmer, 2008 $6,000,000
Alex Gordon, 2005 $4,000,000
Mike Moustakas, 2007 $4,000,000
Luke Hochevar, 2006 $3,500,000
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Kansas City Royals

The Royals' slow slog to respectability sped up in 2011.

That might not be apparent from the club's won-loss record, 71-91. But this wasn't the same old team that has disappointed Kansas City fans for years. The Royals had their 16th losing season in the last 17 years and once again were out of the playoff race before the all-star break, but this time they did it with youth.

By the end of the season, there were days where Kansas City fielded five rookies in its starting lineup. At times, the bullpen featured just two pitchers with more than a year of big league experience.

Royals position players averaged 25.8 years of age, their youngest since their first year as an expansion team in 1969 and nearly two years younger than any other team in baseball in 2011. Kansas City's pitching staff averaged 26.4 years of age, its youngest since 2000 and again the youngest in the game last season.

More important than birthdates, for the first time in years, the Royals actually fielded a lineup of players whose best days are ahead of them. Rather than aging free-agent acquisitions such as Jose Guillen and Jason Kendall, Kansas City featured a wave of prospects who gave fans something interesting to watch for a change.

The Royals entered 2011 with a farm system not only ranked No. 1 by Baseball America, but also acclaimed as the best baseball had seen in quite a while. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were expected to reach the majors last season—and they did—while Johnny Giavotella and Salvador Perez sped up their timetables. It also helped the Alex Gordon, the No. 2 overall pick in 2005 and the franchise's most promising position prospect of the previous generation, finally lived up to expectations with a breakout season.

Kansas City will enter 2012 with a relatively set lineup that it hopes will mature together after ranking sixth in the American League in scoring last year. More quality bats are on the horizon. Outfielder Wil Myers is roughly a year away, while outfielder Bubba Starling and third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert will need longer to develop but have equally high ceilings.

For the Royals to return to contention, their starting pitching prospects will have to step up after a disappointing 2011. Danny Duffy made it to the majors, but Mike Montgomery and Chris Dwyer both struggled while John Lamb had Tommy John surgery.

Even after acquiring Jonathan Sanchez from the Giants in a November trade, Kansas City had few clear-cut fixtures in its starting rotation. The Royals have plenty of prospects who eventually could fill that void, and they hope that the hiring of former Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp as pitching coordinator will help end their difficulties in developing starting pitchers. Zack Greinke is their lone homegrown starter to post a sub-4.00 ERA since 2000.

Kansas City is in better shape in the bullpen thanks to the arrival of several talented arms in 2011. Aaron Crow, the club's 2009 first-round pick, made the all-star team as a rookie after moving to the bullpen. Nathan Adcock, Louis Coleman, Tim Collins and Greg Holland also had fine rookie seasons.

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