KC Royals Top 10 Prospects
by Jason Parks Baseball Prospectus
The Top Ten
1. Yordano Ventura
- Position: RHP, DOB: 06/03/1991, Height/Weight: 5’11” 180 lbs, Bats/Throws: R/R
- Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2008, Dominican Republic
- Previous Ranking: #5 (Org), #62 (Top 101)
- 2013 Stats: 3.52 ERA (15.1 IP, 13 H, 11 K, 6 BB) at major-league level, 3.74 ERA (77 IP, 80 H, 81 K, 33 BB) at Triple-A Omaha, 2.34 ERA (57.2 IP, 39 H, 74 K, 20 BB) at Double-A Northwest Arkansas
- The Tools: 8 FB; 6+ CB; 6+ potential CH
What Happened in 2013: Ventura logged a career high in innings pitched—spanning three levels—and concluded his impressive run with three starts in the majors.
Strengths: Elite arm speed; fastball sits mid-upper 90s; can hit triple digits deep into games; can manipulate the movement; gets cutting action at lower velo; curveball is plus pitch; hard breaker with tight rotation and excellent depth; changeup could end up another well-above-average pitch; offers deception from FB and good action.
Weaknesses: Slight build; concerns about workload ability; tendency to lose command by overthrowing; changeup can get too firm; requires more refinement than other offerings; curveball plays down when FB command is loose.
- Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter
- Realistic Role: High 6; no. 3 starter
- Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; achieved major-league level; ready for extended look.
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: We already got a sneak peak at his heat in September, but with the inside track to a rotation spot on Opening Day, Ventura is ready to make a fantasy impact. The immediate future may not feature the type of strikeout numbers you’d expect long term, but he is still the type of pitcher to take a shot with at the back end of your rotation in 2014. Beyond that, he has the potential to be a full four-category contributor if he can handle the workload.
The Year Ahead: Ventura has been throwing gas since he could walk, but the progression of his secondary arsenal has turned him from a future relief prospect to a frontline arm that can pitch atop a major-league rotation. The body is slight and short, and normally I’d be quick to put him into a late-innings box. But Ventura can hold velocity like a workhorse, gaining strength as he goes along, not losing it. I do have some concerns about long-term workload and what 200 innings might do to the stuff, but it’s hard to ignore the electricity in his arm and the potential that creates. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ventura takes another step forward in 2014, and pitches his way into Rookie of the Year discussions.
Major league ETA: Debuted in 2013
2. Raul Mondesi
- Position: SS, DOB: 07/27/1995, Height/Weight: 6’1” 165 lbs, Bats/Throws: B/R
- Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Dominican Republic
- Previous Ranking: #4 (Org), #58 (Top 101)
- 2013 Stats: .261/.311/.361 at Low-A Lexington (125 games)
- The Tools: 6 glove; 6 arm; 6 run; plus potential hit
What Happened in 2013: I took a calculated risk by ranking Mondesi third in the system last season and 58th overall, as he was still an unknown commodity to most fans and prognosticators alike. He rewarded our belief in his ability by jumping to a full-season league and holding his own despite being 17 years old for a healthy chunk of the season.
Strengths: Advanced talent; shows high-impact skills on all sides of the ball; slick actions on defense; plus glove potential with more repetition; plus arm, capable of all the throws; instincts could push tools up; plus run; good bat-to-ball ability from both sides of the plate; could develop average power down the line.
Weaknesses: Needs to learn to slow the game down; can play fast, rush his actions and throws in the field; overly aggressive at the plate; susceptible to secondary stuff; power potential is questionable.
- Overall Future Potential: High 6; first-division/all-star
- Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular
- Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; 18 years old; yet to play in high minors
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The fantasy upside of Mondesi is overshadowed by the real-life impact he can have on the Royals. If he doesn’t develop even average power, we’re talking more about a 10-homer, 20-steal threat with the ability to post a helpful batting average. That’s not a fantasy stud, but at shortstop, it’s still a back of the top 10 guy.
The Year Ahead: Mondesi is a special talent, a gifted defender at a premium position with speed and a quick stroke to the ball from both sides of the plate. He is unrefined and eager in his game, but he has a chance to develop into an impact talent at the highest level. The developmental process will present setbacks and failures along the way, and 2014 might look similar to 2013 on the stat sheet, but Mondesi’s ceiling is worth the patience.
Major league ETA: 2016
4. Miguel Almonte
- Position: RHP, DOB: 04/04/1993, Height/Weight: 6’2” 180 lbs, Bats/Throws: R/R
- Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Dominican Republic
- Previous Ranking: #9 (Org)
- 2013 Stats: 3.10 ERA (130.2 IP, 115 H, 132 K, 36 BB) at Low-A Lexington
- The Tools: 6+ FB; 7 potential CH; 5 CB
What Happened in 2013: In his full-season debut, Almonte took another step forward on the field, missing a bat an inning thanks to his potent FB/CH combo.
Strengths: Loose, easy arm; great action; delivery is repeatable; fastball works 92-96; can touch higher; good arm-side movement; changeup is money pitch; excellent deception in the arm and plus-plus action; effective against both LH/RH; shows multiple breaking balls; curve can flash above-average; strike-throwing ability.
Weaknesses: More control than command; can live loose in the zone; tendency to come across his body in the delivery and struggles to hit arm-side spots; both breaking balls are inconsistent; CB has best chance to play to average.
- Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter
- Realistic Role: 5; no. 4/5 starter
- Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; yet to pitch in upper minors
Bret Sayre’ Fantasy Take: Another pitcher who could put up strong strikeout numbers, Almonte also could be a very strong contributor in WHIP. From June 1st to the end of the season, he had 90 strikeouts versus just 16 walks in 86 1/3 innings—and limiting walks like that will also net him more wins, as he’ll be able to pitch deeper into games at the major-league level.
The Year Ahead: Almonte is going to move onto the pitcher-friendly confines of High-A Wilmington, and he’s probably going to shove it with excellent results. His fastball is a plus offering, his changeup is well above average, and his ability to throw strikes should allow him to produce statistical results that will elevate his prospect status. The real test will come in Double-A, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets promoted to that level at some point during the summer. His breaking ball (whichever one steps forward) needs improvement, and the control needs to continue developing into command, but this is a very legit arm with a high ceiling.
Major league ETA: Late 2015
7. Jorge Bonifacio
- Position: RF, DOB: 06/04/1993, Height/Weight: 6’1” 192 lbs, Bats/Throws: R/R
- Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2009, Dominican Republic
- Previous Ranking: #7 (Org)
- 2013 Stats: .301/.371/.441 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas (25 games), .296/.368/.408 at High-A Wilmington (54 games), .300/.400/.533 at complex level AZL (9 games)
- The Tools: 6 power potential; 7 arm; 5 potential hit
What Happened in 2013: Bonifacio hit his way to Double-A, after a hamate injury threatened to derail his breakout campaign.
Strengths: Big raw strength; all-fields power potential; brings a plan to the plate; not just a power hacker; arm in right field is very strong; receives some plus-plus grades; runs well for size (average); hit tool should allow power to play.
Weaknesses: Big power has yet to show up in game action; hamate injury didn’t help; swing is compact; more linear than loft necessary for over-the-fence power; body is high maintenance; questions about hit tool against higher level pitching.
- Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player
- Realistic Role: Low-5; second division player
- Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited Double-A experience
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The fact that Bonifacio could be the type of hitter to smack 25 bombs in a season might still be hidden on his stat page, as he’s never hit more than 10 in his minor-league career. This year may be no different, as hamate bone fractures can sap power for an extended period of time. If he starts off slow in 2014, there might never be a better time to acquire him in a trade.
The Year Ahead: Bonifacio can hit, but it remains to be seen what type of hitter he will develop into. Sources disagree on offensive outcome, as some see the power coming but at the expense of contact—a potential .260 type with 20-plus bombs—while others see a more complete hitter, one where the power flows from the hit tool without compromising contact. It’s a right field profile and a solid-average one, with the arm being a weapon, but the ceiling is dependent on the power showing up, and that is still debatable heading into the 2014 season. This year should tell us a lot about the player Bonifacio will develop into, either pushing him up this list or leaving us with more questions than answers.
Major league ETA: Late 2014
10. Orlando Calixte
- Position: SS, DOB: 02/03/1992, Height/Weight: 5’11” 160 lbs, Bats/Throws: R/R
- Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Dominican Republic
- Previous Ranking: NR
- 2013 Stats: .250/.312/.368 at Double-A Northwest (123 games)
- The Tools: 6 raw power; 5 glove; 6 arm
What Happened in 2013: Calixte was pushed to the Double-A level, and he struggled against quality pitching, but the tools are still present to develop into a solid-average major-league regular.
Strengths: Plus raw power; has some bat-to-ball ability; arm is plus; glove is at least average at shortstop; range is average.
Weaknesses: Plate discipline needs work; can get overly aggressive; hit tool profiles as below average; defensive profile might be a better fit for third base; game power might play below projection.
- Overall Future Potential: 5; major-league regular
- Realistic Role: High 4; utility player
- Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; struggled in first pass at Double-A
The Year Ahead: Calixte was a bit over his head in Double-A, but his struggles could be a developmental positive, and he has shown the ability to make adjustments in the past. His defensive profile at shortstop is average and could play, but he will need to find more consistency and learn to slow the game down. The power potential is legit, but the hit tool might limit the utility, and the overall approach needs work if he wants to put himself in favorable hitting conditions and add an on-base dimension to his offensive game. He is likely to repeat Double-A, and hopefully take a step forward at the plate and in the field.
Major league ETA: 2015