As we all know the Royals are going through a rebuild. For small market teams like the Royals, they must build through their minor league systems. I think I found a pitcher the Royals should consider taking a look at—Jackson Stephens. After a ... Read more
The next wave is just around the corner which I’m pretty sure most Royals fans are ready for. For a team in the position like the Royals having a good farm system is crucial for success. Someone who knows the Royals prospects best is Royals Farm Report so I thought I’d ask them a few questions about the current prospects in the farm system. Plus it’s always fun to learn about the future of the Royals.
Q: What is one prospect that you thought would be a big contributor at the MLB level that really never panned out?
A: I always thought Rey Fuentes would be a guy that could stick on a big-league roster as a 4th OF. Hit well at Omaha in 2015 and then got that Opening Night starts at The K in 2016. He held his own at the plate, posting a 95 wRC+ in 13 games, but then he kind of fell off the face of the earth. Didn’t hit well at all for AZ the next year. I never thought he’d be an All-Star but I really thought he’d have some bench value.
Q: Who hasn’t the highest ceiling out of all the prospects?
A: Bobby Witt Jr. is probably the obvious choice here. 4 tools that grade as 60 or better. Will stick at SS. But if you’re looking for an underdog candidate, I might say Khalil Lee. Lots of raw power, good wheels, great eye. I’m not sure how confident I am he’ll put it ALL together, but his ceiling is really high if he does.
Q: Which prospect has the highest floor?
A: Brady Singer, probably. When we talk about floor, we’re usually talking about two things: 1) what level they’re most likely to reach and the 2) how good they’re most likely to be when they get there. Brady Singer is definitely, absolutely going to be a big-league pitcher (1). I think there’s a better than good chance he sticks as a starter long-term (2). I don’t think he’s got the ceiling of Lynch or Kowar, but I can see both of them becoming relievers as well.
Q: Favorite prospect?
A: I’m still partial to MJ Melendez. A former pitcher myself, I love an elite catching prospect. There’s a small number of prospects in all of MiLB with Melendez’ defensive abilities. He packs a loud punch from the left side of the plate, and while he struggled to make contact in 2019, there’s enough power there to carry him through the minors if he can cut down on the strikeouts.
Q: Who is someone you’re high on that many people aren’t?
A: I think we’ve pretty consistently been higher on a Charlie Neuweiler than any other publication. I could certainly be wrong about that, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him in anyone else’s top 30. He’s an extremely volatile prospect, meaning he may never get out of AA, but there’s a big-league pitcher in there somewhere. Bulldog on the mound, extreme competition, good fastball command, nasty curveball. He’s going to have to add a tick or three to his fastball velocity, but he’s fairly polished around the edges.
Q: Which prospects do you think contribute at the MLB level in 2020?
A: I would’ve told you Singer, Kowar, and maybe Lee a few months ago. I have no idea what’s going to happen now. I could see two separate scenarios happening. 1) None of these guys reach the big leagues this year due to a shortened season. 2) Significantly more of them reach the big leagues in what the front office may consider a “lost” season.
Q: Who do you hope the Royals are able to add in the draft?
A: I’m a huge Zac Veen fan. I think he’s nearly as good of a prospect as Bobby Witt Jr. coming out of high school, in terms of tools and athleticism. Not having a full spring season to go off of really sucks, but that kid appears to be a stud in the making. I know a lot of people want a college kid, but the college class is so deep this year. The Royals can get a couple of legitimate college prospects at 32 and 41 like they did in 2018, but also get a high-end prep talent at the top of the class like they did in BWJ last year.
Q: Which pitching prospect has the best pitch and which pitch is it?
A: Jackson Kowar’s changeup. It’s a legitimate 70-grade offering that flashes 80 at times. It’s absolutely disgusting. One of the best pitches in MiLB.
Q: Of the top pitching prospects who do you think ends up being the best?
A: We’re really high on Kowar. He throws upper-90’s, flashes 99 at times, with a 70-grade changeup and a big curveball. The curveball isn’t great yet, but it can be a good “show pitch” early in the count to help him steal strikes early on. As long as he doesn’t walk a ton of hitters and give up a ton of home runs, he has legitimate #2 starter potential.
I hope you all learned something about the Royals farm system and the future of the Royals. I’d like to thank Royals Farm Report for doing this, they do lots of great things. You can follow them on twitter @RoyalsFarm. If you want you can answer some of these questions in the comments below! I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts as well.