26 September 2009

The Pipeline's Top 20 Royals prospects 2009

It's that time again...here's last year's list, which like the 2007 list, I can find fault with....Joe Dickerson #7? Yeah, he had been consistent, but not consistently good enough to be in the top 10. After the 2009s Moustakas and Hosmer had, the 2008 list has lost some of its luster. I've dropped Rosa pretty much down and out, as it looks like they're gonna keep him in relief, Chris Lubanski is still in the prospect running, I guess, but has been somewhat surpassed, I had Julio Pimentel in last year's top 10 but he'll have to comeback from arm surgery in 2010. Plus I didn't put Melville on there at all for some reason. The 2008 list is really a mess, but I felt good about it at the time, before remembering the Melville omission.

Again, the list is not top heavy, as only 2 on the list played at Omaha this season, and you can probably guess who at least one is. You can, I guess the front office can't. Three played at NW Arkansas, and the rest were all high-A ball and below. I've been more based on proven performance in the past couple years' list then I went with this year, which explains the absence of Rosa or Lubanski more than anything this year. At this point, guys like Aaron Crow or John Lamb have a higher ceiling in my mind than Rosa, who pitched well as a starter last year, but again couldn't stay healthy, then got off to a slow start as a reliever this year before picking up some of the slack and making it to a September call-up. Still, what's his high end? A middle reliever? He hasn't shown a lot as a closer yet. Not that those guys (middle relievers) aren't valuable, but it doesn't really yell prospect to me with Rosa at this point, plus he's 25 and has had major arm surgery...

I'm not gonna rehash how this season has gone for Royals fans. The MLB squad has been beyond disappointing, Omaha stunk, again, then the next 3 squads made their league playoffs, whether the Bees deserved to or not. Then it was back to a decent-to-good Idaho Falls team, a poor B-Royals team again and a sadsack AZL team. Dayton Moore had better hope these mid-level minors prospects pan out, or....who am I kidding, he'll find someone else to blame anyway. Omaha graded out a D in terms of prospects, NWA a C+, Wilmington a B-, Burlington a C, Idaho Falls a C-, Burlington (R) a C-/D+ and AZL a D/D+. I said last year that the 2008 list was stronger than the 2007 list. As you can tell, I again feel that way comparing the '09 list to 2008. Nine pitchers, 11 hitters make up this year's list.

I'll reiterate my annual disclaimer.
Bear in mind most of these reports are made sight unseen. They go only as far as stats do, so some intangibles in each player's game aren't taken into account -- good and bad. The cutoff age is 25, and age is set by what it'll be at the end of the MLB season.

Mike Montgomery, lefty SP, 20 (last year: 17) -- 2-3, 2.17 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 1 HRA, 24 BB/52 K, .206 OAV in 12 starts/58 IP at Burlington (A) and 4-1, 2.25, 0.96, 0 HRA, 12 BB/46 K, .196 OAV in 9 starts/52 IP at Wilmington (A-Adv.)

*** Probably going to be a common #1 Royals prospect after the year he slapped together in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League and Wilmington's very pitcher-friendly ballpark. He actually posted a better ERA and OAV on the road, despite the lauded home confines. I'm hoping he continues to deal in AA next season, but wouldn't be surprised if his numbers slip a little just because of Texas League and park factors. Still, his K rate was solid and so was his K/BB, which improved along with his WHIP in the move up a level. He had some problems getting through the 5th at times but also posted some great starts down the stretch for Wilmington. He seems to have ample stuff to make it but it's his endurance and ability to stay healthy that will be the key moving forward. This is quite a jump, going from 17 to 1, but the stats and the eyewitness reports say he's for real.

Danny Duffy, lefty SP, 20 (last year: 6) -- 9-3, 2.98 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 1 CG, 6 HRA, 41 BB/125 K, .230 OAV in 24 starts/126 2/3 IP at Wilmington

*** Duffy battled some back issues the last couple months of the season (and I hope those get taken care of over the offseason) to post some inconsistent starts and Montgomery's Wilmington antics kind of put the 2009 Futures Game representative in the shadows a little bit. Duffy, too, took advantage of Wilmington's friendly confines but, like Montgomery, had a better ERA on the road as well as record and K/BB. He actually put up better stats in Burlington in 2008 than Montgomery did this year, but didn't get the opportunity to move up until this season. He should be the ace of the AA staff next season, and hopefully he keeps the good times rolling. Again, like Montgomery, he's obviously got the stuff, it's a matter of staying on the mound.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, 21 (last year: 1) --.250/.297/.421 (.718 OPS), 66 RS, 32 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 86 RBI, 32 BB/90 K, 10/16 SB, 24 E in 129 G/492 ABs in Wilmington

*** Moustakas led the Rocks in several categories but a .718 OPS doesn't really blow Royals fans' minds. Especially including a .297 OBP, that's a Mike Jacobs number, not a Mike Moustakas number. He did hit for a healthier .782 OPS on the road and posted a .323 OBP away from Frawley Stadium, but also went three months in the middle of the season without breaking a .700 OPS. A consistent .300 OBP and .400 SLG from your high-school HR record setting, number 2 overall pick, quasi-3B shouldn't be too much to ask, in Advanced A ball at least. We'll see in 2010....#1 how he handles Texas League pitching, #2 if he learns better plate discipline, and #3 if he's still playing 3B or is somewhere like RF. There's plenty of room for improvement, even though his numbers weren't all bad. He has something to prove in AA next season.

4. Aaron Crow, righty SP, 22 (last year: n/a) -- no pro stats yet

*** What is there to say at this point about Crow? He came out of Mizzou highly touted, blew off the Nationals, then waited to sign with his beloved Royals until the season was done and all that's left is fall instructional ball to roll around. There will be more to say after he debuts in NW Arkansas, I presume, maybe Omaha depending on how he shapes up, in 2010. He hasn't pitched to an organizational pro yet. If he stays at starter, which I hope he does, we'll see how he stacks up. I'd give a lot to live in Springdale next year and see a rotation of Crow, Duffy and Montgomery in the Texas League to start the season. They should be selling some tix down there....

5. David Lough, OF, 23 (last year: NR) -- .320/.370/.473 (.843 OPS), 23 RS, 15 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 12 BB/34 K, 6/10 SB, 1 E in 65 G/222 ABs in Wilmington; .331/.371/.517 (.888 OPS), 41 RS, 13 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 12 BB/30 K, 13/17 SB, 4 E in 61 G/236 ABs in NW Arkansas (AA)

*** Lough didn't show much in 2008 as he posted a .784 OPS at Burlington (A) in his first full season of pro ball. He had a breakout year for the organization this year by hitting over .300 with a good OPS in Advanced A then taking advantage of a callup to AA to post a .331 batting average and .888 OPS with more production in nearly an equal amount of games there as he had played in Wilmington. He's getting a shot to keep working on his game in Arizona fall ball coming up, and if he develops better plate patience, that really fills in the only chink he had in his armor this season. I'm not complaining about his offensive output, walks or no, this season, but if he added that patience, his numbers could hit another level. It'll be interesting to see if he gets a shot at the Omaha OF to start 2010.

Eric Hosmer, 1B, 19 (last year: 2) -- .254/.352/.382 (.734 OPS), 31 RS, 17 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 49 RBI, 44 BB/68 K, 3/5 SB, 4 E in 79 G/280 ABs in Burlington (A); then .206/.280/.299 (.579 OPS), 9 RS, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR, 10 RBI, 9 BB/22 K, 1 E in 27 G/97 ABs in Wilmington

*** Hosmer's season is considered a disappointment by many, and I've made my share of comments this season, but it needs to be kept in mind that this was his first full season in the minors and he did have to try to adjust to pro pitching. He isn't hitting off high schoolers anymore. His line at Burlington left something to be desired, mostly in the power department, and he got the odd callup (which I didn't mind) and then struggled at Wilmington, which is understandable as 19 is a little young for that league from what I've seen. Then he became the poster boy for fan frustration this year when he missed a bunch of games while waiting for prescription glasses before scrapping that idea to have Lasik surgery. I assume he'll be back in Wilmington to start 2010 with a shot to make it to AA if things go well. Getting the eyesight situation taken care of would be a step in the right direction. I just felt a drop on the list was needed because other players performed much better at the level or higher this season. He could easily be back in the top 3 with a monster 2010. I think the power will come along.

7. Wil Myers, C/DH, 18 (last year: n/a) -- .125/.125/.438 (.563 OPS), 1 3B, 1 HR in only 16 ABs in Burlington (R); then .426/.488/.735 (1.223 OPS), 18 RS, 7 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 9 BB/15 K, 2/2 SB, 1 E in 18 G/68 ABs in Idaho Falls (Advanced Rookie)

*** Maybe THE player to watch, other than Crow, in the Royals minors in 2010. His only 2 hits in a short stint in the Appalachian League were a triple and homer, and then he went to Idaho Falls and tore up the Pioneer League for the last 2-3 weeks of the season. He hit .500 with a 1.375 OPS in 11 September games and hit for a 1.025 OPS with RISP for Idaho Falls. He drew early comparisons to Dale Murphy and hit like the early '80s version in his pro debut. Hopefully he's the starting catcher in Burlington (A) to begin 2010 and we get a chance to see him take on the Midwest League. He blew up on the Royals' map in a way neither Hosmer nor Moustakas did in their first 22 pro games.

Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, 25 (last year: 3) -- .252/.392/.433 (.825 OPS), 83 RS, 27 2B, 3B, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 102 BB/85 K, 0/1 SB, 4 E in 131 G/441 ABs in Omaha (AAA)

*** This was supposed to be Kila's year. He raked in 2008, got a shot at KC in September, clubbed his first major league homer, then was primed to maybe start the year in Omaha but, surely, he wouldn't stay there all season, right? Even if his batting average dropped (which it did) and he didn't slug as many homers (ditto), surely he'd get a September call-up. Then, after not quite posting 2008 numbers at Omaha but still putting up an OBP near .400 with only the third Omaha individual season ever over 100 walks, plus leading the team in runs scored, plus some healthy power -- he led the team in doubles and was third in HR -- he....gets to spend September in Hawai'i, or wherever it is he spends his offseasons, or maybe working out in Arizona. Nothing like developing a player by letting him waste away in AAA while KC has what it has in the majors. That's all I'm gonna say. I know I'm only one of many who feel the same way. I have no idea where he'll be to start 2010. Dayton could trade him for more magic beans for all I can tell. I would hope he has the sense to maybe do something with Mike Jacobs and let Kila have that spot? Please, God?

9. Tim Melville, righty SP, 20 (last year: NR) -- 7-7, 3.79 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 10 HRA, 43 BB/96 K, .245 OAV in 21 starts/97 1/3 IP

*** I'd say Melville's first season in the pros went pretty much as expected. The Royals signed him too late in 2008 to get him any game action that counted and he debuted in Burlington in May. He showed promise, as his K rate was great, but his K/BB was only OK. He had his ups and downs, a couple 5 or 6 ER starts but also (more often) 0, 1 or 2 ER starts in a good league. His K rate was better on the road but he also got hit harder away from Burlington. June was his roughest month as, otherwise, he was solid. He also raised his K rate and BB/K while lowering his ERA and OAV after the all-star break. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in Frawley Stadium next season in Wilmington. My hopes are that he can pitch well enough to make a mighty triumvirate with Montgomery and Duffy in AA if Crow pitches well enough to hit Omaha.

10. Jordan Parraz, OF, 25 (last year: n/a) -- .353/.353/.706 (1.059 OPS) in 17 ABs in Idaho Falls (rehab); .358/.451/.553 (1.005 OPS), 35 RS, 17 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 29 BB/25 K, 4/12 SB, 4 E in 64 G/228 ABs in NW Arkansas; .298/.358/.426 (.784 OPS), 6 RS, 6 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB/14 K, 0/2 SB, 2 E in 13 G/47 ABs in Omaha

*** He should make the top 10 just for doing what he did plus also allowing the Royals to rid themselves of Tyler Lumsden by lumping him off on the Astros in the trade that brought Parraz in. Parraz absolutely raked Texas League pitching as he got off to a hot start in AA and never cooled off. He did have some injury problems as he only got in 13 games at AAA before being shut down for the season. He showed some pop in his bat and the ability to take a walk and wait for his pitch, which about 85 percent or more of the rest of the organization can't seem to combine. Hopefully he's recovered and in shape in time to be in the Omaha starting OF at least to start 2010.

Jeff Bianchi, IF, 23 (last year: 12) -- .300/.360/.427 (.787 OPS), 32 RS, 12 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 20 BB/47 K, 12/14 SB, 6 E in 60 G/220 ABs in Wilmington; .315/.356/.441 (.797 OPS), 42 RS, 17 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 19 BB/58 K, 10/14 SB, 8 E in 68 G/270 ABs in NW Arkansas

*** Bianchi proved his rookie league numbers were no fluke as he enjoyed another healthy season. Like Lough, he could use some more work on working walks and getting on base but the contact and gap pop are there. He seemed to wear down somewhat as the season went along but he did enough to get his name back in the Royals prospect conversation. He should be in either NWA or Omaha's infield to start 2010, and hopefully his run of good health will continue and the back and shoulder problems are in the past.

12. John Lamb, lefty SP, 19 (last year: NR) -- 2-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 4 HRA, 9 BB/25 K, .238 OAV in 6 starts/27 1/3 IP in Burlington (R); then 3-1, 3.70, 1.06 WHIP, 4 HRA, 11 BB/46 K, .217 OAV in 8 starts/41 1/3 IP at Idaho Falls

*** Lamb was still recovering from an auto accident in his senior year of HS when the Royals drafted him in the 5th round in 2008, so he didn't make his pro debut until hitting the Appalachian League in June. He responded by pitching well enough there to earn a call up to Idaho Falls, where he didn't give up more than 3 ER in any of his first 6 starts. In two consecutive starts he went 7 shutout innings with 10 Ks in one game and 7 Ks in the other. After a couple more not-as-good starts, he was shut down for the season because of the workload on his arm. The Pioneer League is a hitter's league so his .217 OAV there is remarkable, and he also showed a good K rate and K/BB in both stops in 2009. He should be in the Burlington (A) rotation to begin 2010, unless the Royals are taking his development extra cautious.

13. Nick Van Stratten, OF, 24 (last year: NR) -- .318/.393/.447 (.840 OPS), 50 RS, 20 2B, 5 3B, HR, 38 RBI, 28 BB/32 K, 15/21 SB, 2 E in 69 G/255 ABs in Burlington (A); then .288/.371/.403 (.774 OPS), 18 RS, 7 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 13 BB/19 K, 5/7 SB, 4 E in 42 G/139 ABs in Wilmington

*** Van Stratten showed some flashes in 2008 but didn't get enough playing time in a crowded Bees OF picture. He got his shot this season and cashed in, showing good command at the plate along with some gap pop and solid defense in both stops. He got off to a slow start in Advanced A by hitting only .158 with a .437 OPS in 11 July games there but hit over .330 with an .868 OPS in August and then followed that with even better rate stats in 5 September regular season games. By the end of the season he was one of the more consistent performers in the Wilmington lineup. He's getting a little old for the level so hopefully will start 2010 in AA, but I'd understand if they made him prove himself in high-A a little more. Nick is a Pipeline favorite, so hopefully he also keeps it going in 2010.

Johnny Giavotella, 2B, 22 (last year: 11) -- .258/.351/.380 (.731 OPS), 84 RS, 24 2B, 8 3B, 6 HR, 52 RBI, 66 BB/54 K, 26/35 SB, 21 E in 133 G/476 ABs in Wilmington

*** Giavotella got off to a slow start but rebounded to post OK, if unspectacular, numbers at high-A ball to stay on track for AA in 2010. He only hit in the .220s in April and May but some pop in April kept his OPS healthy. That power dissipated in May but he rebounded in June, had a good July and then a solid August before finishing strong. His OPS jumped 103 points after the all-star break thanks mostly to a 94 point increase in slugging percentage. He produced with an .814 OPS with RISP. While his overall BA and SLG numbers fell off in the move up a level from 2008, he showed good plate presence with more BB than K, and showed some speed. He's been durable, too. We'll see how he handles the Texas League next year.

15. Louis Coleman, righty RP (for now), 23 (last year: n/a) -- 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 0.41 WHIP, 1 SV, 1 BB/6 K, .091 OAV in 7 1/3 IP in Burlington (A); then 3-1, 1.26, 0.77 WHIP, 1 SV, 3 BB/16 K, .157 OAV in 10 G/14 1/3 IP in Wilmington

*** The Royals grabbed Coleman in the early rounds in the 2009 draft and he was lockdown out of the pen at both stops he made. I'd like to see him start 2010 in the Wilmington rotation rather than as a reliever, just to see how he does, but we'll see what the organization does. If he stays in the bullpen he will probably start the season in AA, and could be on the fast track in 2010. He had nothing statistical to argue with this year, other than a couple rough patches late in the season but that could be due more to fatigue than anything else.

16. Tyler Sample, righty SP, 20 (last year: NR) -- 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 2 BB/5 K, .412 OAV in 2 starts/4 IP in the AZL; then 4-2, 2.84, 1.07, 1 SV, 2 HRA, 20 BB/44 K, .184 OAV in 12 G (9 starts)/50 2/3 IP in Burlington (R)

*** Sample was one of the few bright spots in the Appy League for the Royals. Having gone through Tommy John surgery in high school, the Royals rolled the dice on him in last year's third round and he struggled in the AZL. Another season removed from those arm problems, Sample started to come around in 2009. He got a couple rehab-type starts in the AZL and again struggled but held his own for the B-Royals in 50 IP. He didn't allow more than an ER in any of his last 4 starts and won his last 4 decisions. He held both lefties and righties under .200 and had a 1.78 ERA in 30 August IP. I'd put him in the Bees rotation to start 2009 and see how he does. He can't do worse than Sam Runion did, I'd think.

17. Chris Dwyer, lefty SP, 21 (last year: n/a) -- 0-0, 4.15 ERA, 2.31 WHIP, HRA, 8 BB/15 K, .324 OAV in 4 starts/8 2/3 IP in Idaho Falls

*** The hitter-packed Pioneer League ate up Dwyer in 4 short starts but he did display a good K rate. The sample size is too small to tell much from for the 2009 4th rounder, so we'll have to wait and see what happens in 2010. I'd assume he'll get a shot at the Bees rotation, too, at least. He is supposed to have the stuff, we'll see if it translates.

18. Clint Robinson, 1B/DH, 24 (last year: NR) -- .298/.356/.463 (.819 OPS), 65 RS, 31 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 35 BB/79 K, 4/7 SB, 8 E in 124 G/436 ABs at Wilmington

*** Robinson improved his BA and OBP numbers from 2008 in Burlington but wasn't very consistent in 2009 in Wilmington. His season was like a donut, a good start and good end but nothing in the middle. He hit over .350 with nearly a 1.000 OPS in April, had a drop off in May, lost the pop in his bat for June, had a good OBP but still paltry SLG in July, flip-flopped that somewhat in August, then finished with a good 6 September games. In the end his numbers were better after the all-star break but he hit for only a .686 OPS with RISP, so his production could have been better. He was neck-and-neck with Moustakas for the team RBI lead for a while but then the middle of the donut came around. He should be in AA to start 2010, and I can see him hitting well there. Just have a feeling.

19. Greg Billo, righty SP, 19 (last year: NR) -- 2-2, 1.81 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 1 SV, 4 HRA, 16 BB/51 K, .205 OAV in 13 G (8 starts)/54 2/3 IP in Burlington (R)

*** Billo is probably the biggest "dark horse" on this list. He allowed more than 2 ER in only 1 of his last 10 appearances this season, including a 7-inning, 8 K shutout start against the division's best team, Danville. He posted good numbers as a starter but even better ones as a reliever, so we'll have to wait and see what the Royals do with him. He's another one I have a feeling about, we'll just see how he pans out. Hopefully he's in Burlington (A) to start 2010. If not, he's likely in IF.

20. Yowill Espinal, SS, 18 (last year: NR) -- .246/.327/.407 (.734 OPS), 31 RS, 9 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 22 BB/53 K, 20/34 SB, 26 E in 63 G/236 ABs in Burlington (R)

*** I said in the B-Royals stat wrapup that I wasn't that impressed with Espinal's performance, and I still kinda feel that way. He's easily the rawest prospect on the list as he didn't seem to have everything working all at once this year? Hit a HR, make 2 errors. Go 2-5 with 3 K. Go 0-5 but play errorless ball and steal 2 bases thanks to hitting into fielder's choices. Most of it is due to his age. I'll be interested to see what they do with him to start 2010, whether he gets a chance at A-ball or is forced to wait for short-season ball in Idaho Falls. If they follow what they've done in recent years, he'll get a shot with the Bees.

Others of note....Omaha: Chris Lubanski started the season good, but then got hurt and wasn't the same. He's still only 24, so he's still got time, but I think 2010 is a make-or-break year for him. Chris Hayes, who was on last year's list, struggled enough that I left him off this year's list. Plus he isn't getting any younger, not that he's past his prime or anything. I hope he can start getting AAA guys out next year. Chris Nicoll got his first shot at AAA as a starter and showed he probably belongs in the pen for now. He had a strange season, and we'll see where he is to start 2010. NWA: Kurt Mertins didn't impress in his first shot at AA as he couldn't crack a .700 OPS at season's end. He was also second on the team in errors. Jarrod Dyson came off well despite mediocre stats after starting 2009 on a drug suspension. He'll probably be back in AA to start 2010, but fits the speedy/contact profile the FO loves. OF Jose Duarte also dropped off the radar somewhat by not handling AA and also looking lost in his first shot at AAA. Chris McConnell is also playing himself out of the prospect picture. Marc Maddox got banged up and didn't follow up a decent 2008. Starter Everett Teaford will likely have to start 2010 back in AA after ripping it up at Wilmington but then having his struggles in his first shot at AA ball. Blake Wood also dropped back in the ranks after struggling again and getting hurt this season in AA. Wilmington: Derrick Robinson struggled the whole year before breaking out in August and then fading away in September. If anything, he took a step back in 2009. Same with OF Adrian Ortiz, who couldn't hack it in either Wilmington or Burlington (A) this year. Starter Eduardo Paulino finished strong to likely have a shot at a low rotation slot in AA next season. Alex Caldera was on last year's list but struggled in high-A ball and may be back there in 2010. RP Brandon Sisk pitched great and should have a shot at AA closer next season. Starter Jason Godin rebounded well from a facial fracture that ended his 2008 and should be in AA to start 2010, probably working out of the pen. RP Zach Peterson's K rate dropped off but he was otherwise solid. Burlington (A): C Juan Graterol showed flashes, more than Juan Bonilla or Salvador Perez, anyway, with the Bees. IF Jason Morales also came out of nowhere to post good stats for the Bees and should be in the A-ball picture in 2010. OF Nick Francis' exploits were well-documented as he had an inconsistent but really good at times performance and ended the season on suspension for drugs. Jason Taylor struggled in his return to A ball after starting the year on a drug suspension to drop off this list. He may get a shot at Wilmington in 2010. IF Fernando Garcia posted one of the better OBPs in the Royals' minors this season but didn't hit for a lot of contact and didn't have much pop. He could develop, tho. OF Patrick Norris was another Ortiz/D. Robinson type who underperformed, although I think he had arguably the best year of the three. IF Ryan Wood proved he could get on base in his pro debut but didn't follow it up by hitting well enough to make it mean much. C Sean McCauley struggled before ending the season on the DL. Neither Bonilla nor Perez could hack A ball yet. OF Hilton Richardson struggled in his first taste of the level but should be back to start 2010. Starter Mike Lehmann struggled, but RP Blaine Hardy almost made the list with a strong performance. He should be in Wilmington to start 2010. Starter Ivor Hodgson had some good starts in his first shot at full-season ball. Dusty Odenbach and Cole White had decent but unspectacular pro debuts. Idaho Falls: IF/OF Ryan Stovall proved he could hit but couldn't really field anywhere that great in his pro debut. He'll likely be in the Burlington OF to start 2010. Perez hit well enough in IF to likely merit a shot back in Burlington in 2010. OF Carlo Testa hit well again before going down with a finger injury, but should be back with a shot at Burlington in 2010. C Ben Theriot had a middling pro debut, who knows where he'll be in 2010. C/1B Joey Lewis also made his pro debut and hit decently, but it's also up in the air where he'll be come 2010. IF Malcom Culver got a late season shot after making his full-time positional debut in Burlington (R) this season. He didn't do great at either level. IF Deivy Batista was one of the Chukars' offensive highlights and should get a shot at Burlington (A) next season. OF Alex Llanos struggled in his first shot at IF and may be back in 2010. P Brendan Lafferty made a solid pro debut before getting a shot with the Bees to end the season. That's probably where he'll be in 2010. Starter Nick Wooley had a middling pro debut, but P Patrick Keating proved to produce out of the pen as IF closer. He also got moved up late in the season. Scott Kelley also made a solid debut and got moved up with Keating to Wilmington late in the season. Burlington (R): C Fernando Cruz did OK in his first year at the position but we'll see where he starts 2010. The A-ball and rookie leagues are kinda crowded at C. OF Luis Del Rosario hit well enough on a poor-hitting B-Royal team to get moved up to Wilmington late, where he struggled. IF Ben Tschepikow spent most of the season with the B-Royals before finishing in Omaha. He will probably start 2010 in Burlington (A). OF Geulin Beltre led the team in a couple categories but didn't do too great. He may be one to watch, tho. Starter Keaton Hayenga did all right in his pro debut and is another one who could be multiple places come next April. Same with starter Leondy Perez. AZL: IF Luis Piterson stuck out in Arizona, but I'd be surprised if he's in full-season ball to start 2010. C Mauricio Matos improved from his '08 pro debut but will also likely be in rookie ball next year. IF Justin Trapp was solid at times in his pro debut, as was 1B Geoff Baldwin, who cooled as the season progressed and will likely be in Burlington or IF in 2010. Most of the AZL pitchers struggled this season. One exception was NDFA RP Jack Adams, who was the team's best closer. '09 draftee Claudio Bavera was also one of the team's best pitchers and finished the year in IF.

There were a couple other guys MIA this season due to injury, in most cases, or other unknown reasons -- pitchers Ed Cegarra, Kelvin Herrera, John Flanagan, Luis Cota, Matt Mitchell to name a few...


keith said...

re Hosmer: dude needs to hit the ball in the air. i don't remember the number, but he hit an absurd number of ground balls. if he can fix that, that'd take care of a lot of problems...

re Kila: i don't really see him as much more than a platoon DH. if you can trade him for good value, i'd do it. Callaspo can DH. or we can sign a random old guy like Delgado or Thome also.

re Coleman: i totally agree that he should be a starter for now. see if that changeup can develop more. odd delivery though...

re Billo: too high for me. he's lucky to hit 90 on the gun. there are tons and tons of guys with his profile that never pan out. there's other pitches i'd take before him -- Carlos Fortuna, Crawford Simmons, Keaton hayenga, Kelvin Herrera...to name a few.

Ken said...

Good points....

re Billo: He and Espinal were the two choices I wrestled the most with. I'm not big on Fortuna, Simmons is an unproven commodity. Hayenga is a good point, but Billo outpitched him in Burlington. And Herrera makes sense but we'll have to see how he comes back from injury in '10. Blaine Hardy was one of the ones I also thought about including...

The last couple spots are easily interchangeable in the Royals' system.

james said...

Glad to see someone is still asking about John Flanagan. Sure hope to see him back in 2010 after his 2008 performance.

Royals Nation said...

Flanagan was released earlier this year (early summer, I want to say).

Ken said...

thanks for the info, Jack. Wonder what happened there....maybe he wanted to be a pro bowler?

Jamie said...

Jack, you might want to check your sources. John Flanagan WAS NOT released. He is still employed by the Royals even though he asked to be released after they sent him home for unkown reasons. Don't post unless you have the truth.

James said...

With all due respect. Don't post unless you have the truth.

Ken said...

looks like another great handling of a minors player by the front office, no matter what happened.

James said...

Ken, you couldn't have said it any better. I completely agree! This one sounds rally messed up.

Anonymous said...

What about Jason Godin? He pitched from High A to AAA. Maybe 2010 will be a breakout year?