25 September 2010

The Pipeline's Top 20 Royals Prospects 2010

OK....I couldn't resist. After looking at last year's list, I wasn't as disappointed with it as I thought I'd be. Yeah, Lough was probably a little high at 5, I had Dwyer low at 17 and rolled the dice on Billo at 19, but it wasn't bad. And Billo didn't have a great year but his K rate improved, which is a good sign. And he's still only 20. Something tells me the Royals' system is gonna get a nice boost when the experts' system ratings come out next spring. Most every big prospect in the system stepped up his game this season, and the prospect reports for BA and BP were rife with Royal names. BA already has released it's top 20 AZL prospects and 3 of the top 10 were Royals (Yordano Ventura, Robinson Yambati and Cheslor Cuthbert). I expect that trend to continue (albeit likely skipping the Appy League and Pioneer League lists) as the lists move up the rungs.

The heavy hitters lead the way as the most recognizable names take up the top 8 spots. The last 2 of the top 10 are players who really stepped forward this season and shone through. The second 10 is marked by up and comers and shouldabeens who weren't this season and thus their stock slipped somewhat.

As disappointed and burned out as I was as 2009 came to a close, I have to admit although the burnout is still there from grinding out another 150-or-so RotF reports, I'm not as down on the organization as I was at this point last year. Having so many good seasons to follow this year helps a lot. It took my attention off another crappy season in KC. At some point these prospects are gonna have to start producing in KC, however, which makes me nervous when it comes to Dayton handling things right. He already blew the Moustakas September call-up with me, although after reading Rany Jazayerli's rehash of it, it wasn't as bad a misstep. I'd grade out the teams as Omaha at a B, NWA at an A, Wilmington at a C+, Burlington at a D, Idaho Falls at a C-, Burlington (Rookie) at a C and the AZL at a C-. Alas, this is the last year for the Burlington Bees on the report as the Royals have shifted their Midwest League base to the Kane County Cougars, which makes sense with the KC initials and all. Plus KC (er, Kane County) has way better local support from what I've read.

Here's the spiel... 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. That means Kila is sadly phased out, as is Jordan Parraz. Kila would definitely have hit the list, Parraz would have dropped but maybe settled in the bottom 5 still.

1. Mike Moustakas, 3B
, 22 (last year: 3) -- .293/.314/.564 (.878 OPS), 36 RS, 16 2B, 15 HR, 48 RBI, 8 BB/25 K, 2/2 SB, 8 E in 52 G/225 ABs in Omaha, .347/.413/.687 (1.100 OPS), 58 RS, 25 2B, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 26 BB/42 K, 0/1 SB, 13 E in 66 G/259 ABs in NW Arkansas.

*** I was as impressed with Moustakas' 2010 as I was disappointed in his 2009 when he posted a .718 OPS in Wilmington. He absolutely tore up the Texas League for 66 games, then moved to AAA and forgot how to take a walk but still came on late to post pretty good numbers. Overall he posted a .999 OPS with 41 2B, 36 HR, 124 RBI. In the high minors. I still say he deserved a taste of the big leagues in September, but Dayton can make up for it by putting him on the opening day roster in 2011. I bet he'll take the usual route of a call-up in June or July (barring injury, please God) and hopefully he can stick. I posted this in last season's list: "
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." That's check, incomplete and check, as I think he showed a little better glove from reports. I also said he had something to prove in AA. Point taken. I hope and pray the discipline will join the power soon.

2. Wil Myers, C
, 19 (last year: 7) -- .346/.453/.512 (.966 OPS with the rounding), 28 RS, 14 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 37 BB/39 K, 2/5 SB, 1 E in 58 G/205 ABs in Wilmington, .289/.408/.500 (.908 OPS), 42 RS, 19 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 48 BB/55 K, 10/13 SB, 4 E in 68 G/242 ABs in Burlington (A).

*** Good God, after looking back over his numbers this is a close race for #1 with Moose. Myers could be 1A, 1AAAAAAAAA, it's so close. He's got the power plus the discipline. That's a combined .934 OPS, 33 2B, 14 HR, 83 RBI and 85 BB/94 K in 447 ABs. There's some talk of whether he can stick at C but that just gives him another edge if he can stick it out, as C is a premium position and, if you play fantasy baseball, you know that great hitting Cs don't just grow on trees. I said this year he blew up on the Royals' map in his pro debut. This year he left a mushroom cloud behind. He got the power going late in Wilmington but neither the MWL nor Carolina League, especially Frawley Field, is exactly a hitter's paradise. One of the main questions going into 2011 is whether he'll start the season in Wilmington or NWA. I'm rooting for NWA but we'll see. I think they want all the big shots coming up in two waves, with Myers in the second, so NW Arkansas would make sense. He can rake, there's all there is to it.

3. Mike Montgomery, LH,
21 (last year: 1) -- 5-4, 3.47 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .255 OAV, 4 HRA, 26 BB/48 K in 13 starts/59 2/3 IP in NWA, 2-0, 1.09 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, .165 OAV, 4 BB/33 K in 4 starts/24 2/3 IP at Wilmington.

*** Last year's #1 suffers from some injury concerns on my part and some growing pains in AA on this year's list. He dominated the Carolina League so much that he got the quick promotion to AA, had to hit the shelf for a while with nagging arm problems and then encountered some resistance in the Texas League. The numbers weren't bad, they were fairly average. I'd expect much better in AA to start 2011 tho. I bet he's back on track then, but he is pitching in the AFL this fall and I hope the organization gives him some time for his arm to recover for another season. Actually I saw this coming....from last year's list: "
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." I'm as surprised as anyone that I got that right. The K rate didn't sustain in AA as well, and neither did the K/BB, but like I said I expect a recovery in 2011. Also from last year: "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." I can say that again...

4. Eric Hosmer, 1B,
19 (last year: 6) -- .313/.365/.615 (.980 OPS), 39 RS, 14 2B, 3 3B, 13 HR, 35 RBI, 15 BB/27 K, 3/4 SB, 2 E in 50 G/195 ABs in NW Arkansas, .354/.429/.545 (.974 OPS), 48 RS, 29 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 51 RBI, 44 BB/39 K, 11/12 SB, 8 E in 87 G/325 ABs in Wilmington.

*** His modest jump on the list despite an overall .977 OPS, 43 2B, 9 3B, 20 HR, 86 RBI and 14/16 SB tells you all you need to know about how stacked the Royals' minors were in 2010. Any other year he woulda jumped up to top 3 easy. His numbers took the hit from the jump to AA but not as much as one would think they might. And his power, like Moustakas' going from Wilmington to NWA, erupted this season, although it had already done so in Wilmington, which neither Moustakas nor Myers could boast. The hits keep coming...from last year's report: "I assume he'll be back in Wilmington to start 2010 with a shot to make it to AA if things go well" and "He could easily be back in the top 3 with a monster 2010. I think the power will come along." Not exactly bold predictions, don't get me wrong, but boom goes the dynamite. The question now, like with Myers, is will it be NWA or Omaha to start 2011? I'm thinking he has a solid shot at Omaha. It would be cool to see him and Moustakas in the same lineup again.

5. John Lamb, LH
, 20 (last year: 12) -- 2-1, 5.45 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .280 OAV, 2 HRA, 13 BB/26 K in 7 starts/33 IP at NW Arkansas, 6-3, 1.45 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .219 OAV, 1 HRA, 15 BB/90 K in 13 starts/74 2/3 IP at Wilmington, 2-3, 1.58 ERA, little over 1-pt. WHIP, .188 OAV, 2 HRA, 17 BB/43 K in 8 starts/40 IP at Burlington (A).

*** Lamb shot up the charts in the organization in 2010 for one of the biggest jumps on the list. He was dominant in several ways with the Bees for 40 IP, then moved up to Wilmington and played Godzilla on Carolina League foes for way better numbers before getting the rare follow-up promotion (for this organization) to AA. He met his match in the Texas League, but hey, he's only 20. He started the year in the Midwest League and finished it in a title run in AA. Let's take it for what it is and look forward to more in 2011. The Royals shut him down for workload reasons in 2009, then proceeded to load on more than double the IP in 2010, which doesn't make much sense to me. Isn't the rule of thumb a 30-inning jump from year to year? Not a 79-inning jump? I'm assuming they were monitoring him closely and decided his arm could take it, but if he doesn't make it through 2011 many are going to be pissed. He is only 20 after all, not 27. Let's not get too much of a good thing at this point. But the cart is after the horse at this point. He should get another run at AA in 2011 with a part to play in that second wave of Royals prospects set to hit the majors in 2012-2013.

6. Danny Duffy, LH,
21 (last year: 2) -- 5-2, 2.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .255 OAV, 1 CG, 1 ShO, 3 HRA, 9 BB/41 K in 7 starts/39 1/3 IP at NW Arkansas, 0-0, 2.57 ERA, 1-pt WHIP, .170 OAV, 2 HRA, 7 BB/18 K in 3 starts/14 IP at Wilmington, also stops in AZL and Pioneer League.

*** I was worried in last season's list about Duffy's back problems but I guess I should have been more worried about his brain, as he dropped the bombshell in spring training that he needed to take some time away from the game. Following a standout 2009 in Wilmington, he was slated to be part of a formidable AA rotation in 2010. Five months into the season, he was, after making the decision to come back in the summer months. He made quick stops in the AZL and Idaho Falls, stayed in Wilmington long enough to prove he still had the Carolina League in his pocket, then moved up to NW Arkansas. He got 7 regular season starts with the Naturals in which he sprinkled in 2 stinkers with five other starts in which he allowed no more than 1 ER. He then proved his worth in the playoffs with some good performances in helping lead the Nats to the Texas League title. I'm hoping he's in Omaha to start 2011 ready to face another challenge and not back in California once again mulling his baseball future. He's getting some more work in this fall in the AFL. The argument for top dog last year was between Montgomery and Duffy. This year both had their ups and downs but Duffy proved more ready for AA competition. If being part of a winner in the KC organization for once doesn't help get his mind right, then what will?

7. Christian Colon, SS, 21 (last year: N/A) --
.278/.326/.380 (.705 OPS), 38 RS, 12 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 13 BB/33 K, 2/6 SB, 17 E in 60 G/245 ABs at Wilmington.

*** The Royals got their #1 pick signed quickly in 2010, for a change, and Colon stumbled out of the gate but recovered to post a .748 OPS in August as things were looking up as the Carolina League schedule ran out of gas. Seventeen errors in 60 games doesn't exactly speak of sparkling defense but it's still early in his pro career and he was coming off the workload of a full college baseball season. He has had some knee issues in the past but he seemed to hold up well this season and hopefully that continues moving forward. The Royals are in dire need of a SS, as they haven't had one consistently since Freddie Patek (who wasn't that great, and Jay Bell, Greg Gagne and Rey Sanchez all had faults in their game in one place or another, and weren't with the team that long). Hopefully he follows Moustakas' trend of a slow year in Frawley and his bat awakes when he gets to AA in 2011. If he breaks out the bat I bet he makes his way to Omaha at some point. I surmise KC views him as a little more major-league ready than the rest of the big shots. If he pans out, I can drop the whole Grant Green angst, which would be nice.

Chris Dwyer, LH, 22 (last year: 17) -- 2-1, 3.06 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .175 OAV, 2 HRA, 10 BB/20 K in 4 starts/17 2/3 IP in NWA, 6-3, 2.99 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .246 OAV, 1 CG, 3 HRA, 33 BB/93 K in 15 starts/84 1/3 IP in Wilmington.

*** A year after omitting Tim Melville from the list all together, I put Dwyer too low at 17 in 2009, which he soundly proved wrong in 2010. But he did struggle in a small sample size at Idaho Falls in 2009. He got off to a middling start but picked it up at Wilmington to earn a call-up to NW Arkansas with a great K-rate and solid K/BB ratio. He made his presence felt at AA with a K/BB that took a hit but his K rate stayed good. Then he was injured and didn't return. He leap-frogged Burlington on his trip up the ladder to start 2010 but I bet he's back in AA to start 2011 if healthy. This may not be the right place for him, I'm not 100% sold on him at 8 but I think he earned it this season. Now I hope he can live up to it and exceed it in 2011.

Clint Robinson, 1B, 25 (last year: 18) -- .335/.410/.625 (1.035 OPS), 90 RS, 41 2B*, 5 3B, 29 HR*, 98 RBI*, 58 BB/86 K*, 4/7 SB, 15 E* in 129 G/477 ABs at NW Arkansas.

*** The fact that KC already has Billy Butler and Kila Ka'aihue blocking the way at first likely means something's got to give. One of them probably won't be with the organization, or maybe even shouldn't be, by this time next season. I don't put it past Dayton tho to just let Clint rot at AA or AAA until he goes somewhere else via minors free agency. Or package him with a low minors pitching prospect for a 38-year-old that can block Moustakas or something. It's arguable this is high for Clint. After all he is 25 and is just now possibly hitting AAA, when he'll be turning 26. But he did absolutely rake this season, and he DID win the Texas League triple crown. It can be argued he was the Nats' player of the year this season. He also must have suffered from the Frawley flu in 2009 as his numbers surged big time with the jump to AA. From last year's report..."He should be in AA to start 2010, and I can see him hitting well there. Just have a feeling." Hopefully he can keep it up when he hits Sarpy County next season. Like I said, something's gonna have to give, tho, to get him to KC. If this is a couple spots too high, he at least backed it up this season.

Johnny Giavotella, 2B, 23 (last year: 14) -- .322/.395/.460 (.855 OPS), 92 RS*, 35 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 65 RBI, 61 BB*/67 K, 13/20 SB, 13 E in 134 G*/522 ABs* at NW Arkansas.

*** He didn't outwalk his K's this season but he did exceed his Wilmington 2009 BA by 64 points and his Wilmington OPS by 124 points. He's been one of the more consistent prospects the last couple seasons. He was consistently mediocre in A-Advanced but the Frawley effect has to have come into play there. It can't be a coincidence that almost every Royals hitting prospect has some struggles at Wilmington. Between it being a pitcher's park and the good competition in the Carolina League, it's like they're freed from a cage when they move up to AA. I guess I prefer that rather than the other way around where they rocked the California League in High Desert then their numbers plummeted to normal levels at old Wichita. Giavotella's numbers didn't exactly outshine the others, obviously, he's 10th, but you can count on him to hit for average every season, show good plate discipline, not strike out a ton, and his pop has improved. Plus he cut down on the errors this season at second. It's exciting to see a couple middle infield prospects actually do well and move up in the system. That hasn't happened any time since I started these reports. We've always had the Berroa-A. Sanchez-Gotay pupu platter. Unfortunately guys like Marc Maddox and Kurt Mertins have kind of played themselves to the fringe rather than stepping up. I'm optimistic Giavotella won't go that route when he hits Omaha next season.

Aaron Crow, RH, 23 (last year: 4) -- 7-7*, 5.66 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, .279 OAV, 13 HRA*, 59 BB*/90 K in 22 G/119 1/3 IP* at NW Arkansas, 2-3, 5.93 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .290 OAV, 6 HRA, 6 BB/53 K in 7 starts/44 IP at Wilmington.

*** Crow struggled while other, younger pitchers flourished this season for the organization. I hope we can just chalk some of it up to it being his first pro season and him feeling out the competition somewhat. Consistency was a problem at both stops for Crow, as his 7 Wilmington starts were marked by two 8-run starts (8 ER in one, 6 ER in the other), 4 4-run starts and a 6 2/3 IP, 3-hit gem with 1 BB/13 K. I think he showed at times he could be good but he's gonna have to put it together a little more often to stick. This should motivate him to work harder this offseason to prove the bad numbers were a fluke. How he responds in 2011 may be the biggest key story to watch in the organization. Still, look at that K/BB and K rate at Wilmington. He's got the stuff. I expect a rebound in NW Arkansas and a move to Omaha in 2011.

12. Tim Collins, RH, 21 (last year: N/A) --
2-1, 1.33 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, .127 OAV, 4 SV, 8 BB/21 K in 20 1/3 IP in Omaha.

*** The Royals rewarded Collins, the fruit of the Rick Ankiel/Kyle Farnsworth deal (almost as good as the Parraz for Lumsden deal), with his first trip to AAA and he answered the call. He posted 16 BB/73 K in only 43 IP with the Jays' AA team before getting swapped to the Braves, who only used him for 8 IP at AA before flipping him to KC. He didn't quite match that insane K rate at Omaha but he did post an OAV 47 points lower than at the Jays' AA stop. Some short sample size surely skews some stats, alliteration aside. The things I do to keep myself entertained here. I expect Collins to keep dealing at Omaha to start 2011 with a probably decent shot to break camp with KC. The Royals could use some good middle relief and, if the right deal for Soria comes along, we have a plug-in closer. Being only 5-7, he's gonna get some nickname like The Microwave or something, so be prepared.

13. David Lough, OF
, 24 (last year: 5) -- 280/.346/.437 (.783 OPS), 65 RS, 15 2B, 12 3B*, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 40 BB/72 K, 14/19 SB, 4 E in 120 G/460 ABs in Omaha.

*** Lough got the AAA shot I hoped he would get in last year's list and....he played like a guy in his first shot at AAA. He ended up holding his own but I bet he's back for some more seasoning in 2011. He was the only Royals farmhand I can recall off-hand (oh wait, see #17) to post double digit doubles, triples and HR, and as I hoped last year, his plate discipline improved some as he drew 40 walks compared to 24 combined at two levels in 2009. It's still not great, but he's headed the right direction, and he's still only 24. You can't teach athleticism, and he's got it. The drop on the list is mainly because of the stellar seasons of other players and the fact he had to adjust to AAA. I'd bet he does a better job of tearing up the Pac Coast League in 2011.

14. Will Smith, LH, 21 (last year: N/A) --
4-1, 2.80 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .233 OAV, 6 HRA, 4 BB/51 K in 8 starts/54 2/3 IP at Wilmington.

*** The main get in the Alberto Callaspo deal pitched very well at Wilmington, then stepped up for a good playoff start to help the Naturals to their title. He started 2010 in the California League with the Angels' affiliate, posted a Cal-League special 4.58 ERA with 49 H and BB in 37 1/3 IP, leapfrogged AA for 53 mediocre IP at Salt Lake City (.305 OAV, 85 H/BB in 53 IP), bounced back to AA where he continued to struggle in 18 2/3 IP (was it a confidence thing? 9 BB/8 K), which probably made it easier for the Angels to rationalize shipping him to KC. So 2010 was kind of a long strange trip for Will, probably. Anyway, he started at A-Advanced in Wilmington and has to have regained some confidence as he took advantage of Frawley and posted a brilliant nearly 13-1 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 IP. The move to AA for the playoffs and a good start in the TLCS was just the cherry on top of that line. He turns 22 in 2011 and should be part of that great NW Arkansas rotation to start the season with a hot start to the season probably earning him a ride to Omaha. After seeing him do well against Idaho Falls and the Bees in the past, it's nice to have him on the good side.

Crawford Simmons, LH, 19 (last year: NR) -- 6*-2, 2.77 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .220 OAV, 7 HRA*, 19 BB/70 K* in 14 starts/78 IP in Burlington (Rookie).

*** Crawford made his long-awaited pro debut this year and he made it count as one of the B-Royals' best 2 pitchers along with Leonel Santiago. A 6-inning, 1-hit, 6 K start in July was enhanced in August in back-to-back 7 shutout IP starts with a combined 3 walks and 15 Ks, altho 11 Ks came in 1 start. He allowed 1 ER in each of his last 3 starts. He allowed only a .191 OAV in 8 road starts. Actually 15 could be a little low but it feels right to me. He should get a promotion to A-ball to start 2011 and we'll see how he does in Kane County. Hopefully he's part of a third wave of Royals prospects coming up. All in all, he laid one pretty solid foundation for his career if it's only upwards and onwards from here.

16. Louis Coleman, RH, 24 (last year: 15) -- 2-1, 2.09 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .171 OAV, 6 SV, 5 HRA, 14 BB/55 K in 21 G (1 start)/51 2/3 IP at NW Arkansas, 5-2, 2.23 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .215 OAV, 1 SV, 2 HRA, 11 BB/48 K in 21 G/40 1/3 IP in Omaha.

*** Louis ranks higher on some lists, I'm sure, as he and Collins could comprise a formidable duo in the KC pen as soon as next season. He dips a spot this season more for the performance of others than his own. He was stellar at both AA and AAA with good K rates at both levels and a roughly 4-1 K/BB at both stops as well. At this point it looks like a step up to the majors is just a spring training away. I'm gonna go out on a short limb here and say he and Collins are both set-up guys in the KC pen by September 2011. My verve for Coleman is tempered by the fact he's a reliever. Starters are going to be the key to the Royals' rebirth. Yes, a solid pen is part of the puzzle but I think that's an easier part of the puzzle to put together. Coleman should be a good one, tho.

17. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, 18 (last year: NR) -- .265/.342/.412 (.754 OPS), 14 RS, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 BB/19 K, 1/2 SB, 6 E in 18 G/68 ABs in the AZL, .233/.281/.433 (.715 OPS), 10 RS, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB/16 K, 1/1 SB, 1 E in 14 G/60 ABs in Idaho Falls.

*** Another potential third wave guy is Cheslor, who played only 32 games this season but had his share of big moments. Enough, anyway, to make me a fan of the Nicaraguan. He kind of dropped out of sight abruptly at Idaho Falls, but did enough that hopefully he gets put in Kane County to start 2011. I wouldn't be too surprised if they held him back for Idaho Falls and short-season ball again. He still looked pretty raw in the Pioneer League this season as the stats show. He seems to have the tools, though. I bet his line in rookie ball improves next season.

. Carlo Testa, OF, 23 (24 in December) (last year: NR) -- .275/.365/.466 (.831 OPS), 83 RS*, 24 2B, 14 3B*, 12 HR*, 50 RBI*, 60 BB*/125 K*, 28/37 SB, 5 E in 128 G*/461 ABs* with the Bees.

*** On a bad final Bees team, Testa was the main bright spot. Like David Lough, Testa is about tools and athleticism and brings a little big of everything to the table. Unlike Lough, Testa keeps getting buried in the system. Lough is 24 and in AAA, Testa is 23 and for some reason can't get a ticket to Wilmington despite joining Lough with double digits in doubles, triples and HR. Yes, he strikes out too much, but can also draw a walk and can steal a base, run and play defense. I hope they'll give him a shot at Wilmington and he can respond in 2011. He deserves to be given a shot as part of that third wave heading to KC. Here's your dark horse candidate for a breakout in 2011. But I like Carlo.

Brett Eibner, OF/P, turns 22 in December (last year: N/A) -- no stats yet

*** Eibner inked late as the second round powerhouse hitter and also reportedly a good pitcher out of the U of Arkansas. He was added to the Idaho Falls roster but never played a game for whatever reason. He supposedly has the tools but we'll have to wait and see. Will he start 2011 in Kane County? I usually shy away from putting the unknowns on here, but I'm making an exception in Eibner's case. Let's hope he lives up to the billing.

20. Salvador Perez, C, 20 (last year: NR) -- .290/.322/.411 (.732 OPS), 35 RS, 21 2B, 3B, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 18 BB/38 K, 1/2 SB, 6 E in 99 G/365 ABs at Wilmington.

*** Despite his struggles with the Bees in 2009 (a .466 OPS in 36 games), Perez was given the chance as the youngest player in the Carolina League (until Wil Myers came along, that is) and responded with an .847 OPS in May. He then went on a June-July tailspin but pulled out of it in August to the tune of a .390 BA and 1.035 OPS to end the season on a sweet note. His game is in consistency, usually a hit a night, some pop and timely hitting. He needs to develop better plate patience to keep moving up through the system, especially with Lucas May and Wil Myers ahead of him at the C spot. I assume he and Myers will make up 2 of the youngest players in the Texas League once 2011 rolls around. Oddly enough, he laughed off the Frawley effect to hit .351 with an .894 OPS at home but struggled with a .236 BA/.585 OPS on the road. He also seemed to struggle in night games with a .689 OPS but put together a 1.004 OPS in day games. All around, tho, his stats improved dramatically after the all-star break, which is a good sign.

Others....incomplete grades go to Jeff Bianchi (last year's #11) and 5th rounder Jason Adam, who is highly touted out of a KC area high school but we won't see until short-season ball in 2011. Same goes for Matt Mitchell, who pitched with the Bees but was coming back off arm surgery. Omaha: Ed Lucas had a good year, but is 27. Lucas May has also gotten a September call to KC but is 26 and out of the running here. RP Blaine Hardy would also be one of the top 5 left off, and he's only 23, but his status as a reliever cut him down some. NW Arkansas: Patrick Keating stood out this year but also falls into the reliever category. I would have liked to include Everett Teaford here, and I still think he could produce at the majors level, but he's 26 and therefore didn't qualify. Paulo Orlando and Jamie Romak stood out this year, but not enough to make the top 20 in a great season for the organization (below the major league level of course). The rest of the NW Arkansas OF could also have an argument. Derrick Robinson gets a lot of press as being toolsy (speed wise, anyway), Tim Smith had a good season when given the chance to play, and Nick Van Stratten made the list last season but had some struggles in 2010. Wilmington: Buddy Baumann had some good starts for the Rocks but needs another season like this, preferably better, to make it into the top 20. 2010 draftee Kevin Chapman had his ups and downs out of the pen in his pro debut. Brendan Lafferty fell into the Keating camp. A good season but not good enough to make the list. Tim Melville is an arguable omission here but he just didn't do enough this season. He'd also likely be in the top 5 not listed. Nick Francis had a good year coming back from a drug suspension, and Adrian Ortiz is still in the mix but both have some work to do to get back into the prospect picture. Burlington (A): Chas Byrne had a middling pro debut as he dominated the rookie level but struggled with the Bees. Keaton Hayenga, Mitch Hodge and Sam Runion are off the map until they actually pitch well for any kind of extended period of time. Dusty Odenbach goes in with Baumann in that he came out of nowhere to post some good starts for the Bees but wasn't consistent enough to sniff the list. Elisaul Pimentel came over from the Dodgers in the Podsednik deal but stunk out loud for Burlington. Tyler Sample was also on the list last season but his control problems lingered and he was bypassed by several players in my estimation. Fernando Cruz is still only 20 but has yet to stand out at any level in the organization offensively. Jake Kuebler took a step up in 2010 but is still a ways away from consideration. Alex McClure struggled in his pro debut but is another toolsy guy. At 21, he has a lot of work to do to get somewhere with KC. OFs Tim Ferguson and Whit Merrifield made their pro debuts, and Merrifield impressed at times in all facets of the game, but both will have to prove their worth at Wilmington in 2011. Idaho Falls: Greg Billo didn't quite make the list this season but still wasn't poor, just not good enough for the list. Scott Alexander, Chad Blauer, Eric Cantrell and several others made their debuts on the mound but none stand out. At C, Dale Cornstubble and Kevin David debuted with David having the early advantage. Yowill Espinal also made the list last year but didn't progress much this season. At 19, he still has a ways to go, tho, so he could rebound at Kane County in 2011. Murray Watts led the crop of draftees at IF but the monster DH is 23 and needs to be on the fast track to have any chance at making a go of it. Burlington (R): Willian Avinazar would likely have been another member of the top 5 left off after a great season for the Royals. Same for Leonel Santiago. None of the 2010 draftees really stood out here, as Ryan Jenkins did all right at C but that was about it. Luis Piterson started hot but cooled to ice by season's end. Brian Fletcher got 1 good game in before missing the rest of the season with injury. Alex Llanos is in Cruz's boat as a high draftee who has yet to show much as a pro. AZL: Robinson Yambati and Yordano Ventura were both bandied about for the list but in the end I left both off. They're both only 19 so hopefully they can leap forward in 2011. Jin-Ho Shin struggled in his US debut. Mike Antonio was a high draftee who struggled somewhat and should see short-season ball again, likely at Burlington, in 2011. Henry Moreno was the man at 1B but is 21 and therefore a little old for the AZL. I liked OF Ysmelin Alcantara but at 20 he'll have to start moving soon to have any shot. Jerico Blanco was horrible but is only 18. I also liked 2010 draftee Darian Sandford but he's already 23 and was in the AZL, so he's behind the 8-ball moving forward.

No comments: