MLB.com revealed their Top-100 prospect list today and three current and two recently traded Royals made the list. Of the current Royals, Bubba Starling checks in at #26 and is the top ranked prospect in Kansas City’s system. At #34, Kyle Zimmer isn’t far behind while Yordano Ventura rounds out the team’s representation at #59.
The inclusion of these three prospects shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows the Royals. Most sources that do any type of prospect rankings will have the trio of Starling, Zimmer and Ventura at the top of Kansas City’s prospect cache, though the order will likely vary. I personally would slot them in the order that MLB.com did, but there is certainly an argument to be made that Zimmer should be the team’s top ranked prospect currently.
On Bubba Starling:
Patience will be the key, but the payoff could be huge as Starling has tremendous raw tools to work with. He has a ton of raw power, but he still has a lot of work to do on his overall approach and hitting, so he can tap into that power as he moves forward. He does have good speed and a very strong arm, giving him the skills to play a very good center field, unless he loses some quickness as he physically matures. It may take some time, though the Royals knew that when they drafted him, and how much his bat develops will help determine just how good he is in the future.
On Kyle Zimmer:
Typically, amateurs who are new to pitching are valuable because they have fresher arms or might have fewer bad habits to break. They’re not supposed to have an advanced feel for pitching and have the chance to move very quickly through a farm system. But that’s exactly who Zimmer is. He threw extremely well in his summer debut, even though he eventually had bone chips removed from his elbow. Zimmer has the chance to have four above-average or better offerings. He’s a very good athlete who repeats his delivery well, going right after hitters and throwing a lot of strikes. It shouldn’t take him too long to be ready for Kansas City.
On Yordano Ventura:
There’s no question that Ventura’s electric arm will get him to the big leagues. What role he ultimately fills remains to be seen. The undersized right-hander has one of the best fastballs in the Minors, sitting in the upper-90s with ease. His hammer of a curve can be unhittable at times. There’s deception with his changeup, but it’s fairly straight at this point in time, but it could be a Major League average pitch in the future. He can always improve his overall command, but he misses plenty of bats with his fastball-curve combination. That alone could make him a future closer, but there’s enough there to think he should at least get a shot at starting.
This offseason, of course, it isn’t just about where current Royals fall on the various lists. We also have to keep an eye on the prospects we lost in the acquisition of James Shields and Wade Davis. As expected, Wil Myers cracked MLB.com’s top 5 and was ranked at #4 just behind Rangers SS Jurickson Profar, Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy and Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras. That puts Myers in some very elite company and should serve as a reminder of the special talent we gave up last month. Newly minted Rays prospect Jake Odorizzi checked in at #45 on the list.
On Wil Myers:
His bat is just about ready to help out in the big leagues and he profiles as a run-producer in the middle of any big league lineup. He can drive the ball to all fields and it jumps off his bat, with the ability to leave the yard consistently. With excellent plate discipline, he’ll take more than his fair share of walks, though his strikeout rate did go up in 2012 with his explosion of power. Still, he has the chance to hit for average as well as keep the home run totals up. Since moving out from behind the plate, most have thought of Myers as a right fielder, and he certainly has the arm for it, but he’s also enjoyed playing center field and could play there if needed.
On Jake Odorizzi:
In his one full season with the Royals, the right-hander pitched well across two levels before receiving his first big league callup in September 2012. Then the Illinois high school product was shipped to the Rays in the James Shields deal, so he’ll now try to find a rotation spot in St. Petersburg. Most feel he’ll eventually do it, thanks to four pitches that all grade out as at least Major League average. While he doesn’t blow people away, his fastball can touch 94 mph. He throws both a curve and slider, with the former grading out a hair better than the latter. His changeup has the chance to be his fourth average offering and he generally commands all of them well. He may not front a rotation, but he could be a very reliable No. 3 type in the very near future.
As we come across more rankings and more information we will be sure to pass it along. Also you can look forward to our own prospect rankings that will come out before the season starts.