There are a number of sources that release a Top-100 prospect list every offseason, but none of them is as anticipated or as respected as the one spawned by the great minds over at Baseball America. That’s why, ladies and gentlemen, Tuesday was such a wonderfully glorious day as BA unveiled their 2013 Top-100 with Rangers SS Jurickson Profar sitting atop their list.
Those of you who know of my writing travels, know that I am a huge prospect junkie and follower of the minor leagues. You also know that I spent 18 months – prior to joining KC Kingdom in November – on our network’s minor league website Seedlings to Stars. In the end I will spend far too much time perusing BA’s top 100 and analyzing their decisions, but in this neck of the woods we care primarily about the Kansas City Royals.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, as our local team is concerned, there weren’t any big surprises. The Royals landed three players on the list and they are the same three players that you will find on nearly all the Top-100 lists that have been published in the last few months. I’m of course referring to Kyle Zimmer (#24), Bubba Starling (#35) and Yordano Ventura (#85). In fact, BA’s list features Kansas City’s trio ranked in the same order you will typically find, though I personally would slot Bubba ahead of Kyle.
Knowing which Royals made the list and where they ranked however is not enough. As fans we have to also keep tabs on how the other teams in the AL Central stack up on these lists. Just as Zimmer, Starling and Ventura will play a big part in Kansas City’s future – regardless of whether they blossom or bust – so too will the top prospects in Minnesota, Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit shape the fortunes of those organizations in the coming years.
Stacking the Royals Top-100 representatives up against their division rivals is a bit of a good news, bad news exercise. The good news is that they have more players on the list than the White Sox (1) and Indians (2) and as many as Detroit (3). The bad news is that everyone falls well short of the Minnesota Twins who placed six players in Baseball America’s Top-100 and two players in the Top-10. Those two also happen to be the top two prospects in the division.
The Twins, in fact, have as many top-100 prospects on this year’s list as any other organization in baseball. They were matched only by the Cardinals and Marlins who also had six players named. On the other end of the spectrum, the Chicago White Sox continue to be poorly represented in the prospect world. They are tied for last with the Angels, Athletics, Brewers and Giants with just a single Top-100 prospect.
Kansas City’s Adalberto Mondesi and Cleveland’s Dorssys Paulino were tabbed by J.J. Cooper as two of the five players that just missed making the Top-100 primarily due to their limited action in full season baseball. Cooper tabbed another Royals prospect, RHP Miguel Almonte, as his player to watch that could crack their 2014 Top-100. In that same discussion, John Manuel tabbed 2B/OF Eddie Rosario and RHP J.O. Berrios, both from the Twins system, as players to watch for on the 2014 list.
Below you will find all of the AL Central prospects that made this Top-100 listed by their team, and since Baseball America was kind enough to include each player’s scouting grades in the various tools (on the 20-80 scale), I have included those. Of course BA didn’t stop there as they went on to list the top players in each of the tools they provided grades for, so I’ve noted those as well.
- #24 Kyle Zimmer (Fastball: 70 / Curve: 65 / Changeup: 55 / Control: 65 / Command: 55) – Control: t-1st
- #35 Bubba Starling (Bat: 50 / Power: 70 / Speed: 70 / Defense: 60 / Arm: 60) – Power: t-2nd / Speed: t-5th
- #85 Yordano Ventura (Fastball: 75 / Curve: 60 / Changeup: 55 / Control: 55 / Command: 50) – Fastball: t-3rd
- #55 OF Courtney Hawkins (Bat: 55 / Power: 65 / Speed: 50 / Defense: 55 / Arm: 60)
- #14 RHP Trevor Bauer (Fastball: 70 / Curveball: 70 / Changeup: 55 / Control: 55 / Command: 50)
- #28 SS Francisco Lindor (Bat: 60 / Power: 40 / Speed: 55 / Defense: 70 / Arm: 60) – Defense: t-4th
- #21 3B Nick Castellanos (Bat: 70 / Power: 55 / Speed: 40 / Defense: 50 / Arm: 55) – Bat: t-2nd
- #74 OF Avisail Garcia (Bat: 50 / Power: 55 / Speed: 50 / Defense: 55 / Arm: 60)
- #95 RHP Bruce Rondon (Fastball: 80 / Slider: 55 / Changeup: 45 / Control: 50 / Command: 45) – Fastball: t-1st
- #9 3B Miguel Sano (Bat: 55 / Power: 80 / Speed: 40 / Defense: 40 / Arm: 75) – Power: 1st / Arm: 1st
- #10 OF Byron Buxton (Bat: 60 / Power: 60 / Speed: 80 / Defense: 60 / Arm: 70) – Speed: t-1st / Arm: t-2nd
- #41 OF Oswaldo Arcia (Bat: 65 / Power: 60 / Speed: 40 / Defense: 50 / Arm: 60)
- #59 RHP Alex Meyer (Fastball: 75 / Curve: 65 / Changeup: 55 / Control: 55 / Command: 50) – Fastball: t-3rd
- #68 RHP Kyle Gibson (Fastball: 55 / Slider: 60 / Changeup: 60 / Control: 60 / Command: 55)
- #72 OF Aaron Hicks (Bat: 55 / Power: 55 / Speed: 55 / Defense: 65 / Arm: 70) – Arm: t-2nd
Finally, because we can never forget them …