Baseball America released their annual “Best Tools” list where they break down who has some of the best skills in baseball at all levels. The Royals managed to place five different players in six separate categories. The list divides each level by league so the Royals are being compared to other teams in the American League while their minor leaguers are being compared to other players in the leagues KC’s minor league teams are in.
Here is where the Royals stack up in the American League:
Best Fastball: 3. Kelvin Herrera
Best Changeup: 1. James Shields
Best Pickoff Move: 2. James Shields
Best Reliever: 3. Greg Holland
Best Defensive Catcher: 1. Salvador Perez
Best Defensive First Baseman: 1. Eric Hosmer
American League Central players to appear on the list are Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Jamey Carroll (Hit-and-Run Artist), Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Gordon Beckham, Asdrubal Cabrera, Austin Jackson, and Jim Leyland. To break that down by team: Royals, 5; Tigers, 4 (plus a manager); Twins, 2; White Sox, 2; Indians, 1.
Kansas City doesn’t necessarily have the star power of Cabrera or Mauer, but the depth of talent is an interesting thing to note. And when you put it in perspective that the Royals are also up against the other 10 American League teams, the six appearances on the list becomes more impressive.
One could also make a few arguments for other Royals to be on this list. Lorenzo Cain is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and should have been on the list over Adam Jones. And the fastest base-runner threesome did not include Jarrod Dyson.
Kyle Zimmer also got some love on the on the High-A tools list. Because most of his innings are in Wilmington, Zimmer was classified as an A-ball prospect. At that level, Zimmer was considered to be the best pitching prospect, have the best fastball, and have the best breaking ball of any of the players in the Carolina League. Zimmer is currently with the Royals AA club, Northwest Arkansas.
Orlando Calixte was named the best defensive shortstop in the Texas League.
What do you think of Baseball America’s decisions? Too many Royals? Not enough Royals? How did Ned Yost not make the best manager list? Let us know.