Now that the All-Star break has come and gone, ESPN Insider Keith Law has updated his list of the top 50 MLB prospects and the rankings include three members of the Royals.
Pitcher Jake Odorizzi moved all the way up to No. 36 overall after beginning the year as Law’s No. 71 ranked prospect. Odorizzi has split time between AA NW Arkansas and AAA Omaha this season, and he has had plenty of success in both places. The 22-year-old may be nearing a big league promotion if he can continue the success in Omaha that he had in the first half of the season. Law has this to say of the Royals young right-hander,
"He’ll show four pitches and has above-average velocity on the fastball, but there is no knockout pitch to make him a top 15-20 overall prospect. I do love the athleticism and the ease with which he repeats his delivery.”"
Odorizzi is the top pitching prospect in the Royals organization, but the team also has two very good hitting prospects in its system at the moment with Outfielders Bubba Starling and Wil Myers.
Starling is the 13th ranked player overall (improving on his No. 15 preseason ranking) and Myers is the fourth best prospect in baseball according to Law. Myers is the top rated outfielder and Starling the fourth-best outfielder; combined with Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, the Royals outfield should be very good for years to come.
Starling has played in just 10 minor league games (at the rookie ball level), but he has already shown a glimpse of the kind of production that Royals fans should expect in the future, hitting .289 with five extra-base hits and 10 RBI’s. The 19-year-old has also walked eight times, helping him to a very impressive on-base percentage of .449. Law says that Starling is,
"Off to a nice start in 10 games in short-season ball, although his ranking is more about his tools than his small-sample performance. He turns 20 in August, so he is not young for that level, and it would be great to see him get a few weeks in the full-season Midwest League before the year is out.”"
As for the Royals top prospect and one of the best in all of professional baseball, Myers has been tearing up minor league pitching all year, including in Omaha where he has hit 14 home runs in 48 game while batting .315. Law says about Myers,
"He hits, hits for power, gets on base and probably ends up in right field but wouldn’t kill the team in center.”"
There is no question that the Royals have some very impressive youngsters making their way through the minor league ranks and while the major league club continues to struggle, it is only a matter of time before the Royals start experiencing success on a more regular basis.