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Kansas City Royals: Farm System No Longer Dominant

The Kansas City Royals at spring training - Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Royals at spring training - Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Kansas City Royals built their current championship caliber team by waiting for the guys in the minor leagues to reach MLB-ready status. Their current farm system, however, is one of the worst in all of Major League Baseball.

The KC Royals reached the World Series in 2014 and won it in 2015, all with the help of the players they drafted and developed from 2004-2010. Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer were the big names to come out of the first round during that time, and all of those guys helped build this team into what they are today.

The downside to becoming a winner though is that the Royals had to trade their top prospects for the likes of Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist.

In those two trades alone, the Royals sent five pitchers (four left-handed) to the Reds and Athletics for their ready-to-contribute major league players. The biggest names that were traded were Brandon Finnegan and Sean Manaea, both of whom were ready to pitch at the next level.

Heading into 2017, Bleacher Report ranked the Royals minor league system as the third worst in MLB. The only names to currently be apart of the Royals major league roster are Raul Mondesi Jr. and Matt Strahm.

Mondesi was called up halfway through the 2016 season and was the starting second baseman throughout the last few months of the year. Strahm, meanwhile, wowed the fans last year in his limited appearances out of the bullpen.

Strahm could compete for a rotation spot, depending on how Nate Karns does in spring training. Injuries could also eventually push Strahm into the rotation.

Some other talented names to watch out for are Hunter Dozier, Eric Skoglund, Josh Staumont, and Kyle Zimmer. Three of those four are pitchers who could really help out this rotation down the stretch.

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Skogland is ranked as the fourth best prospect for the Royals with Zimmer being ranked at seven. Zimmer was the team’s first-round pick in 2011, but injuries have derailed his career to this point. Hopefully 2017 will finally be the year in which he can prove his worth. It’s been long overdue.

Staumont isn’t ranked on Bleacher Report’s list, but there have been rumblings about the former second-round pick potentially helping out in either the rotation or bullpen in 2017. Kyle Brasseur of ESPN wrote,

"How he fares in spring training could help dictate his role, as his stuff is better suited for relief but the team feels strongly that he can stick in the rotation, assistant GM J.J. Picollo tells Dodd."

While it’d be great to see the Royals finally develop a pitching prospect, the team really will need to bolster their farm system at some point. Perhaps this season if the Royals are tanking at the trade deadline, they’ll end up getting a hefty sum of prospects in exchange for guys like Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas.

Next: Projecting 2017 Royals Starting Lineup

The reason the Royals minor league system was so good for so long was because of high how they’d be drafting every year and because of the prospects they’d land from teams wanting a guy who could help them contend.

Hopefully if Kansas City isn’t a contender at the deadline, they’ll be able to hit the jackpot when sending off their guys to other teams. We’ve seen just how much opposing teams are willing to part with when it comes to getting a guy who could help them win it all.