The Kansas City Royals are the most dangerous when they have a good farm system and fortunately, they have one of the best in Major League Baseball.
Small-market baseball teams live and breathe with their farm system. If the guys on the farm aren’t very good, the team is going to reflect that. The Kansas City Royals fit into this mold and we saw that proven in the worst way in 2018 and 2019 when the Royals lost 100 games both seasons and weren’t in contention past June.
That was to be expected after having to trade away key members of the farm system while contending and the Royals definitely paid the price for it. Still, a World Series title was worth it, and the good news is that the Royals are back in the top 10 farm systems once again. They placed No. 10 on MLB.com’s list of best prospects.
Per Anne Rogers of MLB.com,
"Kansas City seems to be on the verge of contending in the next few years, and it has added a wealth of experience to the 2021 roster to help push the club back into the postseason. But to get to where they want to be, the Royals will have to rely on their young talent, just like they did in their 2014-15 run to the World Series."
The Kansas City Royals have a bright future and their farm system is to thank for that.
Here are the Royals’ top 10 prospects:
- Bobby Witt Jr. (SS)
- Daniel Lynch (LHP)
- Asa Lacy (LHP)
- Jackson Kowar (RHP)
- Kyle Isbel (OF)
- Erick Pena (OF)
- Nick Loftin (SS)
- Jonathan Bowlan (RHP)
- Nick Pratto (1B)
- Austin Cox (LHP)
Anyone surprised to see Bobby Witt Jr. at No. 1 hasn’t been paying attention to this team at all. Despite having an ETA (estimated time of arrival to the big leagues) of 2022, there’s been a lot of chatter recently about how the former No. 2 overall pick could find himself in the big leagues this year. He’s been really good in spring training and it’s hard to deny that the Royals would be a better team in 2021 with him on the roster.
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Lynch, Lacy, and Kowar could all find themselves in the Royals’ starting rotation in the coming years, but that could be tricky considering how the rotation is starting to shake up. Brad Keller, Brady Singer, and Kris Bubic are three young names already in the starting rotation, so there will definitely be some fun competition when it comes to fighting for spots in the foreseeable future.
Isbel and Pena are two outfield prospects who can hopefully step in and provide some stability for this team. Isbel’s ETA is this year and had Jarrod Dyson not been signed by the team a few weeks ago, Isbel could have had a shot at making the Opening Day roster. Now he’s probably going to be a September call-up. Pena, on the other hand, is only 18 years old and probably isn’t going to make the bigs for a few more years.
Loftin could be the Royals’ next Whit Merrifield though he currently is listed as a shortstop. Loftin is versatile, having played shortstop, second base, third base, left field, right field, and even pitching during his time at Baylor. He’s an exciting prospect for sure.
The final names in the top 10 are Bowlan, Pratto, and Cox, all of whom should be making their way to Kansas City in the next year or two. Bowlan was the fifth collegiate pitcher taken in the 2018 MLB Draft behind Singer, Kowar, Lynch, and Bubic, and he’s going to be a nasty reliever in the majors.
The Royals can afford to be more patient with Pratto now after having signed Carlos Santana to a two-year deal. Pratto had struggled early on in the minors, but he’s been hitting well in spring training (.438 with three home runs in 16 at-bats). Hopefully, he can be the next Eric Hosmer when his call-up does take place.
Cox was a fifth-round pick in 2018, but he’s throwing like a first-round pick. He dazzled in 130.2 innings of work between two minor league squads in 2019, finishing that year with a 2.76 ERA. The lefty out of Mercer could be a real force on the mound and that could come as early as this year.
This is an exciting time for Kansas City Royals fans. After four straight years of losing records, this team is ready to round the corner and be relevant again. This season should be a good indicator if they’re on the right track or not, but things seem to be trending in the right direction.