2014 Kansas City Royals Top Prospects (11-20)

Previously, I discussed the top ten prospects in the Royals system. After some further research and evaluations, I have decided to extend the list to twenty players. So without further ado…

11. Sam Selman – LHP: Left-hander out of Vanderbilt was Wilmington’s pitcher of the year in 2013 after going 11-9 with a 3.38 ERA, while holding opponents to a sparkling .197 average. He struck out 128 batters in 125.1 innings, but also walked 85 for a whopping 6.1 BB/9. Command needs to improve if he is to remain a starter and he will be tested in the Texas League in 2014. ETA: 2015

12. Orlando Calixte – SS: After slashing .281/.326/.426 in 63 games in High-A Wilmington in the second half of 2012, Calixte seemed primed to breakout in 2013, but hit just .250/.312/.368 in AA Northwest Arkansas. Scouts like his glove and he has some power, but he will need to improve his plate discipline if he is going to take the next step in his age twenty-two season. ETA: 2015

13. Cheslor Cuthbert – 3B: Third basemen from Nicaragua put up solid numbers in High-A (.280/.354/.418) but slumped after being promoted to AA (.215/.279/.359). Overall slash line for the season was .247/.316/.387. Entering his age twenty-one season, 2014 will be a big year for Cuthbert, with a return to the hitter friendly Texas League his likely destination. ETA: 2015

14. Zane Evans – C: Fourth rounder in 2013 out of Georgia Tech excelled in the Pioneer League, posting a .354/.394/.537 line while showing a plus arm behind the plate. Defense is raw after being a two-way player in college as he also served as the Yellow Jackets’ closer, but he has the skill set to eventually be an offensive minded catcher at the big league level. ETA: 2017

15. Christian Binford – RHP: Has posted a 2.52 ERA in 31 career starts between Burlington and Lexington between two seasons after being drafted in the 30th round out of the Pennsylvania high school ranks in 2011. Doesn’t wow with his stuff but he knows how to pitch and he knows how to get guys out (career 1.5 BB/9 rate). Had Tommy John surgery in 2009 but that seems to be well behind him. He should pitch in 2014 in High-A Wilmington and another solid season should see him rise in next year’s list. ETA: 2016

16. Lane Adams – OF: Former standout high school basketball player is starting to translate his athletic ability onto the diamond. Slashed .276/.362/.424 in 76 games in Wilmington before being promoted to AA Northwest Arkansas. He finished the year with a .265/.353/.415 line with twelve homeruns and 38 stolen bases. He has shown flashes of all five tools and has great range in the outfield and the ability to play all three outfield positions. He’s a similar player to David Lough and Adams’ presence and proximity to the majors could have made dealing him to Baltimore a little easier. Could be a nice fourth outfielder and should be ready soon but he will probably spend most of 2014 in AAA Omaha. ETA: 2014

17. Christian Colon – 2B: Former first rounder out of Cal State Fullerton has developed slower than many anticipated, but Colon is knocking on the big league door. Drafted as a shortstop, Colon made the slide over to second, where his tools will play up defensively. He is a player that plays above his tools and is a natural leader on the field. Even if he won’t be a regular, he can still be a valuable asset as a utility man as soon as 2014. ETA: 2014

18. Alexis Rivera – OF: 10th round pick in 2012 showed real promise with a .341/.413/.477 line in 48 rookie ball games after being drafted and emerged as a sleeper candidate in 2013, but hit just .269/.349/.363 in the Pioneer League. Still only nineteen and has an advanced approach at the plate. Remains a breakout candidate in 2014. ETA: 2017

19. Samir Duenez – 1B: Seventeen-year-old Venezuelan posted a .294/.337/.380 line in rookie ball. Scouts like his power potential and approach at the plate. He may be a project and will likely play in rookie ball again in 2014, but the talent is there for him to become an impact hitter. ETA: 2018

20. Bryan Brickhouse – RHP: Coming from the baseball powerhouse Woodlands high school in Texas that also produced Jameson Taillon, Brickhouse was putting together a solid year (2.25 ERA in 60 innings) in Lexington before undergoing Tommy John in June. Has a power sinker that generates a ton of ground balls (2.32 GO/AO). Once he comes back from Tommy John, Brickhouse should get back onto the path of becoming a workhorse that could pitch in the middle of a rotation. ETA: 2017

Honorable Mention: Marten Gasparini – SS: I had to include Gasparini, whom the Royals signed for $1.3 million this past July. The sixteen-year-old Italian shortstop has been considered to be the best player to ever come out of Europe, as explained by this piece by Baseball America’s Ben Badler. The switch-hitting Gasparini is known for his defense and his plus speed, and he projects to be at least an average hitter from both sides of the plate down the line. He probably won’t see time in the states for a year or two, but he has a chance to become an excellent all-around shortstop down the line. ETA: 2020

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