2014 Kansas City Royals Top Prospects (1-10)

The Kansas City Royals are an organization that relies heavily on their homegrown talent. Most of the major league roster in 2014 will consist of players that were drafted and signed internationally by the Royals and came up through their farm system. Here is a look at how the farm system stacks up as we head into 2014:

1. Kyle Zimmer – RHP: Not worried about his arm. Four potential plus pitches and really stepped it up after a mechanical adjustment just prior to his promotion to AA Northwest Arkansas. Future number one starter who could see time in Kansas City sometime after the all-star break in 2014. ETA: 2014

2. Yordano Ventura – RHP: “Ace” Ventura is a credit to the Royals’ international scouting department. He was signed by the Royals in 2008 as a seventeen-year-old to a meager $28,000 signing bonus. At the time he only weighed 145 lbs but his fastball sat in the mid-80’s. Now his fastball consistently hits triple digits to go along with a hammer curveball and he has shown flashes of a solid change-up. The Pedro Martinez comparisons he receives are not too far-fetched. I believe he can stick in the rotation and could be a very good number two starter. ETA: 2014

3. Raul Adalberto Mondesi – SS: Jumped onto prospect radars after hitting .290/.346/.386 as a sixteen-year-old in the Pioneer League in 2012. The son of the outfielder of the same name, Mondesi slashed .261/.311/.361 as a seventeen-year-old in his first full season in the Sally League and scouts praise his tools across the board as well as his makeup. Great defender, strong arm, can run, puts the ball in play and scouts feel that he can develop average power as he fills out. Best scenario is an all-star type player at a premium position, though it will take a while. ETA: 2017

4. Miguel Almonte – RHP: Rookie ball sensation in 2012 followed up with a 3.10 ERA along with a 132/36 K/BB rate in Low-A Lexington and a trip to the Futures Game. Excellent command of fastball/change-up combo and could hop on the fast track given his advanced feel for pitching. Could be a mid-rotation starter. ETA: 2015

5. Jorge Bonifacio – OF: The man who made the Wil Myers trade a little bit easier to swallow (and the brother of Emilo, Royals utility man), the Royals feel the twenty-year-old Bonifacio could be a long-term fit in right field. He fits the profile; he hits for average (has hit at least .282 every year), has power potential and has a strong arm. This could be a big year for the younger Boni, who should play most of the season in the hitter friendly Texas League. ETA: 2015

6. Hunter Dozier – 3B: While many thought it was a reach, the eighth overall pick of the 2013 draft out of Stephen F. Austin solidified the selection with a strong performance in the Pioneer League, putting up a .303/.403/.509 line in 54 games. He has an advanced approach at the plate with excellent plate discipline (more walks than strikeouts) and the potential to hit for power. Could be a fast riser through the system. ETA: 2015

7. Sean Manaea – LHP: One of two wild cards near the top of the system. All depends on how he recovers from hip surgery. Should be ready to go for 2014 and should start the season in Low-A Lexington. If healthy, a potential front line southpaw with three plus pitches and the steal of the 2013 draft. ETA: 2016

8. Bubba Starling – OF: The other wild card in the system. Potential superstar if the hit tool comes to fruition. Has speed (22-25 in stolen bases), good defense (.988 fielding percentage) and will take a walk (53 walks that led to a .329 OBP despite a .241 AVG). He also hit 13 homers and 21 doubles, so the power is there as well. If he can make consistent contact and cut down his strikeouts then the patience will be worth it. This was only his first full season and he is extremely raw as a baseball player. High bust rate, but potential remains just as high as it was when he was drafted. ETA: 2016

9. Jason Adam – RHP: I like him more than most do. Former Blue Valley Northwest standout struggled to a 5.19 ERA in the Texas League, but advanced stats show that he pitched better (3.97 FIP) and pitched well in the Arizona Fall League. Doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but could still be a durable innings eater that could sit in the middle of a rotation. ETA: 2015

10. Elier Hernandez – OF: Posted a .301/.350/.439 line at age eighteen in his second year in the Pioneer League. Received a $3 million signing bonus out of the Dominican in 2011 as one of the top talents of that class, and scouts still feel that he can be a prototypical power hitting right fielder in the future. Should play 2014 in Low-A Lexington, and a big year would shoot him up prospect lists. ETA: 2017

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