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KoK Prospect #17: Hilton Richardson

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To kick off my first ever Royals prospect list, I wanted a player who has a chance to be truly special but who is not among the top fifteen or so players in the organization.  For me, Hilton Richardson was the perfect candidate for the spot.  So much so that he is one of the two players who forced me to make my list a top-17 instead of a top-15.  With all that said, I present to you:  Hilton Richardson, #17 on the 2010 Kings of Kauffman Prospect List.

Who: Hilton Richardson
DOB: 1/10/1989  Kirkland, WA
Position: CF
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 200
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Acquired: 2007 Draft (7th round)

Rankings:
~ Baseball America #30
~ Royals Review #22
~ The Royal Tower #25

Stats:

PA HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2007 AZL Royals (Rk) 218 4 12 7 20 66 0.199 0.295 0.304
2008 Burlington (Rk) 229 1 10 7 17 61 0.229 0.293 0.327
AZL Royals (Rk) 20 1 0 1 1 4 0.474 0.500 0.684
2009 Idaho Falls (Rk) 190 1 20 1 19 44 0.313 0.392 0.428
Burlington (A) 28 0 2 0 1 10 0.154 0.185 0.231

Richardson was drafted by the Royals out of Lake Washington HS in Kirkland, WA.  He came to the organization loaded with potential and the ability to evolve into a true five-tool player.  He also came into professional baseball as a very raw, unrefined baseball player.  Hilton still has a long road ahead of him in terms of development but there are few, if any, position players in the organization that can match him in terms of potential and ceiling.

I clearly regard him more highly than most, but my evaluation doesn’t rest solely on what he could be, but also in the signs of what he is becoming.  In three consecutive seasons he has increased his BA, OBP, and SLG and in 2009 his BB to SO ratio took a major step forward before he struggled in his late season promotion to Low-A.  Despite hitting only 7 HR in his career thus far, he has increased his 2B from 2 to 8 to 14 and the power should come as he continues to develop.

Not only is he developing at the plate, he is developing on the basepaths as well.  After being caught stealing 15 times out of 37 attempts his first two seasons, he was caught just once in 23 attempts during the 2009 season.  Like the rest of his game, his defense is a work in progress and as he matures he may have to move to a corner spot.

Richardson should open the 2010 season with the Burlington Bees in Low-A.  The average age for position players in the Midwest League was 21.6, so Hilton will be right on track with the rest of his peers.  Of all the toolsy and fast OF prospects the Royals have drafted under Dayton Moore, Hilton Richardson is the one starting to show signs of turning his talent into production.  It is for this reason, in addition to his ceiling and true five-tool status, that causes me to rank him so highly.

(Wally Fish is the lead blogger for Kings of Kauffman and FanSided’s MLB Director.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Hilton Richardson Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals

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