~ Baseball America: #15
~ Royals Prospects: #16
~ Royals Review #11
~ Kevin Goldstein: #12
~ John Sickels: #19 C+
Cheslor Cuthbert is a tough prospect to evaluate. It’s the curse of youth, I suppose, as he signed with the Royals at the age of 16 for $1.35 million. Scouts and the Royals love his bat.
His numbers don’t match the reports – yet. The thing to remember with Cuthbert is he’s so young that he’s just now facing consistent professional competition. There’s going to be an adjustment period for a player in that situation no matter their age. When you consider that Cuthbert was also changing countries, there’s another hurdle to jump over.
On the face of it, he struck out a lot (25%) and didn’t walk much (6.4%). Despite that he put up a modest, but not devastating .736 OPS. Baseball America reports that he has a good approach at the plate and can hit to all fields and has strong tools across the board (except for speed, which is below average).
His bat speed gives him potential for some serious power in a few years. He’s already put 140 plate appearances under his belt at an age when most kids are still taking the ACT in the States. That kind of makeup suggests that he’s a special talent who won’t be overwhelmed by the environment of professional baseball. Cuthbert grew up in the Corn Islands just east of Nicaragua – English is used regularly in that area, so that helps his adjustment as well.
The Royals clearly feel comfortable that his skills will produce. The signing bonus was a record for a Nicaraguan player and last July was promoted to the Pioneer League after just 76 plate appearances with the Arizona Rookie League Royals. In his first at bat for the Idaho Falls Chukars after the promotion, he hit a homer.
Cuthbert figures to start the year in rookie ball again, probably in Idaho Falls again, but could see plenty of time for Burlington. He’s a long-term prospect, but as he adds muscle and conditioning, he could make a quick rise through the system. Baseball America’s already named him the #7 prospect in last year’s Arizona Rookie League and more accolades could be on the horizon for the youngest player in our prospect rankings.
Keep track of the full list of prospects in the Kings of Kauffman Countdown on our Prospect Rankings page under the Organization tab or by clicking here. Stay current on all the Kings of Kauffman content and news by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or by way of our RSS feed.