Baseball America has been rolling out their team-by-team prospect rankings throughout the offseason and it’s the Royals turn today.
No surprise – Wil Myers comes in as the top prospect after a season where he won Minor League Player of the Year from the publication, along with a few dozen other awards. Last season, Myers was the Royals #3 prospect.
Next on BA’s list is 2012 first rounder and fifth overall pick Kyle Zimmer, who had a good first taste of professional baseball. He’s got the combination of upside and lowered risk that befits a prospect of this ranking and depending on how he develops this year, he could end up in the majors in 2014, and who knows, maybe even sooner.
The rest of the rankings (and last year’s standing):
3. Outfielder Bubba Starling (2nd)
5. Right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi (4th)
7. Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi (unranked)
8. Left-handed pitcher Sam Selman (unranked – second round pick in 2012)
Missing from the list are Mike Montgomery (1st in last year’s rankings), John Lamb (6th), Cheslor Cuthbert (5th), and Chris Dwyer (9th). Montgomery, as we all know, had his struggles in 2012 and has a cloud of questions around his remaining likelihood to reach the potential that made him one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.
Lamb has been recovering from Tommy John surgery but should be fine once the season starts. He’s slated to start the year in Northwest Arkansas and is likely to land in Omaha by the end of the year as long as he doesn’t have any complications. So far there hasn’t been any mention of problems resulting from the surgery and its rehabilitation.
Dwyer’s had problems with his command since hitting Double A, and despite flashes of success, he just hasn’t turned it on. His struggles and his advancing age (he’ll turn 25 this spring) push him down the list.
Cuthbert’s a unique situation. He’s only recently turned 20 years old and playing in High A. He’s likely to start there again in 2013 after struggles adjusting to the advanced league. Most scouts think his bat will continue to develop, though there have been questions about durability and endurance, as he slowed down in the second half of 2011 and he didn’t draw rave reviews for effort last year.
If I had to pick one surprise on this year’s BA rankings, I’d offer up Sam Selman’s ranking. He had a strong season with Idaho Falls, so the results are there, and as a second round pick with polish coming out of Vanderbilt, it’s a justified ranking, but I would have hoped to see him face a higher league for a couple of starts to see how he performed. That’s really being picky though, as he should definitely be considered among the Royals top pitching prospects.
The full list of 30 prospects will be out in Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook which comes out every February. In the meantime, our own Jen Nevius has been recapping last year’s full rankings and discussing how each players’ 2012 season impacts their standing in the present.