On Friday, the Royals made the last decision of spring training, choosing George Kottaras as Salvador Perez‘s backup. After a busy offseason of pitching acquisitions, the Royals have set their opening day roster and settled all of the battles.
Along with that, they’ve set preliminary rosters for their four full-season affiliates.
|RHP||James Shields||Eric Hosmer||1B||Alex Gordon||LF|
|RHP||Ervin Santana||Chris Getz||2B||Lorenzo Cain||CF|
|RHP||Jeremy Guthrie||Alcides Escobar||SS||Jeff Francoeur||RF|
|RHP||Wade Davis||Mike Moustakas||3B||Jarrod Dyson||CF|
|RHP||Luis Mendoza||Elliot Johnson||UT|
|RHP||J.C. Gutierrez||Miguel Tejada||UT||Catchers|
|LHP||Bruce Chen||Billy Butler||DH||Salvador Perez|
|RHP||Luke Hochevar||George Kottaras|
This isn’t my ideal roster. Swap out Irving Falu for Miguel Tejada, Donnie Joseph or Louis Coleman for J.C. Gutierrez and Johnny Giavotella at second over Chris Getz* and given the players that were available for selection, that would work better in my mind.
*Of course Getz won the job. My approach is, as I’ve always stated, to go for the upside of Giavotella over the safe choice of Getz. Getz celebrated winning the job by going 6-for-6 in a spring training game, akin to spiking the ball and doing the worm in the endzone after a touchdown. So he showed me.
Omaha Storm Chasers – Triple A
|RHP||Michael Mariot||Anthony Seratelli||UT||Paulo Orlando||LF|
|RHP||Nate Adcock||Johnny Giavotella||2B||David Lough||CF|
|LHP||Will Smith||Christian Colon||SS||Willy Taveras||CF|
|LHP||Everett Teaford||Xavier Nady||1B||Luis Durango||LF|
|LHP||Donnie Joseph||Chad Tracy||1B|
|LHP||Ryan Verdugo||Brandon Wood||3B||Catchers|
|LHP||Chris Dwyer||Irving Falu||UT||Max Ramirez|
|LHP||Justin Marks||Adam Moore|
|RHP||Louis Coleman||Brett Hayes|
That’s a lot of left-handed pitching. There’s plenty of depth here in case the Royals suffer a rash of injuries. Smith would be the first starter up if necessary, and Coleman, Joseph and Bueno could be easy callups if J.C. Gutierrez falter
Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Double A
|RHP||Yordano Ventura||Rey Navarro||2B||Brett Eibner||CF|
|RHP||Jason Adam||Orlando Calixte||SS||Brian Fletcher||LF|
|LHP||Noel Arguelles||Whit Merrifield||2B||Yem Prades||CF|
|RHP||Yeliar Castro||Alex McClure||SS||Roman Hernandez||LF|
|RHP||Sam Runion||Matt Fields||1B|
|LHP||Jon Keck||Angel Franco||2B||Catchers|
|RHP||J.C. Sulbaran||Manuel Pina|
|RHP||Edwin Carl||Juan Graterol|
|RHP||Andy Ferguson||Mitch Canham|
Some of the speculation didn’t pan out for the Naturals. What could have been a dynamite rotation of John Lamb, Yordano Ventura, Jason Adam and Kyle Zimmer will instead be Ventura, Adam and others. Lamb will continue to get comfortable after Tommy John surgery recovery and Zimmer, while on a fast track, isn’t being pushed too far too fast yet. I’m interested to see if Brett Eibner (34% strikeout rate last year) can make enough contact to take advantage of a much better hitting environment.
Orlando Calixte is also intruiging.
Wilmington Blue Rocks – High A
|RHP||Kyle Zimmer||Cheslor Cuthbert||3B||Lane Adams||RF|
|LHP||John Lamb||Murray Watts||1B||Geulin Beltre||OF|
|LHP||Sam Selman||Justin Trapp||2B||Jorge Bonifacio||RF|
|RHP||Kyle Smith||Daniel Mateo||1B||Tim Ferguson||CF|
|RHP||Aaron Brooks||Jack Lopez||SS||Chris Elder||OF|
|LHP||Antonio Cruz||Kenny Diekroeger||2B|
|RHP||Angel Baez||Parker Morin|
|RHP||Malcom Culver||Kenny Swab|
There’s the good stuff. Zimmer and Lamb are the big names in the rotation, but Selman was great last year and skips Low A. Kyle Smith should be a very good High A #4 starter. Wilmington has interesting position players as well with Bonifacio and Cuthbert being the big names but Lopez was a big bonus draft signing, Mateo has had some success, and Watts has been a power/on base combo.
Lexington Legends – Low A
|RHP||Miguel Almonte||Adalberto Mondesi||SS||Bubba Starling||CF|
|RHP||Bryan Brickhouse||Humberto Arteaga||SS||Fred Ford||RF|
|RHP||Christian Binford||Michael Antonio||3B||Ethan Chapman||CF|
|LHP||Scott Alexander||Mark Threlkeld||1B||Terrance Gore||LF|
|RHP||Cory Hall||Nicholas Cuckovich||3B|
|RHP||Daniel Hernandez||Adrian Morales||3B|
|RHP||Alec Mills||Yowill Espinal||3B||Catchers|
|RHP||Aroni Nina||Cameron Gallagher|
|RHP||Mark Peterson||Alexander Marquez|
|LHP||Colin Rodgers||Jin-Ho Shin|
The Royals newest affiliate gets the privilege of seeing three of their top ten prospects in Starling, Almonte and Mondesi. The outfield in particular is full of names. Ford had the second most homers in Burlington last year, Chapman has promise, and Gore is the fastest guy in the organization. Arteaga is no slouch either and Gallagher is their top catching prospect. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus dubbed Lexington as his “must-see” affiliate in the Royals organization and pegged Almonte and Mondesi as breakout candidates.
The rosters were originally listed on milb.com’s official page for each affiliate. In entering them into tables, I’ve taken the occasion to reorder them from how they’re listed on each individual team page in some cases to place the more interesting players higher in the order. There was no rhyme or reason to it, other than I wanted Zimmer, Adam, etc listed towards the top.