After years of having virtually nothing in the farm system, Dayton Moore rebuilt the Royals minor league program into one of the best in baseball. Royals minor leaguers could be found amongst the top prospects in the game, and the farm system had become one of the best in baseball. While not all of those players panned out, several players, such as Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez, appear to be key components for the Royals to build around.
Now, the Royals once again are considered to have one of the better farm systems in the game. Baseball Prospectus put out their Top 101 Prospects list, and seven different Royals players were listed. Only the Chicago Cubs had as many players on the list. The Royals also do not have to worry about quantity over quality with these players either, as they had three of their prospects ranked in the top 35 overall. For a visual breakdown of every prospect’s tool grades, check out the table here.
Here are the players that made the Top 101 Prospects list, complete with ranking: Yordano Ventura (12), Adalberto Mondesi (29), Kyle Zimmer (34), Miguel Almonte (46), Sean Manaea (78), Hunter Dozier (96) and Jorge Bonifacio (99).
There are a few things that stood out in the rankings. First, while most projections appear to expect that Kyle Zimmer will eventually develop into a staff ace, he is ranked behind Yordano Ventura at this point. Perhaps that is due to Ventura being expected to be a part of the Royals rotation at some point this season; several of the top prospects, such as Xander Bogaerts and Oscar Taveras, are expected to make a major impact upon their major league clubs this season.
Ventura’s ranking was also notable as he soared up the list compared to last season. A year after finding himself ranked as the 62nd base prospect, Ventura is now 12th. His dominant 2013 season, where he produced a 3.14 ERA, 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings and a strikeout to walk rate of just under 3.00 can certainly cause a pitcher’s stock to improve. Having a solid debut at the major league level and featuring a fastball that routinely reached 100 MPH can also grab attention.
The Royals also had two players listed in Hunter Dozier and Sean Manaea that were draft picks last season. Their inclusion on the list, despite barely playing last season, speaks volumes to their anticipated futures and their potential upside. In fact, considering that Manaea did not even play at all for the Royals last season, his being ranked that high shows how highly they regard the Royals draft last year.
Baseball Prospectus certainly appears to be a fan of the work Dayton Moore has done over the past few seasons. As bright as the present may be for the Royals, the future may be even better.