Royals Prospects Learn Short Season Assignments


While Kane County, Wilmington, Northwest Arkansas and Omaha have been playing since April, many other Royals minor leaguers have yet to play a game this year. Short season rookie leagues start play next week, and the Royals have started to dole out assignments.

Some key names:

2011 first round pick Bubba Starling will be in Burlington, North Carolina to start his professional career. He’s been in Arizona working with the Royals as he refines his skills. Starling has a ton of upside, but he’s raw. Bryce Harper is younger and already excelling in the big leagues, but Starling had his attention diverted between football, basketball and baseball. He’s the best athlete in the entire Royals organization, but there’s some risk that baseball acumen never matches his tools. If it does, though, his potential is limitless.

This year’s first round pick, Kyle Zimmer, will stay in Arizona to start out as he nurses hamstring and groin injuries from the end of his college season. Once he’s recovered there, he’ll likely end up in Idaho Falls but could end up in Kane County. He might be able to get five or six starts in this year.

Two key international signees will start in Idaho Falls, as outfielder Elier Hernandez and shortstop Adalberto Mondesi (the Torpedo Boat). Both were among the top Dominican players available last July. They have a ways to go, as Hernandez, the elder, doesn’t even turn 17 until November.

2011 draft picks Bryan Brickhouse, Kyle Smith (both pitchers) and shortstop Jack Lopez are in Idaho as well, and while there hasn’t been an official announcement that I’ve seen that he’s signed, 2012 second round pick left-handed pitcher Sam Selman out of Vanderbilt is listed on the Chukars roster.

Last year’s second rounder, catcher Cameron Gallagher, will join Bubba Starling in Burlington. They’ll be joined by other names like pitcher Jake Junis, shortstop Humberto Arteaga and 2012 draftees Colin Rodgers (a left-handed pitcher from the third round) and outfielder Fred Ford (seventh round). The ninth round pick, Daniel Stumpf (another lefty) will be in Burlington as well. Their fourth round pick, Ken Diekroeger, signed earlier today and could possibly go to Idaho Falls.

Other notables:

The Royals have nine of their top ten picks from 2012 signed. The official announcement is still pending on Selman but it’s safe to assume he’s in the fold. Catcher Chad Johnson is still listed as being in Arizona, and pitcher Zach Lovvorn and outfielder Alexis Rivera are there too. Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado signed but, seeing as how he’s the youngest player selected in the draft, he’ll probably be in Arizona receiving further instruction.

The full roster assignments as of Thursday are linked below:

For those near Pulaski, Virginia or traveling that way, Bubba Starling should be in the lineup on June 19th for the Burlington Royals first game at 7:05 p.m. EST on the road against the Pulaski Mariners. He’ll debut in Burlington against Elizabethton on the 22nd.