Spring training can’t get here quickly enough, but in the meantime, there’s a flurry of prospect information and rankings coming out. On Monday, I discussed the three Royals who landed on FanSided’s Top 100 Prospects list as compiled by Seedlings to Stars. On Tuesday night, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo unveiled the site’s top 100.
No surprises as the same trio of Royals made the list – Yordano Ventura came in just outside the top 50 prospects (who were announced on the MLB Network) at #59, Kyle Zimmer was ranked #34 and Bubba Starling was ranked #26. I covered my thoughts and perceptions of these three on Monday, so let’s solicit some other opinions of the three prospects.
On Yordano Ventura
JJ Cooper of Baseball America on 12/2/12 episode of the Kansas City Baseball Vault: “It’s fair to say that he’s going to get plenty of chances to be a starter because the reality is they need him as a starter more than they need him as a reliever. So he’s another guy by the end of the year or especially by 2014 I’d expect to see in Kansas City.”
Cooper also compared Ventura to Kelvin Herrera. Both have similar big fastballs and while Herrera may have slightly better secondary stuff, Ventura has a better record of staying healthy.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus on 12/7/12 episode of the Kansas City Baseball Vault: “Kansas City certainly feels like he’s a starter. That’s a promising thing. They know the value he has as a reliever. They know that they could put him in relief and he can just throw gas. That’s what he was known as before this year. I saw him in spring training and thought ‘Oh, here’s Ventura, here comes 100 and nothing else’ and then he’s throwing a hammer and a good change up and I’m like ‘Well this is different. This changes things. This kid’s about to blow up.'”
“There’s something about this kid, but I can’t put my finger on it. You don’t see it all the time. You’ll get a dominant reliever as a floor, but if he can start, he’s a lot bigger value.”
On Kyle Zimmer
Cooper said he expected to see Zimmer in Kansas City by September of 2013, but also noted that there are a lot of pitchers to mix in before that happens. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino‘s returns will also complicate that ascent, in Cooper’s opinion.
Parks: “This is a guy, he’s probably going to move fast because he’s got a really advanced, hyper-intense arsenal, but he’s not going to be on the top of a rotation any time soon. It may be 2016 that he taps into his potential.”
JJ Picollo, Royals assistant GM, echoed the belief that Zimmer could be a fast riser in the Royals system in 2013.
On Bubba Starling
Cooper: In response to if Starling will hit enough to realize his potential, Cooper answered “We don’t know yet … If the hit tool comes along then, absolutely. If it doesn’t, then that’s going to limit him dramatically as far as his ceiling.”
Parks: On Starling in relation to other phenoms like Bryce Harper or Mike Trout who have debuted at a young age: “He’s not ready for that level of acceleration yet. He’s a tremendous athlete [but] he’s not a baseball player yet. He could be a four year guy in the minors.”
Picollo was impressed with Starling’s defensive instincts in center field in his first professional season.