Raul Adalberto Mondesi hits in Lexington. (Photo: Heather Wright)
It’s been a pretty good year for the Royals farm system. Omaha will play for a chance at another PCL title on Friday, Northwest Arkansas nearly made the Texas League playoffs, and Idaho Falls will be in the Pioneer League Championship starting on Saturday.
On Thursday, the Royals recognized players at each level, selecting a hitter and pitcher of the year at each level.
There are some names you’ll recognize and some you may not have heard. Those selections are:
- Omaha: INF Christian Colon and LHP Chris Dwyer
- Northwest Arkansas: 1B Matt Fields and RHP Aaron Brooks
- Wilmington: OF Lane Adams and LHP Sam Selman
- Lexington: SS Raul Mondesi and RHP Christian Binford
- Idaho Falls: SS/3B Hunter Dozier and LHP Patrick Conroy
- Burlington: 3B Mauricio Ramos and RHP Luis Santos
- Surprise Royals: 1B Samir Duenez and RHP Pedro Fernandez
- Dominican Rookie League: INF Angelo Castellano and RHP Yunior Marte
Colon had an injury cut his 2012 short and had one of the best bats on the team late in the year. He’s still somewhere in the mix for the Royals second base job, and he’ll be fighting for that job in spring training. Dwyer hasn’t been great outside of Wilmington, but he cut his H/9 from 13.1 last year to 7.9 this year – but still walks too many batters.
Fields is a great story of perseverance. After starting last year in the Independent League, he’s went from there to Wilmington and in 2013 set a home run record for NWA. Brooks showed solid control and walked just 11 batters out of the 427 he faced.
Lane Adams is playing with Omaha right now, so jumping up from Wilmington to Triple A is a good sign for his career. Adams will play in the Arizona Fall League next month. Selman draws mixed reviews but he’s getting results so far. He’s a strikeout lefty, but he walked over 15% of the batters he faced this season. He might start to see some problems once he advances past Wilmington.
Mondesi is the Royals top hitting prospect right now and probably the top prospect overall, so his selection as Lexington’s hitter of the year is no surprise. He’s only 18 years old and held his own in the Low A South Atlantic League, hitting .261/.311/.361 in full season ball. Binford gets overlooked often in the Royals system. Much of the attention is still on John Lamb, Dwyer, and Kyle Zimmer.
Binford struck out 130 batters in 135 innings this year, but walked only 25. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 in high school and his innings have been limited since, but he’s playing full season baseball and excelling.
Dozier is a beast – you can see Marcus Meade’s writeup on him from last week. Conroy was a 32nd rounder last season, but struck out batters more frequently this year in more innings. He did add walks as well, however.
Ramos hit .322 for Burlington and finished the year in Idaho Falls. Santos has yet to give up a homer in 145.1 professional innings. Duenez was a 2012 signee out of Venezuela with raw power. He’ll turn 18 next June. His defense may hold him back – he was signed as a third baseman but has moved over to first base and the outfield (where scouts suggest his arm is good enough).
Fernandez has a four-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio as a pro and has just a 1.041 WHIP in 98 innings. Castellano will turn 19 in January and has walked more than he’s struck out since signing. Marte had a 1.71 ERA in 47.1 innings as an 18-year-old.