Aside from the chimera of 2003, the last two decades have been difficult to be a Kansas City Royals fan. The major league product was underwhelming at best, and the minor league system was essentially a barren wasteland with the occasional bright spot. When Dayton Moore took over as General Manager, his top priority was to build the Royals minor league system into one of the best in baseball. Over the last few years, even if the major league product was subpar, the Royals farm system began ranking among the best in the game. We would look forward to those rankings by Baseball America, picturing a day when the cavalry would arrive and the Royals would be relevant once again.
Despite few of those formerly highly touted prospects actually panning out for the Royals, they have become relevant once again. With their moves this offseason, the Royals are expected to be the team that pushes the Detroit Tigers for the American League Central crown, potentially resulting in that long awaited postseason berth. Yet, even with the excitement for the major league club, the farm system is still churning along, generating prospect after prospect.
Looking at the Baseball America Top Ten Prospects list for the Royals, it is easy to see why that excitement should continue. Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura lead off the list, and both are projected to be top of the rotation starters. Zimmer, in particular, is expected to be a dominant pitcher, and may be able to head up the Royals rotation for years to come once he has gotten used to the majors.
Most of the list was a given, as the Royals top eight prospects are almost universally agreed upon. Bubba Starling cracked the list as the ninth highest ranked prospect, but that may be more on his athleticism and potential as opposed to his production. The only real surprise was the inclusion of Christian Binford, a right handed starter with solid control and a K/9 rate of over 8.2 in his two year minor league career.
As bright as the Kansas City Royals present may be, the future may be even better. With prospects like Zimmer and Ventura on the cusp of contributing at the major league level, and players such as Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Bonifacio to follow, the future could be very bright indeed.