Royals Prospects in Review: Bubba Starling, Jorge Bonifacio, Ramon Torres


Blue Rocks centerfielder Bubba Starling at the plate on April 13, 2014 (Jen Nevius).

Several of the Royals prospects have performed extremely well over the last couple of weeks. There have also been some prospects who have done very poorly. And there have been some prospects whose production fell somewhere between those two extremes, because that’s the only possibility remaining and they have to fall in one of those categories.

Following an organization’s prospects can be a time-consuming endeavor, and in the minor leagues, statistics can only say so much, as they can occasionally mean very little in small sample sizes.

To really draw meaning from a prospect’s stats, it’s helpful to have eyewitness reports. For instance, Bubba Starling is in the midst of a 14-game hitting streak. He’s making more contact than he had in the past (.321 AVG, 16.7% K%), but he also doesn’t appear to be hitting for as much power (3 XBH). One might look at the numbers and wonder if this is nothing more than an extended hot stretch with some BABIP luck.

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However, Baseball Prospectus’ CJ Wittman has watched quite a bit of Starling this season, and most recently, he says that Starling has altered his swing mechanics slightly. If this mechanical adjustment begins to produce results over a larger period of time, perhaps Starling could still have a glimmer of hope for the future. Granted, you’d like to see more pop from a player with the raw power potential Starling possesses, but I think most people would look at this current streak as a positive overall.

Who’s Hot: Ramon Torres (Lexington, SS/2B)

Over the last couple of weeks, the Legends’ shortstop has been on fire. In 56 plate appearances, he’s accumulated a line of .373/.396/.627 with 7 extra-base hits, including a pair of home runs yesterday. Torres has multi-hit games in 8 of the 12 games in which he’s appeared in that timeframe, and has also scored 11 runs.

Who’s Not: Jorge Bonifacio (Northwest Arkansas, OF)

It’s been a rough two weeks for the Royals’ best outfield prospect, as he’s hitting just .128/.234/.231 in his last 47 plate appearances. Bonifacio has also struck out in 27.7% of those plate appearances, while collecting only 2 extra-base hits.

Here’s a look at a few other prospects, along with some of their relevant statistics from the last two weeks. I also included some guys who aren’t really prospects, but who have earned a bit of recognition for their recent performances.

Luis Rico (Lexington, LHP): 3 GS, 17.2 IP, 19 K, 2 BB, 1.02 ERA

Hunter Dozier (Wilmington, 3B): 49 PA, .351/.469/.459, 18.4% BB%

Christian Binford (Wilmington, RHP): 3 GS, 17.2 IP, 22 K, 4 BB, 2.55 ERA

Orlando Calixte (Northwest Arkansas, SS): 50 PA, .273/.340/.500, 5 XBH

Jason Adam (Northwest Arkansas, RHP): 3 GS, 17 IP, 13 K, 6 BB, 6.35 ERA

Melky Mesa (Omaha, OF): 36 PA, .303/.361/.606, 3 HR

Paulo Orlando (Omaha, OF): 51 PA, .413/.449/.565, 4 SB, 6 multi-hit games

Aaron Brooks (Omaha, RHP): 3 GS, 19 IP, 11 K, 4 BB, 16 hits allowed, 1.89 ERA