Royals Prospects in Review: Michael Antonio, Wander Franco, Miguel Almonte


Blue Rocks DH Michael Antonio against Potomac on June 5, 2014 (Jen Nevius).

The 2010 draft has not produced good results for the Royals. We are all familiar with the first round pick, and how the team could have taken several pitchers, most notably Chris Sale, but instead opted for Christian Colon, whose ceiling appears to be a decent utility guy. However, that was not the only pick that has yet to pay off. In fact, only two other players drafted by the Royals that year have debuted in the majors, and only one of them (Michael Mariot) made his debut in Kansas City. The second round pick, Brett Eibner, has been injured and only occasionally impressive at Triple-A, and while there are some potential relief arms in the bunch, it’s mostly been a disappointing group.

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One of those underwhelming players has been Michael Antonio. He was the team’s third round selection out of George Washington High School in New York, and he hadn’t posted an OPS above .620 since 2011, when he was still in Rookie ball. Even this season didn’t get off to a great start, as he had just a .704 OPS in April, but Antonio has really turned things on since then. He’s actually been crushing the ball for a while now, but in his last two weeks, he’s been even better.

Since July 7, the third baseman has hit .357/.367/.679, with 6 extra-base hits, including a home run, in his last 31 plate appearances. He isn’t showing much patience, but the power is certainly impressive, particularly considering the league and home stadium in Wilmington. Obviously this recent stretch is no guarantee for future success, and one should expect a 22-year old to hold his own in High-A, but it’s still nice to see the book isn’t completely closed on what has to be considered a rough draft for the Royals to this point.

Who’s Hot: Wander Franco (Idaho Falls, 3B)

In addition to having an outstanding name, Franco appears to be swinging an outstanding bat, hitting .500/.565/.900 in the last two weeks, with 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, and has a younger brother by the same name who is in the Astros’ organization. That doesn’t really have any relevance to the Royals’ prospect’s recent production, but I now know there are two professional baseball players named Wander Franco.

Who’s Not: Miguel Almonte (Wilmington, RHP)

Despite being named the 50th best prospect in Baseball Prospectus’ midseason rankings, Almonte has had a rough go lately, giving up 16 hits in his last 8.2 innings, and posting a 9.35 ERA. Opponents have a .994 OPS against him in those two starts, and rumor has it that allowing batters to average one base per at bat isn’t a great way to be successful.

Here are a few more notable stat lines from Royals prospects in the last two weeks.

Ryan O’Hearn (Idaho Falls, 1B/DH): 58 PA, .308/.379/.558, 4 HR

Logan Moon (Burlington, OF): 49 PA, .364/.429/.591, 5 XBH

Chase Vallot (Burlington, C): 42 PA, .294/.405/.559, 16.7% BB%, 2 HR

Foster Griffin (Burlington, LHP): 2 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K

Alexis Rivera (Lexington, OF): 43 PA, .179/.256/.282, 15 K, 3 BB

Kenny Diekroeger (Lexington, 2B): 50 PA, .234/.265/.255, 12 K, 2 BB, 1 XBH

Pedro Fernandez (Lexington, RHP): 3 G, 12.2 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 15 K, 3.55 ERA

Raul Mondesi (Wilmington, SS): 51 PA, .279/.333/.488, 5 XBH, 1 HR

Jonathan Dziedzic (Wilmington, RHP): 2 GS, 13 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 0.69 ERA

Jorge Bonifacio (Northwest Arkansas, OF): 55 PA, .184/.255/.245, 19 K

J.C. Sulbaran (Northwest Arkansas, RHP): 3 G, 15 IP, 11 H, 7 BB, 16 K, 2.40 ERA, .550 OPS allowed

Francisco Pena (Omaha, C): 31 PA, .300/.323/.767, 4 HR

John Lamb (Omaha, LHP): 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 17 K