For years, one of the strengths of the Kansas City Royals was their impressive farm system. Players like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Yordano Ventura were considered to be among the top prospects in the game. While other top prospects, like Mike Montgomery or Tim Melville did not pan out, the Royals farm system was still considered the envy of many teams in baseball.
Now, with the influx of younger talent on the Royals major league roster, one can understand how the farm system may have slipped a bit over the past few years. Maybe they do not have a top five minor league system any longer, but one would still think that the Royals should be in the upper echelon of prospects.
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Instead, the Kansas City Royals farm system is ranked 20th in all of baseball. Yes, 20th. This ranking comes despite the Royals having four of the top 100 prospects according to MLB.com and Baseball America, and five to the top 100 according to Baseball Prospectus. This post draft ranking of 20th seems quite low.
Yes, a number of the Royals top prospects have not exactly produced this season. Kyle Zimmer‘s shoulder is apparently held together with string, duct tape and the tears of a unicorn, but even that allows him to be healthy for a couple of weeks at a time. Hunter Dozier has struggled in the proving grounds of AA, posting a .211/.297/.315 batting line with seven home runs in the equivalent of a full season of at bats. Sean Manaea has yet to even pitch this season.
However, for all of those struggles, there are also players that are beginning to make an impact. Former top prospect Bubba Starling is actually beginning to look like the prospect that the Kansas City Royals thought they had when they drafted him fifth overall in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. Raul Mondesi, at age 19, is holding his own at AA. While he still has virtually no plate discipline, walking twice in 91 plate appearances, his .271/.284/.435 batting line is quite impressive. Add in three home runs and six stolen bases, and it is easy to see why the Royals have such high hopes for him.
Maybe the Royals system is not what it once was, but to rank their farm system as the 20th best in baseball is rather excessive. With the talent that the Kansas City Royals still have in the minors, even with the question marks that surround some of these players, the farm system is better than that.