The KC Royals ranked no. 23 in ESPN.com analyst Keith Law’s organization rankings released Wednesday. Law only listed two Kansas City Royals prospects in his top 100 prospects list, which was also released on Wednesday.
While Law placed the KC Royals system in the bottom third, he did recognize that general manager Dayton Moore thinned the system last season in order to win the 2015 World Series. One of the big reasons Law cited for the system’s low organizational ranking is the lack of pitchers close to the major leagues.
Law, who once worked as a personnel man for the Toronto Blue Jays, listed shortstop Raul Adalberto Mondesi and pitcher Kyle Zimmer among his top 100 prospects, but both came in the bottom quartile with Mondesi at no. 73 and Zimmer at no. 94. Law saw 2015 as something of a lost season for Mondesi due to his struggles at AA:
"He was the only teenaged position player in the Texas League last year and didn’t belong there due to poor plate discipline and a mandate to try to bunt for hits that limits the times he can work the count and develop an approach. His swing is fine, and as he gets stronger he should develop plenty of doubles power, while the other key tools — glove, arm, running speed — are already in place."
Keith Law thinks Mondesi looks like he’ll become a lot like Alcides Escobar: a good glove man with speed, who is limited at the plate. However, Law sees Mondesi with athletic upside who could still develop at the plate.
Meanwhile, Law likes starter Kyle Zimmer; but is leery of his inability to stay healthy:
"Zimmer would be a top-10 prospect as a starter if he had any history of staying healthy in that role in pro ball, but a series of arm woes, culminating in arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder after the 2014 season, have limited him to 216 innings across three and a half years since he signed."
Law believes that Zimmer has no. 1 starter stuff, with a plus fastball, curve, and change to go with a so-so slider. Law sees Zimmer pitching only limited innings as a starter, or perhaps as a reliever with the big club in 2016.
More from Kings of Kauffman
- KC Royals Rumors: Is a monster move in the cards?
- KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: 3 Tampa Bay pitchers
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: The $25 million man
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 3 update
Law, however, is apparently unimpressed by fireballer Miguel Almonte and Bubba Starling‘s hitting breakthrough at High A and AA last season. Since those two are the players most analysts see as close to the major leagues, Law’s low system ranking makes sense.
The KC Royals system could rise in the rankings if young pitchers taken high in recent drafts like Ashe Russell, Scott Blewett, Foster Griffin, and Nolan Watson post strong 2016 seasons. The Kansas City Royals also busted their international cap to sign a pair of 16-year-old prospects in centerfielder Seuly Matias and Jeizon Guzman.
While both teenagers are considered good prospects, they’re likely six or seven years away from any potential Kansas City debut.