The KC Royals first wave of prospects have won two pennants and one World Series title. Extensive injuries in the 2016 season have provided Kansas City fans with a glimpse of the next wave of prospects.
General manager Dayton Moore has long talked about how the organization needed to develop a “next wave” of prospects for the franchise to achieve long-term success. Though most analysts ranked the Kansas City Royals system in the bottom third of MLB before the 2016 season, multiple prospects looks ready for full-time roles with the big club.
Though Cheslor Cuthbert has slumped in September, his .274/.314/.410 slash line with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs has shown he can play at the major league level. While some recent defensive struggles at third base has reduced his bWAR to -0.1, he can clearly hit major-league pitching. If he can tighten up some of his errors, Cuthbert looks like he can become an average major-league starter.
While Paulo Orlando is 30-years-old, he’s only a second year player. His .293/.318/.386 makes him a playable bat and his plus defense in center has established him as a solid regular. He’s accumulated 1.9 bWAR (Baseball-reference Wins Above Replacement)
Throw in Whit Merrifield‘s .286/.324/.393 triple slash and Hunter Dozier‘s debut in right, and the KC Royals lineup has some help coming to offset the expected exodus after 2017. Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Alcides Escobar all will hit free agency that winter.
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That’s not even mentioning the organization’s no. 1 prospect in Raul Mondesi. Mondesi’s bat still needs work. But, his quick stroke, exceptional range, and blazing speed suggests he can be a star at short. He looks like he might IMPROVE on 2015 gold glove winner Alcides Escobar‘s defense.
Pitching prospects have also contributed to the KC Royals this season . Twenty-two year old Lefty Matt Strahm has been nothing short of dominant as a reliever. His 1.02 ERA, 12.2 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 show that he could become an elite set-up man. However, the organization sees him as a starter and will give him a chance to earn a rotation spot next spring.
Another starting possibility is AA star Josh Staumont, who has recently discovered control to go with his 80-grade fastball, sharp curve, and drop-off-the-shelf change.
Fellow lefty reliever Brian Flynn has been a solid addition with his 2.34 ERA in 50.0 innings pitched. Though the 26-year-old has appeared in major-league games for the Marlins in 2013 and 2014, he still qualifies as a rookie. Yet another rookie lefty in 27-year-old Scott Alexander has contributed 14.2 innings with a 3.62 ERA.
The KC Royals have a number of developing prospects that could help them in 2017.