Now for the minor league players. Singer, Kowar, Lopez, Lovelady, Lee, Melendez, and Matias all made the list. Upside and ability is the main reason these guys made the list.
The 2018 first overall pick for the Royals seemingly had to make the list. With the amount of upside Singer has, leaving him unprotected would most likely result in him getting picked. Singer also has the ability to be a front-end rotational pitcher, and he could very well be close to MLB ready. Singer won the Dick Howser Award this year, which goes to the college player of the year, and was SEC Pitcher of the Year. Expectations are high, so leaving it up to chance that he wouldn’t get grabbed would be foolish.
Kowar was teammates with Singer and similar to Singer, Kowar has a lot of upside. The 33rd pick is starting to piece things together as a starter, and some believe he has a very high ceiling. Maybe even higher than Singer’s. Kowar was projected to be a Top-20 pick in the draft this year, so an expansion team would most likely look at the upside Kowar has and be tempted to take him.
Lopez is currently the Royals #6 prospect. However, he easily could be higher on that list. Lopez has been putting on a show recently in the minor league system. The 23-year-old started the year in Double-A but was quickly promoted after hitting .331/.397/.416 over 73 games. Now in Triple-A, he is continuing to have some success hitting .270/.308/.459 over nine games. His ability to hold down the middle of the field is also desirable. Especially with him being close to MLB ready.
The Royals #1 prospect has been making a lot of noise within the system lately. After having success at Lexington, the Royals decided to promote him to Double-A. He has continued to have success. The hope is that Lee can be the future centerfielder for the Royals. He is just 20-years-old right now but has shown the ability to hit for some power, while being productive defensively and on the basepaths. Lee is part of the future wave of young talent, so leaving him up to chance might not be the best move for the Royals.
Matias, the teams #3 prospect, is probably the one player making the most noise. As of right now, Matias is doing one of two things. Mashing the baseball with 26 home runs, and 10 doubles. Or he is striking out, 106 strikeouts. Matias is someone that you would hope can start becoming more patient at the plate while continuing to show power numbers like he is. As of right now, the 19-year-old is hitting just .218/.299/.568 on the season. However, he is part of the next wave and could be a big contributor depending on his plate discipline and continued development.
Yes, a catcher even though I protected Perez. However, the 19-year-old is still a few years away from being MLB ready. Hopefully, Melendez is MLB ready by the time Perez is ending his current contract with the Royals. As of right now, the #4 prospect and 8th best catching prospect is impressing. Similar to the other teens, his average is less than desired, but his power is showing big upside. As of right now, he is hitting .246/.305/.504 with 15 doubles, six triples, and 13 home runs. He is, hopefully, the future at the catching position. To leave him unprotected and hope a team overlooks his production seems a bit too daring for me.
Lovelady does make the list but as 10b. Lovelady is very impressive and his production at Omaha hasn’t disappointed. As a 23-year-old, back-end bullpen arm, potentially a closer, Lovelady would seem to be a pitcher a new team would want to pick away from the Royals. So far, he is having the worst year of his three year career, and he has an ERA of 3.18 over 28 games and 45.1 innings. What is impressive is he has given up one or fewer runs in 26 of his 29 games, and zero runs in 21 of the 29 games. In fact, if you exclude his three games where he gave up 11 runs over 4.2 innings, his ERA drops to 1.12 on the season. He is knocking at the MLB door right now. To let a team take a 23-year-old pitcher like Lovelady would feel wrong.