Despite winning four minor league affiliate championships, the Kansas City Royals farm system had its fair share of disappointing prospects.
All eyes are on the Kansas City Royals farm system and for good reason. The big league club has lost a combined 207 games over the last two seasons but it finally looks like the worst is over. Certainly, the rotation is still a disaster but the future looks extremely bright with the likes of Kris Bubic, Jackson Kowar, Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, and others doing their thing in the minors.
As Alex Gordon noted, there are a few pieces already on the roster in Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, Whit Merrifield, and Adalberto Mondesi but being a small market, they will be relying on their farm system for support instead of spending gobs of money on free agents. New owner John Sherman should still pursue free agents to potentially accelerate the rebuild and nobody should count on all of the pitching prospects to make a huge impact.
Certain can’t-miss prospects like Bobby Witt Jr., Brewer Hicklen, and Kelvin Gutierrez will be called up over the next couple of seasons as well with Gutierrez potentially cracking the Opening Day roster in 2020. However, there were a few prospects that were expected to take the next step but significantly underwhelmed. Let’s take a look.
1. MJ Melendez, C
As the heir apparent to Salvador Perez, Melendez spent the entire season with High-A Wilmington. Last year, he played 111 games for the Single-A squad and the former second-round pick slashed 0.251/0.322/0.492 with 26 doubles, 9 triples, 19 home runs, and 73 RBI. But he struck out at a 31 percent clip.
He was promoted to Wilmington for the 2019 season and produced an underwhelming 0.163/0.260/0.311 with 23 doubles, 2 triples, 9 home runs, and 54 RBI in 110 games. Melendez struck out at a 41 percent clip.
2. Nick Pratto, 1B
Drafted the round before Melendez, Nick Pratto slashed 0.280/0.343/0.443 with 33 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs, and 62 RBI his first full season with the Single-A squad a year ago. Like Melendez, he struck out at an incredibly high rate, 28.3 percent to be exact. Still, the Royals 10th overall prospect was promoted to High-A Wilmington for the 2019 season.
There he posted a lackluster 0.191/0.278/0.310 line with 21 doubles, 1 triple, 9 home runs, and 46 RBI. But he struck out at a 35 percent clip. Both he and Melendez were sent to the team’s Instructional Camp this fall for one purpose: to work on hitting. That’s not exactly a vote of confidence for the team’s first and second-round picks of the 2017 draft.
3. Seuly Matias, OF
Signed as part of the 2015 international free agent period, Matias has significantly underwhelmed in general during his tenure with the Royals farm system. In 2018, he played in 24 games for Single-A Lexington and slashed 0.231/0.303/0.550 with 13 doubles, 1 triple, but displayed a tremendous amount of power with 31 balls leaving the yard.
He dealt with a hand injury for much of the 2019 season but is now healthy which is encouraging for next season. However, he’d like to forget his most recent campaign (and again hampered by injury) as he posted a 0.148/0.259/0.307 with just 4 home runs in 57 games.
Look for all three of these guys to bounce back next season with Matias potentially being one of the most underrated prospects in baseball.