KC Royals Prospects: Catching up with Pipeline's 5 best
If the first two games of their three-game home series with Baltimore are any indication, the KC Royals aren't getting older.
They're getting younger. As MLB.com KC beat writer Anne Rogers pointed out after the club's impressive 6-0 shutout victory over the Orioles, only one Royal who batted in those contests, 32-year-old Salvador Perez, was over 27.
Two games aren't sufficient to establish a tend, of course, but Kansas City's move toward youth was already obvious and necessary. Before too long, and with the exception of Perez, who shows no strong signs of slowing down and is in only the second season of his club record four-year mega-deal, older position players, like Hunter Dozier (31, 32 in August), Matt Duffy (32), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (33) will be gone. The same goes for pitchers Aroldis Chapman (35) and Amir Garrett (31), who'll likely be shopped at or before this summer's trade deadline.
The inconsistency of fellow hurlers Jordan Lyles (32) and Ryan Yarbrough (31) may mean they won't be back next year, either, and whether Zack Greinke (39, 40 in October) will seek or merit a 21st big league season remains to be seen.
That youngsters will soon take over is inevitable. Some are Royals now, one or two may become trade deadline fodder yet this season and move on, and some are in the minors. Let's catch up with the quintet of promising players who sit atop MLB Pipeline's list of Top 30 Kansas City prospects.
KC Royals top prospect No. 5: Third baseman Cayden Wallace
Kansas City chose Wallace, who hit 30 homers, drove in 104 runs, and slashed .289/.379/.528 in two seasons at Arkansas, in the second round of last year's amateur draft, and he went right to work for the organization. In his first 30 professional games (three in Rookie ball and 27 at Low-A Columbia), he had 17 RBIs, stole eight bases, and hit .293 with a .379 OBP.
The Royals bumped him up to High-A Quad Cities to start this season, and he hasn't missed a beat. Through 22 games, he's hitting .296 with three homers and a .921 OPS. He's also drawing walks at a 14.4% clip. Expect the organization to promote him to Double-A Northwest Arkansas before the season is out.