What unranked prospect will breakout for KC Royals in 2024?

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Jim Callis and Sam Dykstra at MLB.com are two of the most respected prospect evaluators in baseball today. So, when they say an unranked KC Royals prospect is poised for a breakout this season, that should not be taken lightly.

The pair selected a prospect to prosper this upcoming season from each organization. The selections ranged from a team's top prospect to the lower 20s, but their Royals pick was the only prospect not ranked in a team's top 30. Venezuelan Ramon Ramirez, a right-handed catcher, was a shocking selection for many.

Ramirez is certainly far from any MLB debut, but his Dominican Summer League season propelled him to this point. He had a 1.055 OPS and eight home runs across 41 games. Plus, he drew more walks (21) than strikeouts and swiped six bags for the Royals Blue team.

"His combination of plate protection and early power would be exciting at any position, but Royals officials have also expressed their pleasure with how Ramirez works defensively behind the dish. A stateside introduction will put Ramirez’s early production to the test, and he could make for a great KC catching depth chart alongside Blake Mitchell and Carter Jensen."

Jim Callis, Sam Dykstra

This is the latest chapter in Ramirez's emerging as a legitimate prospect Royals fans need to watch for. Prospects Live ranked him as the Royals' top overall prospect, surpassing players like Frank Mozzicato and Blake Mitchell. Writer Matt Thompson noted his "power metrics back up the production with big exit velocity numbers, reportedly around 103 for a 90% EV, and the swing decisions and contact skills back up the approach. He’s a borderline top 100 prospect due to his upside and potential franchise catcher ceiling."

Just Baseball's Aram Leighton echoed this sentiment, ranking Ramirez as baseball's 99th-best prospect last season. The catcher impressed Leighton "both at the plate and behind it," adding that "it’s the swing mechanics, defensive tools and underlying data that make him such an intriguing prospect."

Where Ramirez will start the 2024 season remains to be seen. He has already outperformed his DSL competition, so a move to the Arizona Complex League may be in order. It is not unreasonable for the Royals to start the catcher in Low-A Columbia if they want to be aggressive either. That move would likely be some trial by fire for the 18-year-old Ramirez, but Royals fans need to be watching this surging prospect now.