My biggest complaint with the Royals' pool of first-base prospects was how thin it was. That is the entire opposite of the middle infielders this year, as the Royals have a plethora of talented options. Michael Massey and Samad Taylor are recent graduates from the Royals system, with both seeing extensive action at second base. The jury is still out on both, but Massey looks like the favorite to start at second on Opening Day next year.
The KC Royals are stocked with second base prospects with similar ceilings.
Both are young, and the Royals had another second baseman make his MLB debut this season. The system is stocked at that position. Who are some other prospects that Kansas City fans should know of, and what tools give their development hope?
I am omitting Lizandro Rodriguez, a top-30 Royals prospect ahead of the 2023 season. Rodriguez had a brutal year, both at the plate and in the field. This was his first full year in affiliated ball and he took major steps backward. The 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic struggled to adjust to the higher level of competition and will need to make significant improvements in order to regain his prospect status.
5. Omar Reyes
Born: 3/03/2005 in Caracas, Venezuela
The Royals signed Reyes this past winter, and he made an immediate impact in the Dominican Summer League. At just 18 years old, Reyes tied for the fourth-best walk-to-strikeout ratio in the DSL with an impressive 2-1. He does not have much power at the plate, but his ability to make contact and get on base is exceptional. Reyes certainly has work to do in the field, but he looks fluid and athletic enough to make the necessary changes.
2023 stats: 91 AB, .242/.444/.341, 0 HR, 15 RBI, 32 BB, 16 SO
4. Morgan McCullough
Born: 12/19/1997 in Seattle, WA
The Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals deployed McCullough at third base for most of this season, but he fits best at second. He joined the Royals organization in 2022 and moved from High-A to Triple-A in less than two seasons. The power is not going to scare anyone, but he clobbered Triple-A pitching after making his September debut. He may not have a high ceiling, but he could surprise people in Omaha next season.
2023 stats: 286 AB, .245/.349/.402, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 39 BB, 94 SO
3. Peyton Wilson
Born: 11/01/1999 in Hoover, AL
MLB.com currently ranks Wilson as the Royal's 26th overall prospect, thanks to his elite speed and strong arm. He started out the season slow at the plate, but a strong second half helped record career highs in RBIs, extra-base hits, and walks. His Arizona Fall League performance only helps his case. He is displaying a knack for getting on base nearly one-for-one in walks and strikeouts. Wilson still needs to regain his power at the plate, but his tools and position in the system make him an interesting player.
2023 stats: 489 AB ,.286/.366/.411, 6 HR, 65 RBI, 55 BB, 101 SO
2. Javier Vaz
Born: 9/22/2000 in Huntsville, AL
If you have read our interview with Javier Vaz, you will know how impressive his work ethic and dedication to the game are. High-A Quad Cities broadcaster Kyle Kercheval singled out Vaz as one of the team's best stories this season. Vaz gets on base no matter what, walking more than striking out across 119 High-A and Double-A games, showcasing his exceptional batting skills. MLB.com ranks Vaz 13th in the Royals farm system, and he could rise further in 2024.
2023 stats: 445 AB, .279/.373/.400, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 64 BB, 50 SO
1. Nick Loftin
Born: 9/25/1998 in Corpus Christi, TX
Loftin could be the Royals' top prospect at first, second, and third thanks to his defensive versatility. But the former Baylor Bear will push Massey for the second base spot in 2024, especially after his stellar first month in The Show. MLB.com ranks him as the Royals' fifth-best prospect, but he will likely not be there long next season. Loftin should stick on the 26-man roster starting on Opening Day. He is above-average at several defensive positions and slots nicely in the lineup's bottom half. The Royals should use Loftin as a super-replacement at least in 2024, if he does not claim a position full time.
2023 MiLB stats: 332 AB, .280/.362/.458, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 40 BB, 51 SO
2023 MLB stats: 62 AB, .323/ .368 /.435, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 4 BB, 12 SO