Monday, January 24, 2011

Prospect Countdown: 40-36

40. Crawford Simmons LHP

Crawford Simmons was a Royals bonus baby of the 2009 draft. A two sport star in high school, Simmons had a scholarship in hand to attend Georgia Tech University in the Fall of 2010. Instead the Royals took a flyer on him in the 14th round and lured him away from collegiate athletics with a $450,000 signing bonus.

Simmons entered the 2010 season rated as the #26 best prospect in the Royals' system according to Baseball America. As you can see from the stats above he dominated 2011 and the fact that he ranks just fortieth in my personal countdown doesn't mean that his stock has slid one bit as a prospect.

Simmons possesses a three pitch mix of fastball, curveball, and changeup. His 12-6 curveball is at times a plus pitch and his change according to one scout his changeup was the best the Appalachian League had to offer in 2010. Though his secondary offerings are strong his prospect status will hinge on his ability to add some velocity to his fastball, which was clocked in just the high 80s entering the season.

Simmons doesn't get great arm speed, however he has a 6-2 frame that could suggest a slight increase in velocity. If he can obtain any sort of increase he has mid rotation potential. If he continues to work in the high 80s his command and plus secondary offerings should still allow him to one day pitch in the back end of a Major League rotation.

I expect Simmons to begin the year in extended Spring Training, or open as a member of a very strong Kane County Cougar rotation.

39. Lane Adams OF

Like Simmons, Adams was a two sport athlete in high school. Instead of gold though, Adams was a basketball standout at Red Oak High School in Oklahoma averaging over 30 points per game his senior season and obtaining a basketball scholarship for Cuanzo Martin and the Missouri State Bears.

Instead of heading to Missouri State and playing in the Missouri Valley Conference though, Adams was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 13th round of the 2009 draft and signed away from his basketball scholarship with a $300,000 bonus.

Lane is a high upside guy that could rise fast if it comes together (think Hilton Richardson). In Idaho Falls he displayed good contact with promising pop in a 41 game stint. He also was a perfect 8 for 8 in the stolen base department.

I have read that he plays an all out style in the outfield and has a strong arm that could profile in right. He should team up with Hilton Richardson this summer in Kane County. Hopefully the good baseball environment can benefit the pair of them and they can translate those tools into results and leap up the prospect charts.

38. Justin Marks LHP

The Royals knew that if they would have declined DeJesus's option and offered him arbitration with him declining they would have obtained a supplemental draft pick in return. Instead they elected to accept the option and trade DeJesus for Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks. Since the trade Dayton Moore explained that the club and it's scouts felt as though Marks was the equivalent to a supplemental pick and thus a major reason why the pulled the trigger on the deal.

Marks was drafted out of Louisville in the third round of the 2009 draft after a very strong collegiate career for the Cardinals. Currently Marks possesses four average pitches: fastball, slider, curveball, and a changeup. Unfortunately Marks doesn't progress a plus pitch, which could extremely limit his development.

Marks pitches out of a 3/4s arm slot and tends to get an above average amount of groundballs as he pitches downhill very well. Marks is extremely polished and I don't see much projection left. Since his command is strong and he already knows how to use his arsenal of pitches, he could rise quickly. Although with the quality of arms ahead of him he may not have the stuff to pass them.

Marks could begin the season in either Wilmington or Northwest Arkansas. I think they will determine where he begins based on how other pitchers pitch in Spring with Marks taking the opposite spot depending on which rotation needs another arm.

37. Humberto Arteaga SS

I don't know much about Arteaga or Caxito, but I do know that they were both signed to huge bonus as Latin American shortstops. The organization obviously thinks very much of both and their signings have both greatly improved the depth that the Royals have at the short stop position.

Arteaga was signed out of Venezuela in August for a bonus of $1.1 million. He is about 6 feet tall weighing 160 pounds. Here is a quote from Rene Francisco Royals assistant to GM of International Operations regarding Arteaga's bat:

“It’s more of a contact, line-drive type bat. It’s a simple, compact stroke. We think he’s going to make a lot of contact.”

The sixteen year old Arteaga was a switch hitter at the time of the signing, however the Royals are planning to move him to just the right side of the plate.

Francisco also said this about Arteaga's defense:

"He's a surehanded shortstop, (His range is) enough to play shortstop and make the play from the hole. His quickness, his anticipation at shortstop, how to position himself—it's really, really good for his age."

The Royals had been following Arteaga since he was just 13 years old. I expect Arteaga to follow the Cheslor Cuthbert path and begin the year in Stateside baseball, most likely in the Arizona League.

36. Orlando Caxito SS

Caxito is the man of many names; however when he played this summer this is the name he went by so I am going to use it here.

RoyalRevival broke the story of a third major international signing by Kansas City after Dayton Moore mentioned it in a 610 sports interview a year ago. After I wrote a blog entry about the intriguing quote, several sources used my article to create some speculation of their own (Keith Law and MLBTradeRumors). I thought that the signing could be outfield prospect Wagner Mateo, however a couple of weeks later we found out that it was a short stop by the name of Paul Carlixte.

Nearly a year after the signing Caxito still remains a prospect mystery to the Royals fanbase. All we really know is that he has a propensity to aliases and that he is a rangy shortstop with smooth hands, a quick bat and plays beyond his years. He generated strong reviews in Instructionals last September and even though his numbers in the Dominican League were less than spectacular I am still very interested in the development of this player.

He should hit the states in 2011 and I am going to venture a guess that it will be in the Applachian League.

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