Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Prospect Countdown: 50-46

50. Kevin Chapman LHP

Due to tommy john surgery in 2008, Chapman had only logged 50 innings as a member of the Florida Gators pitching staff heading into the 2010 season. However, in 2010 he established himself as the top relief arm and closer for the Gator staff. Chapman possesses a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a slider that moves from one plane to another with great depth. He also has a changeup that serves as a timing pitch, but not necessarily a pitch he can go to on a regular basis.

Entering the 2010 draft many scouts viewed Chapman as the top closer in the class and a potential 2nd round selection. There were some that even viewed Chapman and his 6-4, 215 pound frame as a guy that could make a smooth transition to the rotation. However, this is obviously not the approach that the Royals have taken.

The Royals nabbed Chapman in the fifth round and he should join his former Gator teammate on the fast track to the major league bullpen, a bullpen that in a few years should produce some ridonkulous strikeout rates.

49. Michael Antonio SS

Entering his senior campaign, many people viewed Antonio as one of the top high school prospects in the 2010 draft. However, Antonio struggled which caused his draft stock to plummet to a point that when the Royals drafted him in the 3rd round many viewed it as an over-draft. At this point in time I have a lot of faith in the Royals scouting department and I think that in their eyes this wasn't a cost saving move and was probably viewed more as a potential steal. After all if Antonio wouldn't have struggled in his senior season he would have never been available in the 3rd round anyway.

Many scouts believe that Antonio is going to be pushed off short onto a corner position due to his increasing size. Antonio isn't a good runner, but many believe his bat will be very solid. According to one publication Antonio's bat has .300+ ability and solid average power.

Antonio could be a potential steal for the Royals or could one day be looked at as a wasted pick. If it is true that Antonio can't handle shortstop then I would like to see him shifted to a corner outfield spot as opposed to third base. I expect Antonio to return to short season ball in 2011, and begin the year in Idaho Falls

48. Murray Watts 1B

Murray Watts is a guy that I could see becoming a cult favorite among Royals bloggers. At Arkansas State his Junior season he dominated posting a 1.106 OPS, the Royals took notice and decided that he was worth a 28th round selection in the 2010 draft. The story reminds me a great deal of Clint Robinson's who played very well during his time at Troy University. Like Robinson, Watts was assigned to Idaho Falls after signing as a draft pick from the middle rounds. Once at Idaho Falls both players tore up the circuit and gained some attention.

Like Robinson, Watts should begin his first full season in the pitcher friendly Midwest League, and it will be interesting to see what he does from there. I like Watts, but not as much as some. I think Watts has legitimate power potential, probably more than Robinson. But I also think he will have contact troubles as he advanced. That is always a concern from tall players and I don't think that Watts will be an exception. (think Richie Sexson)

Watts will be old for his level, so unless the Royals want to get aggressive with him and send him to Wilmington to start the season (a move that I would endorse) he will need to produce consistently. Because like all older prospects, he can't afford to stall at any stop because time and age are not on his side.

47. Nathan Adcock RHP

Adcock is 6-5, 190. He offers the Royals a projectable frame with a fastball that sits in the 88-93 mph range. With his size it would not be shocking to see him either add some velocity as a starter, or dial up his stuff a bit in a move to the bullpen. Adcock also has a curveball that in 2009 was considered the best in the Seattle Mariner organization. However, at this point most believe that he possesses three average pitches, but no plus offerings.

The good news for Adcock is that he has a reputation as a downhill thrower and has consistently had an above average groundball rate. The bad news is that he doesn't have that plus offering and he throws from an "inverted w" which is a health concern moving forward.

The Royals claimed that they viewed Adcock as a rotation candidate upon drafting him in the Rule 5 roughly a month ago. However, since then I haven't seen his name discussed at all as a potential option. I think he will pitch mediocre in Spring and be offered back to the Pirates, who will accept the 25K option to repurchase his rights.

46. Lucas May C

May came over to Kansas City from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Scott Podsednik deal. He was having a strong season for the Dodger's triple A affiliate and had posted a .296/.352/.496 slash line in the most hitter friendly park in triple A baseball. Many expected his numbers to take a dive in Omaha (myself included), however he was a pleasant surprise and continued to hit with power. His OPS actually was 20 point higher in Omaha than Albuquerque.

May's receiving skills are a work in progress, but according to Baseball America he has the tools to be a plus defender. He has an above average arm, and has drastically improved his game calling abilities. I don't believe his upside is as high as other catchers in the system but he doesn't have a glaring weakness, unless his bat simply fails to translate to the Major League level as I suspect. I hope I am wrong though, because if he ever finds a way to duplicate those triple A, numbers then he is a top notch starting catcher.

Lucas May entered the season as the number 17 prospect in the Dodgers system, but even after a very strong 2010 season he should drop in his team ranking due to the strength of the Royals system. For some reason I am just not that high on May and I probably and ranking him much lower than he deserves. Nonetheless, at this point I would like to see him as the opening day starter at catcher.

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