I want to take a look back at some of Kansas City's farm systems when I get the chance. So let's start with the 2001 version. I am hoping that given all the hoopla regarding Kansas City's system this can keep us from expecting too much from the incredible crop of talent on the rise. The following system was ranked fourteenth in 2001.
1. Chris George LHP- "Kansas City hasn't had a lefty win more than 10 games in a season since 1988. George should end that drought soon."
George's Major League career lasted 4 seasons. During that time he appeared in 47 games, making 44 starts. He nearly recorded 10 wins in 2003, when he somehow managed to go 9-6 with a 7.11 era. His total WAR came in at -1 and George never developed into the ace that Kansas City fans were hoping for.
2. Dee Brown OF- "He also runs well enough to be a 30-30 threat."
Brown never became a 30-30 threat. In fact the closest he ever got was his 2001 season when he hit 7 homers with 5 steals in 106 games. For his career he logged 876 plate appearances between Kansas City and Oakland (only 3 with the latter). His total WAR was -2.8.
3. Mike MacDougal RHP- "MacDougal has so much life on his pitches that it's difficult to control them."
MacDougal has managed an eleven season mlb career and counting. He is currently a member of the Dodgers' bullpen where he boasts a 3.00 era in 3 innings. He pitched for Kansas City between 2001-2005 during which time he posted a 1.7 WAR. For his career he has a 2.1 WAR with a career era+ of 109. He also has 70 career saves.
The Royals traded MacDougal to Chicago for pitchers Tyler Lumsden and Dan Cortes. Lumsden was flipped for Jordan Parraz, and Cortes was paired with Derek Saito and sent to Seattle for Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt was then packaged with Greinke to bring the Royals Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi.
4. Jimmy Gobble LHP- "Gobble's curve breaks so much that he struggles to keep it in the strikezone."
Gobble lasted 7 seasons in the Majors, that included 435.2 innings pitched. He served as a full-time starter in his first two years before being moved to the bullpen permanently in 2005. Gobble contributed a 2.1 WAR as a Royals before a -0.2 in his only season as a White Sock.
5. Jeff Austin RHP- "Projects as a solid starter, albeit not as a no. 1 guy."
Don't think that drafting a pitcher in the top 5 without ace potential is a new phenomenon. For their number 4 overall selection the Royals received 37 big league innings before they traded him to Cincinnati for Alan Moye and Damaso Espino. Austin had a career era+ of 68 and a career WAR of -1.0.
6. Angel Berroa SS- "He has tremendous range, an outstanding arm and an innate sense of how to catch the ball. He also has good pop for a middle infielder, can hit for average and runs well."
Berroa won the rookie of the year award in 2003 when he posted a slash of .287/.338/.451 with a WAR of 4.0. Berroa was rewarded with a long term contract but then posted ops+ of 78, 81, and 52. For his career he has compiled a WAR of 3.2 and an OPS+ of 76.
Berroa was a key part of a magical 2003 season, but after that he soon became the scapegoat for Royals' fans frustrations. Instead of being the long term answer at short he became just another mistake and disappointment for the Kansas City organization.
7. Ken Harvey 1B- "He can hit for average and gap power."
Harvey is another member of that 2003 team that was able to win 83 games for the season. However, Harvey didn't exactly put up stellar numbers for a firstbaseman. For his four year career he had an OPS+ of 88, logged 1,078 plate appearances, and had a WAR of -1.2.
8. Mike Stodolka LHP- "He should be one of the first high school pitchers from the 2000 draft to reach the majors."
Ironically Stodolka never even reached the Major League level. As a pitcher he topped out in double A, before he decided to restart his career as a first baseman. Perhaps he would have been better off as a firstbaseman from the start because in three minor league seasons he displayed great strikezone judgment with decent pop. He had a career minor league OPS of .839. His career ERA was 4.93.
9. Alexis Gomez OF- "The Royals have never had a Dominican all-star. Big League second baseman Carlos Febles has a chanceto be their first, and Gomez is their next best hope."
I was surprised to learn that Gomez did in fact make it to the Big Leagues, but not surprised to learn that he never developed into the all-star some had envisioned. Gomez had 41 plate appearances for Kansas City and in 2006 he played in 62 games for Detroit. His career WAR was -0.4.
10. Kyle Snyder RHP- "Snyder has it all."
Injuries may have been the downfall of Kyle Snyder but unfortunately we will never know. He finished his Big League career with a 5.57 era and a -0.7 WAR. The six pitching prospects in the top ten wound up posting a combined WAR of 1.3. By not reaching the Majors Mike Stodolka's was actually the third best at 0.
11. Shawn Sonnier RHP- "Sonnier may be the closer they've been looking for."
In 7 minor league seasons, Sonnier posted a 9.9 k rate with a career era of 3.50. He hung up the cleats before ever being granted an opportunity in the Majors despite promising minor league results.
12. Ryan Bukvich RHP- "He displayed a closer's mentality."
Bukvish finished his career with 1 save, an era of 6.16, a walk rate of 7.3 and a k rate of 6.4. His career WAR was -0.7.
13. Brian Sanches RHP- "Sanches led all short-season pitchers with 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings."
I was surprised to learn that Sanches didn't flame out at the minor league level, but instead still living the dream as a Major League pitcher. He is a member of Florida's bullpen for the third straight season after posting back to back seasons with an era of 2.56. He has a career era+ of 131 and a career WAR of 2.0. Meaning at this point in our analysis he is the best pitcher of the 2001 Royals' farm system.
14. Mike Tonis C- "Tonis is athletic for a catcher, to the point where he played all 9 positions in a game for Cal last Spring."
Tonis eventually made the Majors for the Royals in 2004. Once there he played in 2 games and received 7 plate appearances. Sadly, Tonis will be one of the many Major League players who finished their careers with 0 career hits.
15. Corey Thurman RHP- "He has a big body that reminds the Royals of a stronger Dave Stewart."
Dave Stewart had a sixteen season MLB career. He recorded 168 wins with an era of 3.95. Corey Thurman had a two season MLB career. He recorded 3 wins with an era of 4.75. Perhaps it would have been better if he was a bit weaker. Thurman finished his career with a WAR of 0.6 which makes him more successful than most of the pitchers on this list.