Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Ultimate Prospect List

In a post yesterday, Chris St. John of SB Nation took a moment to compile the ultimate list of baseball's top prospects. The composite list included the prospect rankings of Baseball America, Keith Law, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, John Sickels, and five others. He then assigned points and ranked all prospects considering their prevalence across multiple prospect ranking platforms. 

Here's a breakdown of the Royals prospects to make the top 190:
  • Kyle Zimmer - 28
    • Peak - 18 (Fangraphs)
    • Low - 43 (Baseball Prospect Nation & John Sickels)
  • Bubba Starling - 56
    • Peak - 26 (Jonathan Mayo)
    • Low - 104 (John Sickels)
  • Yordano Ventura - 83
    • Peak - 59 (Jonathan Mayo)
    • Low - NR (2 Lists)
  • Adalberto Mondesi - 105
    • Peak - 53 (Baseball Prospect Nation)
    • Low - NR (7 Lists)
  • Miguel Almonte - 159
    • Peak - 100 (Baseball Prospect Nation)
    • Low - NR (10 Lists)
  • Cheslor Cuthbert - 169
    • Peak - 123 (Baseball Prospect Nation)
    • Low - NR (10 Lists)
  • Jorge Bonifacio - 172
    • Peak - 128 (Baseball Prospect Nation)
    • Low - NR (10 Lists)
Now here's a look at the rest of the division:
  • Chicago - 2 prospects 
    • Courtney Hawkins - 71
    • Carlos Sanchez - 127
  • Cleveland - 4 prospects
    • Francisco Lindor - 16
    • Trevor Bauer - 19
    • Dorssys Paulino - 90
    • Ronny Rodriguez - 157
  • Detroit - 3 prospects
    • Nick Castellanos - 25
    • Bruce Rondon - 102
    • Avisail Garcia - 116
  • Minnesota - 3 prospects
    • Miguel Sano - 15
    • Byron Buxton - 17
    • Jose Berrios - 169
Finally, in case you are curious, Wil Myers ranked 4th on the list and Jake Odorizzi ranked 68th.You can view Chris St. John's post full post here

Northwest Arkansas Naturals Preview

Projected Lineup
CF - Brett Eibner
3B - Rey Navarro
SS - Orlando Calixte
1B - Matt Fields
C - Manny Pina
RF - Yem Prades
LF - Brian Fletcher
DH - Mitch Canham
2B - Alex McClure

Noel Arguelles
Jason Adam
Sugar Ray Marimon
Yordano Ventura
J.C. Sulbaran

C - Juan Graterol, IF Whit Merrifield, OF Roman Hernandez

Yeliar Castro, Sam Runion, John Keck, Edwin Carl, Andy Ferguson, Santiago Garrido, Brooks Pounders,
Matt Ridings, Nick Rogers, Cole White

Notes on your Northwest Arkansas Naturals:
  • The lineup is definitely a buzz-kill to begin the 2013 season.  There are a couple names to keep track of, but mainly, if you want to see a good hitting lineup, don't expect anything special.  Brett Eibner returns to his native homeland of Arkansas, which should excite the people of Springdale down to Fayetteville.  Last season with the Blue Rocks, Eibner was unsuccessful in hitting above the Mendoza-Line, hitting a depressing .196, but managed to smack 15 HR and bring in 53 RBI.  Since 2007, only 10 Royals minor leaguers have hit double-digit HR in Wilmington, so Brett obviously brings some pop.  Unfortunately, he has one more season before he's Rule V Draft eligible, and if he doesn't take drastic steps in improving his hitting, he could easily get claimed in the draft.
  • Infielders Rey Navarro and Orlando Calixte will be others to watch.  Rey, 23, returns to NW Arkansas for a 3rd consecutive season.  Navarro will not hit for power, but has the ability to make decent contact, as he's hit .250 and .271 the past 2 seasons, respectively.  His stint with Omaha in 2012 was a nice surprise as he hit .300 in 60 plate appearances.  Rey is known for the glove, and since Calixte has arrived, he will have to make a move, most likely to 3B.  Orlando Calixte, 21, cracks our Top 10 prospect list as a 21 year old SS.  In 2012 for Wilmington, he posted a line of .281/.326/.426.  Like Navarro, Calixte is known for his play at SS and has tremendous range, but committed 46 errors at short last season in 556 opportunities.  Orlando is athletic enough to make a move elsewhere in the field, and if the fielding doesn't improve, a change in position could be inevitable.
  • If you want to see some good pitching, you've come to the right place.  Joining the Naturals this year are Top Prospects Jason Adam and Yordano Ventura.  Adam threw for Wilmington last season and was a solid workhorse for the team, throwing 158 innings in 27 starts, posting a 3.53 era.  In his 2 professional seasons, Adam has proven he can go deep into games and give the pen a rest and along with his 6'4" athletic frame, Jason shouldn't have too many problems for the Naturals.  
  • Ventura, 22, is #3 on our prospect list, and rightfully deserved.  Yordano had a good spring while pitching in the Royals rotation, and was mentioned as a candidate for the final spot in the rotation, before getting sent down to NW Arkansas.  Ventura will excite fans this year with his electrifying fastball that has touched 102 mph.  If all goes well, "Ace" should spend about half the season in Springdale before moving up to Omaha.  Hypothetically speaking, if the Royals were in the hunt and needed another arm in the pen, Ventura would be an acceptable move, just to get him accustomed to the big leagues.

  • Noel Arguelles, the 23 year old Cuban defector, will be another familiar face to the Naturals fans as he returns to the rotation, and was named Opening Day starter.  Arguelles had a promising 2011 season with Wilmington coming off shoulder surgery.  Last season was a different story.  Going 4-14 with a 6.41 era in 25 starts doesn't look appealing on paper.  Although he has returned to normal velocity, which was low 90's, he showed great control last year, which is a baby step.  If velocity can return in Springdale, he could get back on track.  If it doesn't, our $7 million put into him goes down the drain.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Royals 2013 Draft Bonus Pool

Thanks to Jim Callis's hard work at Baseball America, we learned today that the Royals bonus pool for the 2013 first year player draft will be $8,290,700. They will have to spread this money across their first 11 selections in the draft. The Royals will also be deducted for any money they spend over $100,000 on picks from round 11 on and will lose all of the allotted money assigned to picks that they fail to sign.

The Royals sixth in terms of budget pool and have 11 selections in the first round thanks to the addition of their competitive balance lottery pick. Three of those selections will come within the first 46 picks of the entire draft (8, 34, and 46). Only three teams will have more draft picks than the Kansas City Royals: the Miami Marlins, New York Yankees, and the Oakland Athletics.

Here is a quick breakdown of the American League Central's draft budget pools:

  • 6) Kansas City - $8,290,700
  • 7) Minnesota - $8,264,400
  • 16) Detroit - $6,467,400
  • 19) Cleveland - $6,188,800
  • 24) Chicago - $5,301,600
I wasn't a huge fan of the Collective Bargaining Agreement thanks in large part to the limits on amateur spending. I will agree though that long term something needed to be done, before large market teams realized how easily it could be for them to dominate the amateur market in the same ways they do the free agent market.

It is great that the Royals will still have one of the largest budget pools, but I would prefer the pools to be decided based on market size or payroll rather than the team's finish from the year before. The simple fact is that smaller market teams have to rely more on the draft and player development. In my mind, if the draft is about parity, these teams should be dealt a favorable hand.

A team like the Athletics or Rays shouldn't be penalized for their own success, when the draft will be their lifeline at future success. There are many counter arguments to these points, but don't forget that I'm a Royals fan. Of course I would prefer to see a realm when small market teams are at an advantage.

I do realize that in a sense small market teams are being given extra budget dollars thanks to the new competitive balance lottery. I definitely won't complain about these picks. Sure it feels dirty that the Royals get an extra pick simply for playing in Kansas City, but once again it is nice to have an advantage in at least one area. Let's hope the Royals can make the most of this year's opportunity.

For a look at the entire list of draft budgets, you can find it here

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wilmington Blue Rocks Preview

Projected Lineup
2B - Justin Trapp
SS - Jack Lopez
3B - Cheslor Cuthbert
RF - Jorge Bonifacio
CF - Lane Adams
1B - Murray Watts
DH - Daniel Mateo
LF - Tim Ferguson
C - Parker Morin

Kyle Zimmer
Sam Selman
Kyle Smith
John Lamb
Angel Baez

C Kenny Swab, IF Kenneth Diekroger, IF Nick DelGuidice, OF Geulin Beltre, OF Chris Elder

Antonio Cruz, Robinson Yambati, Aaron Brooks, Malcom Culver, Cody Fassold, Kellen Moen, 
Spencer Patton, Andrew Tiggs

Notes on the 2013 Blue Rocks:
  •  The middle of the lineup will be one of the more popular topics regarding Wilmington to start this season off.  Cuthbert is looking for a bounce back year, after hitting .240/.296/.322 with an ISO of .082.  Cheslor's GB% was 46.7 while his BB% was 7.2.  Although his K% was well below the Carolina League average, if he can work on a line-drive swing and being a little more patient at the plate, Cuthbert we'll get back on track in no time.
  • Jorge Bonifacio, the 19 year old "not so athletic younger brother of Emilio" and #5 on our 2013 Prospect List, held his own for sure at the plate in Kane County last season, hitting .282 with 10 HR and 61 RBI, not as pretty as Twins top prospect Miguel Sano (28 HR 100 RBI), but still very promising for the time being and his age.  The C.L. is known for being a "pitcher's league" so hopefully Bonifacio can keep up the pace from his Kane County days.
  • Jason Adam, 23, has sort of slipped off our radar, but still remains a prospect for now.  Last season, starting off with Kane County, was a solid bounce back from an ugly 2011 season.  Once joining the Blue Rocks, his batting average fell nearly 60 points compared to his K.C. appearances.  If Jason wants to remain in the organization, he'll need to get it going in Wilmington before it's too late.
  • Murray Watts, 27, is definitely on the scolding hot seat at this point.  Last year he compiled a line of .221/.299/.394 in 30 games for the Blue Rocks, hitting only 4 HR with an ISO of .173.  The problem with Murray is he doesn't make contact well at all and doesn't have good patience at the plate, striking out 35.9% of the time while walking only 10.3% of his ABs.  This will most likely be the final year for Murray in the Royals organization if he doesn't show signs of improvement.
  • The rotation will definitely be the highlight of Wilmington to kick off the season this Thursday, April 4th.  With four of our own Top 15 prospects in the rotation alone, Royals fans will want to keep tabs on the Blue Rocks for a while.  Kyle Zimmer headlines the staff, as he comes off an exciting rookie season in Kane County.  A workhorse who will give you lots of innings, like former Blue Rock Jason Adam, should split time between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas, if all goes to plan.  Sam Selman and Kyle Smith join Zimmer in their quest, alongside rehabbing John Lamb, who is back to full health, but needs some time to regain some of his velocity.  
  • Another guy to look after his reliever Robinson Yambati.  At 22, he has a three quarter arm delivery, a low 90's fastball, and an incredible GB% of 65.6, thanks to his ability to keep the ball low in the strike zone.  If he continues his success from 2012, he'll be in Northwest Arkansas before too long, and possibly even Omaha before season's end.