"Pitcher: Kyle Zimmer, Royals 22 - Zimmer could easily become the best of the lot with the movement on his pitches. If he throws strikes consistently, his ceiling is top-of-the-rotation, All-Star quality starter."
"Pitcher: Yordano Ventura, Royals, 22 - Ventura has one of the power arms that just won't quit. If he can find the plate with consistency, he can win plenty of games. I'd like to see Ventura bring the 97 mph down a bit to get more movement."Even when the Royals boasted the best farm systems in the history of farm systems, there wasn't a pair of pitching prospects that matched the talent and proximity to the Majors of Ventura and Zimmer. As far as their impacts on the 2014 team, Zimmer will probably return to Northwest Arkansas with Ventura returning to Omaha. With the signing of Bruce Chen, if things go well I expect Ventura to replace Chen in the rotation in mid-May/early June.
Of course, I shouldn't totally discount Dayton Moore's comments in today's presser when he revealed that with a strong spring he wouldn't be against Ventura opening the season in the bullpen. Let me state this as clearly as possible. Ventura should not begin the season in the bullpen.
The Royals have plenty of bullpen arms. The reason Ventura offers the team so much value is because of his potential as a front end starter. A move to the pen and he just is another arm in the back of the bullpen (albeit a potentially dominant one). If Ventura doesn't earn a rotation spot, he should be sent back to Omaha to continue to log innings as a starter. Thus far, Ventura has only received 164 innings in the high minors, a little more seasoning wouldn't be the worst thing for the Dominican.
Kansas City has two dynamite starting pitching prospects in the upper minors. They have two more that will likely open the season in Wilmington (Miguel Almonte and Sean Manaea). Hopefully, for the Royals this crop of pitchers fares better than the artist formerly known as the "Four Lefties of the Apocalypse."
Follow me on Twitter @Landon_Adams