This is the third installment of our updated Royals prospect rankings. This post will cover #20 to #16.
20. 2B/SS Corey Toups
Current Level: AA
One of the more professional hitters in all of the Royals system, Toups seems to be a player that could have a smooth transition to the major. A bit heavy on the strikeouts (25.8 K% in career), comes with some good on-base skills (.372 career OBP).
He has a knack of making solid bat-to-ball contact due to his elite bat speed. Most of his power comes from the gaps (35 doubles last year), but his does the ability to hit some out. The power he generates from his 5-10, 170 lb frame is impressive.
You could consider Toups a utility player. Is his minor league career, he has appeared in games at 2B, SS, 3B, and LF. His main position is probably 2B though, with a lack of great range.
19. 1B Chris DeVito
Current Level: A+
One of the more better power hitters in all of the organization, all Chris DeVito has done in pro ball is hit. Promoted to Wilmington after producing an absurd .355 ISO in Lexington, he has held his own in High-A with a 117 wRC+.
Most of his power comes from his strength. He has a very simple swing, showing almost no leg kick. I’m concerned about how he’ll fare against advanced pitching, posting a higher K% and lower BB% in full-season ball. I’d be nice for him get back to more along of the likes of hi 0.69 K/BB ratio, rather than his 0.16 this season.
18. OF Michael Gigliotti
Current Level: Rookie
Maybe my favorite player from this year’s Royals draft class. I think the Royals got Michael Gigliotti as a steal in the 4th round.
All of Gigliotti’s value circles around his defense, speed, and handling of the bat. Jumping onto the scene in the Cape Cod League, he turned some heads when hit .310/.404/.426. A nice line drive approach at the plate, but along with a knack for bunting, profiles Gigliotti as a guy that could hit for a nice average.
He should be able to stick in center, as he has shown great work there. The one concern is his arm, as it shows below average.
17. RHP AJ Puckett
Current Level: A+
Another high-floor guy, AJ Puckett looks like a 3-4 type starter. Fastball, curveball, changeup, Puckett is able to pitch very effectively in the zone, generating a high amount of ground balls and IFFBs. This also comes with plus-command (2.3 BB/9 last year).
His changeup is probably his best offering. Sits around 82-85. His curveball has been said to be flat, showing itself as a below average offering.
With an ability to generate weak contact (Career HR/9 of 0.6), above-average command, and a good fastball/changeup combo, Puckett should have a quick rise to the major leagues.
16. C Meibrys Viloria
Current Level: A
Signed out of Colombia for $460,000 as a shortstop, Meibrys Viloria has made some serious strides as a player.
In 2015, Viloria collected 39 hits. All 39 were singles. It had looked as if there wasn’t a lot of hope for power. He then made some changes in his approach, such as hitting more flyballs and pulling the ball more. This unlocked some of his power, as his ISO rose from .000 (which is hard to do, by the way) to a way more respectable .260 mark. His whole offensive game had now come together, dominating his way to Pioneer League MVP last year with a line of .376/.436/.606.
He’s had some trouble adjusting to full-season ball in Lexington (95 wRC+), but he’s still only 20 years old.
As I said above, Viloria has made some serious strides as a player, that includes moving from shortstop to catcher. He could become a nice player behind the plate with some repetition. Already has a nice arm.
Photo Credits: David Beach