The is the sixth and final installment of our updated Royals prospect rankings. This will cover #5 to #1.
5. 3B/OF Hunter Dozier
Current Level: AAA
For the most part it’s been a lost season for one of the Royals top prospects, Hunter Dozier. He’s struggled with both an oblique and wrist injury, receiving only 40 plate appearances between A+ and AAA this year.
After a share of ups and downs in his first few seasons of professional baseball, Hunter Dozier returned to the prospect scene, hitting .296/.366/.533 between AA and AAA last year. This came after after a 2016 season, in which he struggled mightily. Dozier went to go put in the work though and made some very positive corrections to his swing. He went away from some bad habits at the plate, decreasing his K% from 28.9% to 22.6%.
Dozier has a nice compact swing that allows him to have power to all fields.
On defense, Dozier is a very athletic player. He has a good enough arm to play in the corner outfield. He has enough speed to be a situational base runner. If all goes well for Dozier, he could be something like a .260 hitter in the majors with 20 home run power.
4. C Chase Vallot
Current Level: A+
Chase Vallot may have more power than any player in the Royals organization. I always like to use this piece of info that Shaun Newkirk at Royals Review pointed out.
“Here is the list of players since 2006 with a walk rate >= 11%, an ISO >=.200 and is a teenager in full season ball: ”
Nothing new for Vallot this year, as there is a lot of power and a lot of strikeouts. How he accesses his power is pretty simple. He hits the ball in the air A LOT (FB% of 57.1%) and with his strength, it equates into a lot of balls over the fence.
Like I said, Vallot does have serious issues with the making contact. His 35.8 K% ranks 1st in the Carolina League. But he does have a patient approach, as his 17.3 BB% ranks 3rd in the Carolina League.
Vallot struggles behind the plate, with below-average receiving skills and a below-average arm. Could end up at first.
3. RHP Miguel Almonte
Current Level: AAA
Almonte might have the best pitch in the organization. His changeup is dirty. He also features a nice mid-90s fastball, complimented by a curveball.
He showed tremendous improvements on his command to start the year in AA as a starter, which has carried over into AAA as reliever. If he can keep up the improvements on his command, he could turn into a nice reliever.
2. OF Khalil Lee
Current Level: A
Could be the highest ceiling hitter in the organization. So far in his career, he has flashes all five tools. After being selected in the 3rd round as a two-way player last year, Lee posted some great numbers in the AZL last year. This led the Royals to be very aggressive with him, quickly putting him in full-season ball. He’s seem to handle the transition fairly well, ranking in the top 15 in wRC+ among Sally League hitters. Also worth noting among those 15 hitters, Lee is the youngest by six months.
The most concerning thing about Lee is his hit tool. His K% of 33.1 is second highest in the Sally League. This happens because of Lee’s uppercutting swing, which creates a ton of power (6th best ISO in South Atlantic), but is prone to a bunch of swing and miss.
In the field, he’ll probably end up in right. He has limited range, but flashes probably the best arm in the organization.
1. 1B Nick Pratto
Current Level: Rookie
Nick Pratto wouldn’t of been my first choice at pick #14, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of Pratto’s profile. Heading into the draft, I thought Pratto was the best high school hitter available. He has a wonderful hit tool that is based off of a very consistent swing combined with nice plate discipline. Questions about his power exist. Though, there is a lot of room for improvement on 6’0″, 200 lbs frame. He could be a player that has his power arrive with time.
Pratto isn’t the fastest player, but he gets the job done at first. He flashes a plus-plus arm for a first baseman (two-way player in HS). He has the skill set to possibly become an above-average first baseman.
Photo Credits: Ed Zurga