Updated Royals Prospect Rankings: 15-11

This is the fourth installment of our updated Royals prospect rankings. This post will cover #15 to #11.

15. SS Nicky Lopez

DOB: 03/13/1995

B/T: L/R

Current Level: AA

ETA: 2019

Drafted in the 4th round of last year’s draft out of Creighton, Nicky Lopez had made a good impression early on in his professional career, hitting .291/.387/.413 so far. Lopez isn’t going to come to the plate with a lot of power due to his small frame (two home runs this year), but he easily makes up for it with a terrific approach.

Getting on-base has always been a skill for Lopez. At Creighton, he had an OBP of .387. This year at Wilmington, before his promotion, he had the fifth best OBP in the Carolina League. Another thing to love about him is his 4.3% SwStr rate, second best mark in the Carolina League.

Lopez has had trouble making solid contact in AA (GB% of 72.2, IFFB% of 40.0), suggesting his .318 batting average is a bit BABIP fueled. But what is encouraging is he still has shown the same plate discipline he did in Wilmington, walking as many times he has struck out. 

There is a lot to love about Lopez’s glove too. Good speed, good instincts, good arm. 


*Visual courtesy of Fangraphs

I think Lopez is one of the those high-floor prospects, as a he looks like he could profile as a great utility infielder. I still love the bat and glove a lot enough to make me think he could make a great lead off hitter for the Royals. 

14. RHP Kyle Zimmer

DOB: 09/13/1991

B/T: R/R

Current Level: AAA

ETA: 2017

You know it, I know it, everybody knows the story on Kyle Zimmer. Injury. That story may have finally caught him too. After another injury early in the season, Zimmer was moved to the bullpen. This seemed like it could finally be the path that would lead Zimmer to the majors, being a dominant reliever. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case so far. Only two of his eight relief outings have been scoreless. Some of this due to an unlucky BABIP and a LOB% that is below his career average.

Zimmer has a fastball that sits in the low-90s, adding in a curveball and changeup.

He’ll need to get a feel for his off-speed pitches again and gain back some of his control (4.8 BB/9 this year) to pitch in the big league bullpen this year.

13. OF Donnie Dewees

DOB: 09/29/1993

B/T: L/L

Current Level: AA

ETA: 2019

Acquired last offseason in a minor trade that sent Alec Mills to the Chicago Cubs. Dewees struggled early on in the Royals organization, posting a .643 OPS in April and a .630 OPS in May. He went on to hit for a .994 OPS, which made his numbers much more respectable.

The top visual is Dewees in April and May. The bottom one is Dewees in June and July. It looks as if Dewees has been hitting less pulled ground balls, likely leading to his increase production.

Dewees plays a nice center with a weak arm and good speed. Could end up in the corners.

12. 1B/OF Ryan O’Hearn

DOB: 07/26/1993

B/T: L/L

Current Level: AAA

ETA: 2017

One of the best power hitters in the organization, that wasn’t always the case for the slugger out of Sam Houston State. Slugging only .405 in college, the Royals though he had power potential in his bat, taking him in the 8th round of the 2014 draft. And he hasn’t disappointed. He has torn his way through every level, hitting .282/.358/.492.

Now in AAA, his offensive game has sputtered a bit. But there still are encouraging signs. He has shown more power in AAA, while striking out less. 

He gets his power from an extreme flyball approach. His power also goes to all fields, shown my his home run spray chart.

He’s a pretty average at first base. He isn’t the quickest player, but has a good enough arm to play in the corner outfield.

11. LHP Eric Skoglund

DOB: 10/26/1992

B/T: L/L

Current Level: AAA

ETA: 2017

Eric Skoglund is a prospect on more bullish on than others. He isn’t a player that will impress at all, but I feel like he is a solid bet to be a reliable back-of-the-rotation starter. 

Skoglund doesn’t blow you away with his stuff. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but adds on a couple of MPH with perceived velocity, due to his tall frame. He also mixes in a decent moving slider and changeup, but nothing impressive.

Like I said above, I think Skoglund has a high-floor. This relates to his solid control (2.6 BB/9 in AAA this year) and ability to work down in the zone.

Worth noting his SwStr% has increased from 8.7% in AA last year to 9.5% in AAA this year.

Photo Credits: John Owen

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