This is the second piece of the second edition of Royals Farm Report’s Prospect Rankings; as we came out with our first top 30 list in July. We’ve expanded our horizons on these rankings, deciding to come out with a top 100 list. This post will cover 90-81 in our rankings. Enjoy!
Our method for determining our top 100 Royals prospects came from an aggregate of three separate top 100 lists. These lists were compiled by three members of our writing staff: Patrick Brennan, Alex Duvall, and Drew Osborne.
View 100-91 here.
90. Jared Ruxer, RHP
DOB: July 29, 1992
Levels Played, 2017: High-A, Double-A
Acquired: Trade for Brooks Pounders last offseason
2017 Stats (High-A only): 3.45 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 115.2 IP, 6.89 K/9, 2.38 BB/9, 44% GB%
Ruxer is an interesting prospect. The Royals obviously liked him enough to trade a guy in Brooks Pounders who had already reached the major leagues, while Ruxer was a 24-year old in A-ball. Now 25 years old, Ruxer will need to begin moving through the ranks semi-quickly in order to reach the big leagues. He does show flashes of good potential:
89. Delvin Capellan, RHP
DOB: December 6, 1998
Levels Played, 2017: DSL
Acquired: International Signing
2017 Stats: 0.48 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 56 IP, 7.71 K/9, 0.48 BB/9, 50% GB%
Delvin Capellan’s stats speak for themselves. The kid had probably the best season of any Royals minor leaguer (I know next to nothing about the DSL but a 0.48 ERA and BB/9 would be impressive for even a 10-year old) and isn’t even 19 yet. Having expectations for an 18-year old after one professional season simply isn’t fair, but it will be fun to track Capellan next season. I’d guess that he plays in rookie ball with Burlington.
88. Jonathan Dziedzic, LHP
DOB: February 4, 1991
Levels Played, 2017: AAA
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft
2017 Stats: 4.73 ERA, 5.32 FIP, 45.2 IP, 7.49 K/9, 2.96 BB/9, 37.4% GB%
Dziedzic is a guy I expected to appear in the Royals bullpen in 2017, but injuries cost him most of the season. We’ll see what 2018 brings, but he may be stuck behind more talented left-handed relievers like Brian Flynn, Ryan Buchter, Scott Alexander, Eric Stout, and Sam Selman.
87. Kevin Lenik, RHP
DOB: August 1, 1991
Levels Played, 2017: Rookie, Low-A, AAA
Acquired: Free Agent Signing
2017 Stats (AAA only): 1.88 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 24 IP, 9 K/9, 3 BB/9
Kevin Lenik may be next in line as a Royals bullpen reclamation project. Signed out of indy ball in Chicago, Lenik dominated hitters in the minor leagues in 2018. You can never have enough bullpen depth, and Lenik may very well sneak his way into the big leagues in 2018 should KC trade the likes of Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Maurer, etc. Here’s an article that Jeffrey Flanagan wrote about Lenik recently.
86. Nolan Watson, RHP
DOB: January 25, 1997
Levels Played, 2017: Rookie, Low-A
Acquired: 2015 MLB Draft (Round 1)
2017 Stats (Low-A only): 6.78 ERA, 5.41 FIP, 69 IP, 5.35 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, 43.1% GB%
Nolan Watson’s career up to this point has been nothing short of disappointing. He’s got a career 7.32 ERA over 3 seasons and 210 IP. He’s walked entirely too many hitters and hasn’t struck out near enough. A high school kid taken in the first round, he’s still got some time to come around though. I sort of anticipate the Royals to try him out at High-A to begin 2018, and if he can miraculously start pitching well he may end the season as a 21-year old at AA. That’s best case scenario, though, and I wouldn’t hold my breath. He also may never make it out of A-ball.
85. Jake Kalish, LHP
DOB: July 9, 1991
Levels Played, 2017: High-A, AA, AAA
Acquired: 2015 MLB Draft
2017 Stats (AA only): 3.77 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 71.2 IP, 6.15 K/9, 2.13 BB/9, 45.5% GB%
If Jake Kalish never pitches again, he will go down as the guy who beat Clayton Kershaw in a AAA game. If I were him I would’ve hung it up right then and there.
Kalish actually has really good numbers throughout his MiLB career. He owns a career 2.94 ERA and provides some really quality organizational depth for KC. I think he’ll pitch the 2018 season at AAA Omaha, but I’m kind of curious as to whether or not he’ll be added to the 40-man roster. If he is, he could potentially make a spot start for KC in 2018. The Royals don’t have a ton of room on the 40, though, and Kalish could be a Rule 5 guy for a team like San Diego given his age and MiLB success if he isn’t protected this winter.
84. Travis Eckert, RHP
DOB: December 28, 1993
Levels Played, 2017: Low-A
Acquired: 2016 MLB Draft
2017 Stats: 5.65 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 124.1 IP, 6.15 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, 47.2% GB%
Another older college guy in the Royals system. I’m not sure what kind of future Eckert has but every franchise needs guys to start games so the prospects can play ball. Eckert certainly has time to pitch himself into prospect status, but he’s running out of it, as he pitched the 2017 season as a 23-year old in Low-A.
83. Julio Gonzalez, SS
DOB: June 14, 1995
Levels Played, 2017: Rookie
Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
2017 Stats: .289/.395/.371/.765 w/ 10 2B and 13 SB
A rather intriguing college prospect, Julio Gonzalez could have some Whit Merrifield type value in his future. His impressive ability to get on base combined with some speed and the ability to play the middle infield at an advanced level may pave his way through the system. He’ll definitely be a guy that I follow in 2018.
82. Andrew Edwards, RHP
DOB: October 7, 1991
Levels Played, 2017: High-A, AA, AAA
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft
2017 Stats (AA only): 6.06 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 35.2 IP, 9.08 K/9, 3.53 BB/9, 44.6% GB%
Edwards is a guy I had my eye on for 2017, and he looked pretty good after injuries cost him most of the season. Strictly a reliever, Edwards is a guy that I can actually see finding his way to KC in 2018. There will be a bit of a logjam in front of him though, and he may be forced to wait a year to make his MLB debut as long as he stays healthy.
81. Brandon Downes, OF
DOB: September 29, 1992
Levels Played, 2017: High-A
Acquired: 2014 MLB Draft
2017 Stats: .245/.334/.471/.806 w/ 13 HR and 12 2B
Downes is another interesting hitting prospect in KC’s system. Drafted in the 7th round out of Virginia back in 2014, Downes performed fairly well in 2017. I expect he’ll start out the year in AA Northwest Arkansas where he’ll have every opportunity to keep advancing. Downes posted a career best 10% walk rate in 2017, and could benefit from walking even more and hitting for a little more power.