2017 Royals Prospect Rankings: 40-31

Method:

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.

40. Charlie Neuweiler, RHP

DOB: February 8, 1999

B/T: R/R

Levels Played, 2017: Rookie (AZL)

Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft, 5th Round

ETA: 2023

2017 Stats: 1.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 34 K, 12 BB, 41 IP, 5 starts, 12 appearances

A benefactor of the “halo effect” this year, scouts caught on to Charlie Neuweiler in New York prep games, going to watch draft prospect Quentin Holmes. What they saw from Neuweiler was a low-90s fastball that had room to improve and a great curveball.

It was tough to pin a projection on Neuweiler coming out of the draft, but his early results in the AZL looked fine, posting a 1.76 ERA in 41 innings as both a starter and a reliever. He limited hard contact and worked the ball down consistently. We should get more of a feel for Neuweiler as a prospect next year.

39. Humberto Arteaga, SS

DOB: January 23, 1994

B/T: R/R

Levels Played, 2017: AA (Northwest Arkansas)

Acquired: Free Agent, Venezuela

ETA: 2019

2017 Stats: .258/.300/.305/.605, 1 HR, 35 RBI, 4 SB, 453 AB

A big money shortstop signing out of Venezuela, Humberto Arteaga has shown no promise offensively, hitting for a career line of .243/.280/.308. The power is non-existent (12 home runs in seven minor league seasons), he is primarily a ground ball hitter, and he reaches base at a less than ideal rate.

Pretty simply, all of Arteaga’s value lies in his glove. He showed off his defensive prowess in Spring Training this past year, impressing many with his elite range. Arteaga might be the best defender in the Royals entire minor league system, and if he’s ever going to make the big leagues, it will be the glove that takes him there.

38. Eric Stout, LHP

DOB: March 27, 1993

B/T: L/L

Levels Played, 2017: AAA (Omaha)

Acquired: 13th Round of the 2014 MLB Draft

ETA: 2018

2017 Stats: 2.99 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 56 K, 29 BB, .193 BAA LHH, 69.1 IP

Another recent 40-man roster addition, Eric Stout was well deserving of his spot on the roster, consistently pitching well as a reliever throughout his minor league career. Stout really impressed in the Storm Chasers bullpen this year (2.99 ERA, 4.24 FIP), with most of the success coming against lefties, holding them to an opposing slashline of .193/.264/.301.

Stout is a lanky lefty that throws at a 3/4 arm slot with a nice and easy delivery. His fastball sits around 92-93 MPH. I love his slider. It features great vertical movement that induces a lot of weak contact, sitting around 82-83 MPH. He also features a hard changeup.

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He needs to improve his control on his offspeed stuff. But with three plus offerings, he has the looks of a major league reliever.

37. Anderson Miller, OF

DOB: May 6, 1994

B/T: L/L

Levels Played, 2017: A+ (Wilmington), AA (Northwest Arkansas)

Acquired: 2015 MLB Draft, 3rd Round

ETA: 2019

2017 Stats (combined): .263/.330/.376./.705, 9 HR, 56 RBI, 18 SB, 19 2B, 482 AB

After a good career at Western Kentucky, the Royals selected Anderson Miller in the 3rd round of thee 2015 draft. I’ve been a fan of his approach (high OBP, hits the ball to all fields) from the left side of the plate and have pinned as a reserve outfielder. The power hasn’t quite developed as much as I hoped, but he still looks serviceable with good defense at every outfield position along with above-average baserunning.

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Spray Chart Courtesy of MLBfarm.com

There are very little moving parts in his swing, showing minimal step and hip rotation, using the strength in his arms to generate his power.

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He looked amazing at Wilmington this year, hitting .290/.378/.439 in 70 games. He didn’t fare nearly as well after his promotion to AA, hitting .230/.263/.296 in 58 games. He looked completely overmatched at the plate, seeing his BB/K ratio fall from 0.60 to 0.16 across the two levels. 2018 will be a big year for Miller at AA.

36. Bubba Starling, OF

DOB: August 3, 1992

B/T: R/R

Levels Played, 2017: AAA (Omaha)

Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft, 1st Round

ETA: 2018

2017 Stats: .248/.303/.381/.685, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 14 2B, 278 AB

Most people just groan nowadays at the mention of Bubba Starling. Bubba, who most Royals fans are now familiar with, was drafted 5th overall back in 2011 out of local high school Gardner-Edgerton in KS. Bubba was drafted ahead of the likes of Anthony Rendon, Archie Bradley, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, George Springer, Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray . . . I’ll stop there. That’s an incredibly painful list for a guy that Royals fans had hoped to be their next All-Star center fielder.

Many Royals fans have now long given up on Bubba Starling. They’ve watched Francisco Lindor lead his team to a World Series appearance. They watched George Springer win the World Series MVP this past season. They’ve yet to watch Bubba Starling take a single MLB at bat. The disappointment of Royals fans is real and well warranted.

It may also be relieved some in the coming year. Bubba Starling has been a disappointment, to be sure, but he hasn’t been without his bright spots either. In 2015 he posted an OPS of .785 across High-A and AA and hit 12 HR. The biggest problem was 2016 when Starling hit a combined .183 in 399 AB across High-A and AA. Most fans completely gave up on Starling and deemed him to be the biggest bust ever.

But hope is not lost. After another abysmal start to the 2017 campaign, Starling began to hit, and hit well. After hitting .129 in April, Starling hit .289 in May. And then he hit .291 in June. He was hitting .290 in July and was seemingly finally going to make his MLB debut at some point before he hit the DL with an oblique injury. Although he was able to return for a brief stint, he was ultimately sidelined once again for the same oblique injury in late August and never did get his September call-up.

As disappointed as I was that we didn’t get to see Bubba in 2017, his season gave reason for hope. Bubba finally started to hit the ball again. The great thing about him too is that, he doesn’t need to hit .300 to be a productive MLB center fielder. Bubba is so good defensively that all he he’d need to do is be an AVERAGE hitter and his defense will actually give him some decent value in the big leagues.

Some of you may consider that to be wishful thinking, and it may be, but Bubba Starling is still only 25 years old. Whit Merrifield didn’t make his MLB debut until the age of 27 and he was arguably one of the Royals top 5 most valuable players in 2017. If Bubba can ever figure out how to keep making consistent contact at the plate, he’s got a chance to be a capable outfielder in the MLB while the Royals go through a rebuild over the next few seasons.

35. Brewer Hicklen, OF

DOB: February 9, 1996

B/T: R/R

Levels Played, 2017: Rookie (AZL), Rookie (Idaho Falls)

Acquired: 7th Round of the 2017 MLB Draft

ETA: 2021

2017 Stats (combined): .321/.409/.532/.941, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 11 2B, 156 AB

Hands down my favorite pick of the 2017 draft, Brewer Hicklen owns everything the Royals look for in an outfielder. His athletic abilities probably compare to no other player in this organization (maybe Starling). A two-sport athlete at UAB (played wide receiver on the football team), Hicklen possesses very raw skills all over the diamond. Those skills have turned into some fine results thus far too. Hicklen crushed the ball at a high level of competition his sophomore year, hitting .328/.422/.586.

The success has transitioned over to pro ball so far. Across two levels this year, Hicklen hit .321/.409/.532, adding in five home runs and 16 stolen bases. I guess the concern in his game would be the swing-and-miss, as he struck out in about a fourth of his plate appearances.

34. Andres Machado, RHP

DOB:

B/T:

Levels Played, 2017:

Acquired: A+ (Wilmington), AA (Northwest Arkansas), AAA (Omaha), MLB (Kansas City)

ETA: 2018

2017 Stats:

When Andres Machado got the unexpected call to Kansas City this September, many Royals fans didn’t recognize the name. The two games he appeared in were underwhelming, to say the least. But those appearances didn’t tarnish my few for Machado as a prospect.

I’ve never really thought of Machado as a big league starter, though he has spent most of his short minor league career. The lack of consistency and durability he has shown could suggest a move to the bullpen soon. As a reliever, he would become very intriguing. There he could show off a fastball that runs in the mid-to-upper 90s and pair it with his nasty slider. The changeup needs some refining, but it has potential.

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Video Credits: Jen Nevius

I’d like to see the Royals work Machado out of the bullpen for the majority of next year. His strikeout stuff (14.2% SwStr%) could play quite well in that role.

33. Zach Lovvorn, RHP

DOB: May 26,

B/T: R/R

Levels Played, 2017: AA (Northwest Arkansas)

Acquired: 2012 MLB Draft, 6th Round

ETA: 2018

2017 Stats:

An arm the Royals decided against protecting from the Rule 5 Draft. Lovvorn works a fastball in the low-90s, a sharp curveball in the low-80s, and a high-movement slider  that needs improvement.

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GIF Courtesy of BaseballCensus

He repeats his delivery well and limits the walks (2.6 per nine this year in AA) well enough to where he still might have a future as a starter. He’s has nothing flashy, but he gets the job done.

32. Yunior Marte, RHP

DOB: February 2, 1995

B/T: R/R

Levels Played, 2017: A+ (Wilmington), AA (Northwest Arkansas)

Acquired: International Free Agent

ETA: 2019

2017 Stats (combined): 3.98 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 80 K, 47 BB, 72.1 IP

It looks as if Yunior Marte has finally been moved to the bullpen full-time. The early results in Wilmington were fantastic. Those 36.1 innings were the best I have ever seen from Marte. Added fastball velocity as a reliever and working low in the zone led to an excess of ground balls and strikeouts. This led to a quick promotion to AA.

In Northwest Arkansas, Marte showed why I still have concerns with him. His fastball looked straight at very hittable at times and other times who couldn’t command any of his pitches (6.8 BB/9 in AA).

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Texas League BB/9 leaders, minimum 30 IP

Marte might have a wide array of outcomes as a prospect. If he can command his offspeed stuff and mix it well with his mi-90s hitter, you have yourself a major league one inning reliever. If he doesn’t, his walk issues and hittable fastball might be won’t last long at the highest level. Overall, he’d be the player I am most concerned about losing in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

31. Cam Gallagher, C

DOB: December 6, 1992

B/T: R/R

Levels Played, 2017: AAA (Omaha), MLB (Kansas City)

Acquired: 2012 MLB Draft, 2nd Round

ETA: 2018

2017 Stats (AAA only): .292/.336/.400/.736, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 13 2B, 260 AB

I can say confidently Cam Gallagher is a big league catcher. With most of his skills come on the defensive side, he’s at least got a high floor as a backup catcher. He receives the ball well behind the plate and he can gun down runners with a good-looking arm, throwing out 35% of base-stealers in Omaha this year.

This wasn’t the original profile with Gallagher though. Drafted out of Pennsylvania in the second round, many were excited about Gallagher’s bat. His development offensively has stalled though, hitting .244/.318/.349 in seven minor league seasons.

I still saw some improvements with the bat though. He took more of a contact approach this year and saw his quality of contact improve. We saw him briefly in Kansas City at the end of the season and we could be seeing more of him soon. Look for him to be a backup catcher in the big leagues soon.

Photo Credits: Andy Shupe—NWA Democrat-Gazette

9 thoughts on “2017 Royals Prospect Rankings: 40-31

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