The Royals have identified an area of weakness and have started working to fix that. If you look at the Royals top prospects, the first five names you see are Nick Pratto, Khalil Lee, Seulys Matias, Hunter Dozier, and MJ Melendez. And then you’ll find a pitcher. And then two more position players. We are missing pitching in our upper levels. Part of this is because promotion and trades. Part of it is Ashe Russell and Nolan Watson not quite working out as planned. But I’m optimistic that our pitching prospect lists will get better going forward.
Dayton has realized our deficiency, and has brought in high level talent to fix this. The Royals have worked very hard this off season to fix this. The Royals have brought in at least seven pitchers and 5 have been added to the 40 man roster. Five of those guys are now in our top 32.
|21||RHP||Yefri del Rosario|
Mike Broadway is major league ready and has been added to the 40 man but is 30 years old. That is why he isn’t ranked although we should put him on that list somewhere as he is definitely a top 100 player in our system. Trevor Oaks is probably major league ready as well as a starter but will probably spend some time in Omaha. Burch Smith and Brad Keller are fighting for a 25 man spot in the bullpen as Rule 5 picks. Scott Barlow looks very good and has double digit K potential every time he takes the mound as a starter. Daniel Duarte has had success at the higher levels and will find his way into our upper levels as well.
Of this list, only Yefri del Rosario will be below AA. By adding so many guys above where our current prospects are in their climb to the majors is going to allow several to spend a little more time developing at their current level and force them to earn a promotion. This may go against some of our thoughts and feelings on where guys should be, but it forces the players to earn the promotion and to put more work in to get there. It also allows them the time they need to continue developing. The competition these signings creates is going to be huge for the development of our young pitchers.
By spending the time and resources to rebuild the upper minors pitching, the Royals also can better prepare how they want to group several guys. The Royals did that with the previous group and it paid dividends. I reported David Glass talked about that last week as well so this is an organizational belief. JJ Picollo also talked about guy who have healthy competitions against each other as they move forward. This is both motivating and rewarding for our players.
It looks as if the Royals are going to group Blewett, Griffin, Castillo, and Staumont together at NWA. Or at least keep them close. Right behind them is Jace Vines who could become part of that group as well or could lead the group with Watson, Garabito, and Davila at Wilmington. Then possibly Steele, Tillo, and Hernandez together at Lexington. Neuweiler, Willis, Lara, and del Rosario could form another or they could supplement the Lexington group. Of course if number 18 is an advanced NCAA pitcher he could fit right into the Vines group at Wilmington or possibly the Lexington group. Now, saying these guys are grouped doesn’t mean they won’t be promoted individually. I believe the Royals are hoping they can move these guys in waves and take their time with development.
But the key here, is that the Royals are adding pitching depth to our organization. They identified this as an area of weakness and are taking the necessary steps to improve this. As we work toward our next window of competition in 2020, watch to see how these guys move forward and see if they stay together.