Minor League Minutes: 3/13/18

Max Rieper of Royals Review ponders the question of the 2018 Royals being better than the 2017 Royals.

With the suspension of right-fielder Jorge Bonifacio, the Royals will return five starters from last year – Escobar at shortstop, Gordon in left, catcher Salvador Perez, second baseman Whit Merrifield, and third baseman Mike Moustakas. Escobar and Gordon are both been bad for enough time that there should be little hope that they can be much better at their age. Salvy has very much established what he is – a low on-base hitter who can smash 20-25 home runs a year, provided he stay healthy.

Jorge Bonifacio got popped for 80 games due PEDs being found in his system.

The former top-100 prospect was expected to start most days. Instead the Royals will presumably turn to Jon Jay and Paulo Orlando. The Royals also have Bubba Starlingon the 40-man roster, as well Michael Saunders and Tyler Collins in camp — Saunders would seem to be the most likely of the three to land on Kansas City’s bench, given the bounce-back potential in his left-handed stick.

Kevin Lenik once signed autographs right after being hit in the face by a baseball.

I felt my face to see if I was bleeding,” Lenik said, “and I thought, ‘No, I’m not bleeding. Oh, there’s a runner on second, I’ve got to go back up home.’”

Over at Kings of Kauffman, Jordan Foote dives into the updated outlook for the Kansas City Royals in 2018.

If everything falls into place this season, (literally everything), the Royals could win 85 games. I just cannot see this team competing for first place in the AL Central despite the recent moves made. If Danny Duffy pitches like an Ace, Jakob Junis grows up a ton, Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel bounce back from disappointing 2017 seasons AND Nate Karns can stay healthy, the rotation could be decent. That’s quite a few IFs and not nearly enough certainties.

With Mike Moustakas back at third base, where does Cheslor Cuthbert find his playing time?

Cuthbert should see enough pitching as one part of a revolving designated hitter’s spot in the lineup. Jorge Bonifacio, Jorge Soler and even newly-signed outfielder Jon Jay are also expected to spend time as designated hitters this season.

Heading over to KC Baseball Prospectus, Darin Watson continues his rankings of the top 50 greatest moments in Royals history.

The Yankees inked Neil Walker to add depth to their infield.

Not only does the addition of Walker at just $5 million permit New York to remain below the luxury-tax threshold but also allows the club to address one of the few question marks in their lineup — in this case, with a player projected to record a 111 wRC+ and 2.6 WAR over 595 plate appearances this year.

Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs looks at the draft stock of high school prospect Matthew Liberatore.

Baseball America ranks the top five second baseman in college baseball.

3. Nick Dunn, Maryland: Dunn stands out most for his pure hitting ability and has built a strong track record in college, both at Maryland and in the Cape Cod League. He’s hit five home runs already this season, equaling his 2017 total in just 11 games.

Wayne Cavadi of Minor League Ball wonders where Billy McKinney fits in with the Yankees.

His bat has been erratic throughout his career but seems to be able to play in the bigs. His defense is the question mark. He began his career as a centerfielder and shifted to left pretty quickly. With the power developing, and limited range, he could easily be a fit in the corners. The Yankees began working McKinney at first base in the AFL. He seems to be picking it up well, and that versatility will play big if he is to get a role with the Yankees.




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