The minor league season has started and there are prospects you need to know. Make sure to read about them in our prospect rankings series.
Matthew LaMar of Royals Review looks at how the Royals have been bad at drafting for quite some time now.
Ultimately, the Royals should have had a longer window of contention. In 2014, the Royals were American League Champions. In 2015, the Royals were World Series Champions. Nobody cared about the farm system then. In 2016, it was easy to rationalize an underwhelming campaign because of injuries; 2017 showed some cracks, but the World Series high was still there.
According to Forbes estimates, the Royals are worth over a billion dollars.
David Glass purchased the Royals in 2000 for a price of $96 million. Since then, MLB has increased revenue sharing, the city has renovated Kauffman Stadium with the Royals footing just $100 million of the $575 million cost, and MLB signed $12 billion national television contracts. The Royals could be due for more revenues soon as the television deal with Fox Sports Kansas City is set to expire after the 2019 season. The current deal pays the team just $20 million per year, one of the smallest deals in baseball.
Craig Brown of BP Kansas City thinks it is the end of Danny Duffy’s time as the Royals top starter.
So is Duffy hurt now? As mentioned, he did miss time twice last year, had surgery last October to remove loose bodies from his elbow and experienced shoulder tightness in his last start of the spring. That’s quite a few trips to the trainers room in the last 12 months. Pitching, after all, is an occupation of attrition. Of course, Duffy and the Royals insist he’s healthy. As long as he takes the ball every fifth day, we sort of have to buy what they’re selling. I remain skeptical the Royals would continue to let their lefty take the ball every fifth day without a clean bill of health.
Tyler Dierking of Kings of Kauffman puts up the opinion that the Royals really are rebuilding.
With the Royals having four draft picks in the top 40 selections, a solid trade window can escalate the situation much faster. If Dayton Moore plays his cards right, by the end of the year the Royals will have executed both Option 2 and Option 3. They will have traded veteran players they signed to cheap one-year deals for prospects who can elevate the rebuilding process.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball profiles Angels rookie RHP Jaime Barria.
The Angels spent just $60,000 to sign Barria as a free agent from Panama in 2013. After fair but promising performance in the low minors, he broke out in 2017 with an excellent season at three levels: 2.48, 57/13 K/BB in 65 innings in the California League; 3.21, 47/15 K/BB in 62 innings in the Southern League; 2.45, 13/3 K/BB in 15 innings in the Pacific Coast League.
Over at Fangraphs, Kiley McDaniel posted a good amount of notes on prep draft prospects.
Mason Denaburg, RHP, Merritt Island HS (FL), Florida Commit
Denaburg was no slouch in this game, either, also coming out of the gates sitting 92-96 mph and using his consistently plus 77-81 mph curveball liberally while also showing a mid-80s changeup that flashed average. I counted 12 Ks for Denaburg through 5.2 innings. Denaburg is a little less loose and projectable than Stewart and his curveball is more of a present plus without further projection, but it’s amazing how close these two pitchers are as prospects from high schools just 20 miles apart. Denaburg projected for the 10th-15th overall pick range until his velo slipped in two subsequent outings, and he was shut down last week with biceps tendonitis.
Baseball Amercia gave their projected field of 64 for the college baseball season.
The field is still developing, but the hosting race is coming into sharper focus. North Carolina and Oklahoma move into hosting spots this week as they have moved to the top of their respective leagues. UNC is in a strong position now with a top-15 RPI to go with being in first place in the division. Oklahoma has more work to do, but having started Big 12 Conference play at 8-1, the Sooners are making a strong move. The next three weeks will be critical to their hosting chances, as they take on the Big 12’s top contenders: Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.