Hello and welcome. It feels like forever since we did our first ever Top 100 list this winter. We’ll be updating our lists throughout the year to include new prospects, but we’ll vote on a new top 100 twice a year. One mid-season, one in the offseason. In case you missed our last top 100 segment, here is a link to every write up we did this winter.
This season, our top 100 we’ll consist of an aggregate of four of our writers’ individual lists. We average the lists out to give you a consensus top 100. Without further ado, let’s get things rolling with 100-91.
Check out the rest of our list here:
60. Glenn Sparkman, RHP
Ht/Wt: 6’2″ 210 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: AA, AAA
Acquired: 2016 MLB Draft, 9th Round
2018 Stats (AAA): 10 G, 55 IP, 4.58 ERA, 5.47 FIP, 5.73 K/9, 1.64 BB/9, 41.3% GB%, 13.3% HR/FB
Glenn Sparkman has been in the Royals system since 2013 and was moving through it rather quickly up until 2017. In the offseason before 2017, he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, where he quickly fizzled out and was returned to the Royals. He handled AA extremely well to begin 2018 and is now working through some struggles with AAA Omaha.
Sparkman is an intriguing arm. He’s 26 years old and hope of him being a piece of the future dwindles by the day, but he could still be something of an asset for the major league staff. Sparkman throws a lot of strikes, and has a decent mix of pitches that could potentially keep major league hitters off balance. Think Trevor Oaks but less ground balls.
Which is one thing that might behoove Sparkman, is figuring out how to induce more ground balls. Sparkman doesn’t induce a ton of swings and misses (his 10% SwStr% is 33rd in the PCL min. 50 IP), and he doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts. His game revolves around inducing weak contact, and I’d prefer that he get more of that contact on the ground than he’s currently getting.
Sparkman’s ceiling is probably that of a back-end starter. He’s more likely destined for a Brian Flynn/long relief role, but there’s an outside shot that he could still fill out the back of a rotation. During rebuilds, it’s good to have SP depth and Sparkman could provide just that, unless the Royals allow him to be vultured by other MLB teams again this offseason.
59. Humberto Arteaga, SS
Ht/Wt: 6’0″ 160 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: AAA (Omaha)
Acquired: International free agent
2018 Stats (AAA): 69 G, 243 AB, .288/.301/.399/.700, 5 HR, 10 2B, 2.7% BB%, 18.5% K%, 77 wRC+
I maintain that Humberto Arteaga is the single best defensive infield prospect that the Royals have. In my opinion, Bubba Starling is the best defensive outfield prospect, MJ Melendez is your best defensive catching prospect, and Arteaga may be the best of all of them. His hands are incredibly fast and his feet are as smooth as I’ve seen from a SS.
The problem is that he projects a lot like Tony Pena Jr. At a similar age in AAA back in 2006, Tony Pena Jr. slashed .282/.312/.359/.671 before being promoted to the big leagues. Neither Arteaga nor Pena Jr. swing any kind of an impact bat, and both field their positions at extremely high levels. Unfortunately for Arteaga, he’s behind Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez on the MIF depth chart, and behind Hunter Dozier and Kelvin Gutierrez at 3rd.
With that being said, think about what we’re saying here. Glenn Sparkman probably has a future as a big league pitcher in some capacity. Humberto Arteaga will probably never be a good enough hitter to play in the big leagues. Yet, we’ve got Arteaga ahead of Sparkman because he is THAT GOOD defensively. All Arteaga has to do is figure out how to be on base at a .320 clip and he’ll have some value for a rebuilding big league team.
58. Bryan Brickhouse, RHP
Ht/Wt: 6’0″ 195 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: A+, AA
Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft
2018 Stats (A+): 19 G, 22.1 IP, 2.01 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 12.49 K/9, 6.45 BB/9, 22% GB%, 0% HR/FB
Here’s an excerpt from Patrick’s prospect watch on Brickhouse from April:
“Years later, Brickhouse is strictly a bullpen arm. He’s ditched some of his secondaries and is now currently working with a fastball that is usually running up in the high-90s, supposedly even touching 100 MPH, and a high-80s slider.”
After taking a leave of absence from the Royals system in 2015, Brickhouse returned to the Royals in a big way in 2018. His fastball has been recorded to reach triple digits and he’s striking out hitters like never before. He’s permanently stuck to the bullpen, but if he can get his BB/9 down from it’s current 6.45, he’s going to be one heckuva reliever one day.
57. Xavier Fernandez, C
Ht/Wt: 5’11″ 175 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: A+, AA
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 11th Round
2018 Stats (A+): 36 G, 135 AB, .252/.292/.393/.684, 2 HR, 13 2B, 4.9% BB%, 13.2% K%, 91 wRC+
After getting off to a scorching hot April in which Fernandez posted a .799 OPS, he’s regressed significantly over May and June. Fernandez missed all of the 2017 season due to injury, but has played okay in 42 games behind the plate in 2018.
Fernandez isn’t much of an offensive prospect. He’s pretty sound defensively behind the plate but just hasn’t done much at the plate in his time with KC. If he can start to access a little more power (slugged .491 in 2015), then the Royals may have a solid catching prospect on their hands. Fernandez just turned 23 years old yesterday and has some time to get the bat going, and the Texas League ought to be a good environment for him to do just that.
Here’s an old video for ya:
56. Sal Biasi, RHP
Ht/Wt: 6′ 0” 190 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: Low-A (Lexington)
Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
2018 Stats (Low-A): 20 G, 30.1 IP, 6.53 ERA, 6.44 FIP, 10.09 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 35.4% GB%, 20% HR/FB
Sal Biasi was one of my favorite under-the-radar picks that the Royals had in last year’s draft. A starter from Penn State, Biasi has been strictly used out of the bullpen for the Legends this season and has had some success doing it (ignore the ERA). Biasi uses an effective fastball/slider combo to run up an impressive strike out rate, though he does walk a few too many hitters. Pitching in a bit of a hitter friendly park hasn’t done Biasi a ton of favors when it comes to giving up HRs. Biasi’s HR/FB ratio has been a tad ridiculous, and that should really favor his progression when he gets the call to Wilmington which is more of a pitcher’s park.
55. Jason Adam, RHP
Ht/Wt: 6’4″ 225 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: AA, AAA, MLB
Acquired: 201 MLB Draft
2018 Stats (MLB): 16 G, 17.1 IP, 4.15 ERA, 7.31 FIP, 8.31 K/9, 3.63 BB/9, 29.2% GB%, 22.2% HR/FB
Jason Adam might be my favorite story in baseball in 2018. After being traded by the Royals back in 2014 for Josh Willingham, Adam didn’t pitch in affiliated baseball in 2015 or 2016. The Royals signed him as a free agent after he was mistakenly released by the Padres, and he flew through the system once he got here. Adam usually possess a mid-upper-90’s fastball with a ridiculous spin rate that makes it look even harder. His CB/SL thing that he throws is absolutely filthy and hasn’t been hit much at the big league level.
Unfortunately for Adam, he’s had a bit of an injury plagued career and his fastball velocity was down into the low-90’s before he was sent back to AAA Omaha. He’s currently back in KC and has looked better since rejoining the Royals roster, but he’s going to have to give up fewer home runs to be a successful big league reliever. Luckily, all the tools are there for Adam, he’s just got to keep himself on the field and keep the ball in the yard.
54. Jake Newberry, RHP
Ht/Wt: 6’ 2″ 195 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: AA (Northwest Arkansas), AAA (Omaha)
Acquired: 2012 MLB Draft
2018 Stats (AA): 25 G, 29.2 IP, 2.12 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 11.22 K/9, 2.43 BB/9, 32.5% GB%, 6.1% HR/FB
Jake Newberry is a very intriguing bullpen arm that I wouldn’t be too surprised to see in Kansas City in September. After rolling through AA to begin the season, Newberry was promoted to AA Omaha where he’s pitched to a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 IP. I don’t know what got into Jake Newberry this season, but the 23-year old was striking out more hitters than at any time in his career and his walk rate was among his career lows as well.
Newberry is a fastball/slider guy whose fastball sits in the low-mid-90’s. His slider has some sharp, late action to it that is extremely effective against RHH. He reminds me of Greg Holland a little bit in the fact that his slider will probably carry him into a big league bullpen, but Newberry’s ceiling probably isn’t close to Holland’s, so don’t read this the wrong way.
Here’s Drew’s write up on Newberry from his promotion earlier this summer.
53. Andres Sotillet, RHP
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 175 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: A-
Acquired: International free agent
2018 Stats (A-): 15 G, 80.1 IP, 4.37 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 8.29 K/9, 1.46 BB/9, 52.8% GB%, 9.1% HR/FB
I am a huge fan of Andres Sotillet.
In 15 appearances (12 starts) with Lexington, Sotillet has managed to throw 80.1 IP. Compare that to Hernandez’ 55 IP in 11 starts and you get a better sense of how good Sotillet has been.
I’m going to be completely honest with you here: I did not realize how damn good Sotillet had been this season until I was writing this. I’ve kept my eye on him, knew he’d been good but…MAN. He’s been really good. I don’t love the age (21) compared to his competition, but it’s not like he’s old either. If I was revoting today Sotillet would be in or really close to my top 30 Royals prospects. He’s got a live arm and a good breaking ball that ought to carry him well at least through AA. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a promotion this summer and made a few starts for High-A Wilmington either.
If no one else has already called it, I’ll go ahead and start the Andres Sotillet bandwagon. Expect t-shirts and an official Twitter account soon.
52. Jackson Lueck, OF
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 170 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: Rookie (IDF & BUR)
Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
2018 Stats (combined): 13 G, 54 AB, .296/.377/.537/.914, 1 HR, 6 2B, 2 3B, 2 SB
Jackson Lueck may have been the Royals sneakiest pick up in the 2018 draft. Taken in the 8th round out of Florida State, Lueck struggled a bit in his junior season with the Seminoles, causing his draft stock to take a bit of a hit. Although his BA and OBP were down in 2018, Lueck’s BB% was up, his K% remained the same as 2017, and his ISO was way up from 2017 as well. ACC pitchers probably got tired of pitching to Lueck, and Lueck was forced to chase a lot more pitches than he was used to. We’ll see how he fares in pro ball, but so far the return on Lueck has been pretty good.
Oh, he can field the ball pretty well too.
51. Cam Gallagher, C
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 230 lbs
Levels Played, 2018: AAA/MLB
Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft
2018 Stats (MLB): 8 G, 25 AB, .208/.240/.292/.532, 4% BB%, 16% K%, 41 wRC+
Cam Gallagher needs to be the Royals backup catcher come September 1. Drew Butera probably has zero trade value, so I expect he’ll be on the team August 1, but there’s no excuse for Gallagher not to get 1-2 starts per week in September.
Specifically when Jake Junis is on the mound. I don’t know what it is with those two, but they’ve been together since rookie ball and have a really special bond as battery mates. Here’s Junis’ career ERA by catcher in the MLB:
The Royals need Jake Junis to get back on track, and there’s, apparently, no better way to do that than by running Cam Gallagher out there every time Junis starts.
Gallagher doesn’t throw the ball extremely well, but he is a great receiver behind the plate and blocks the ball well, making him an average to above average defensive catcher who should get on base at a respectable clip, making him a great backup catcher for the Royals.