Last week, I wrote this article comparing the 2008 and 2018 Royals farm systems. At the conclusion of the article, we found that the 2014 and 2015 Royals playoff rosters contained 7(/25) players that were in the Royals system in 2008:
- Mike Moustakas
- Danny Duffy
- Eric Hosmer
- Salvador Perez
- Kelvin Herrera
- Greg Holland
- Jarrod Dyson
Some cornerstones, to be sure. Moose, Hos, and Salvy were integral parts of the every day lineup and huge reasons for the Royals playoff success in 2014 and 2015. Danny Duffy was a huge part of the regular seasons, but was not a member of either playoff rotation. So of those 7 players, 3 played regularly in the playoffs, 3 were relievers, and Dyson was the 4th outfielder/base running specialist/defensive replacement.
Obviously, there was a significant amount of playoff help that joined the Royals system post 2008. The entire starting rotation for both playoff runs, the closer, the middle infield, and the center fielder. Those are, well, the key pieces for any team that wants to be any kind of successful. In 2008, NONE of those positions that would be filled 6-7 years later were in the Royals system.
Here’s the best part about this current Royals system: all of those centerpiece, massively important, up-the-middle positions, are already in the system. The future of the Royals middle infield is set. Adalberto Mondesi (while he admittedly has a wild array of outcomes), is the future of this team at SS. It won’t take much for Mondesi to be a better offensive player than Alcides Escobar, especially considering the speed and power threat that Mondesi possesses, and Mondesi is already a really good defensive player as well. The Royals don’t need to trade their current versions of Zack Greinke (Whit/Salvy/Duffy) in order to obtain their SS of the future. They’ve already got him.
Mondesi isn’t the only centerpiece already in the system either. Nicky Lopez, the heir-apparent to Whit Merrifield at 2B, is ready and waiting with AAA Omaha. The Royals were forced to trade the most promising SP in their system back in 2015 in Sean Manaea to acquire Ben Zobrist for the playoff run (partly due to the fact that they didn’t take a look at Whit Merrifield first). Now, should the Royals decide to make a trade to improve their roster down the line, 2B will hopefully not be a position of dire need.
Even further, the Royals may not be 100% content with their current options at the future of CF, but they have some legitimate options. Blake Perkins is an on-base machine that can absolutely fly and presents a perhaps elite defensive option in CF. Michael Gigliotti is currently recovering from an ACL tear, but the 22-year old out of Lipscomb showed some outstanding potential in his first professional season in 2017. Both of these guys would present very serviceable value in CF both defensively and in terms of on-base ability.
Need we continue? Let’s.
There wasn’t a single SP on the Royals playoff rotations that was in the system by 2008. Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, James Shields, Jason Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie were all acquired with 5 seasons of the Royals first playoff appearance (most much closer to the 2014 playoff run, with the exception of Ventura in 2009). The current Royals farm system consists of SP options like Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic, Yefri Del Rosario, Elvis Luciano, Yohanse Morel, Carlos Hernandez, Andres Sotillet, Charlie Neuweiler, along with young arms like Jake Junis and Brad Keller that are already in the big league rotation. Not all of those guys will hit, to be certain, and the 2008 farm system had plenty of arms that were highly regarded, but it’s not like the 2018 system is barren of arm talent (anymore).
The 2018 farm system does not currently have the top tier prospects that the 2008 farm system had at the time, but what they might have on them is depth. Specifically when it pertains to key positions on the field. Adalberto Mondesi is no longer a prospect, sure, but he is the future at SS for this team. Not having to acquire a player like Mondesi opens up a ton of options for the Royals moving forward. Throw in the likes of Nicky Lopez, Blake Perkins, Michael Gigliotti, etc., and the Royals current crop of young players may give the franchise something of a head start on this rebuild.
Next up: a further breakdown of the pitching prospects in 2008 and 2018.