Comparing the 2008 and 2018 farm systems: Part 3

In a recent series of articles, I’ve taken some time to compare the current Royals farm system with the farm system in 2008 that went on to capture a World Series title in 2015. You can find the first two articles of the series here:

Part 1: Top 100 Prospects
Part 2: Adalberto Mondesi and other key cogs already in the system

The inspiration for this series has been a long time coming, but was brought on when Shaun Newkirk wrote an excellent article over at Royals Review, arguing that the Royals need to recalibrate their timeline. While I agreed with the premise of Shaun’s article, I decided to compare the current crop of prospects to the 2008 system instead of 2011. Three years makes a world of a difference, especially when a #2 overall pick is at play, and perhaps another top 8-9 pick in 2020, and so here we are.

One of the biggest differences between the 2008 and 2018 farm systems that I can see is the group of pitching prospects that make up the systems. Let’s compare some of the top pitching prospects in this current system, with some of the top arms in 2008, and talk about how they did/may effect the big league team.


  • Dan Cortes
  • Luke Hochevar
  • Billy Buckner
  • Blake Wood
  • Danny Duffy
  • Carlos Rosa
  • Julio Pimentel
  • Matt Mitchell
  • Tyler Lumsden
  • Sam Runion
  • Greg Holland
  • Kelvin Herrera
  • Zack Greinke***
  • Joakim Soria***


  • Brady Singer
  • Daniel Lynch
  • Jackson Kowar
  • Kris Bubic
  • Josh Staumont
  • Richard Lovelady
  • Yefri Del Rosario
  • Charlie Neuweiler
  • Elvis Luciano
  • Yohanse Morel
  • Carlos Hernandez
  • Daniel Tillo
  • Scott Blewett
  • Arnaldo Hernandez
  • Grant Gavin
  • Yunior Marte
  • Brad Keller***
  • Jakob Junis***

First, let me address the obvious big leaguers/non prospects at the bottom of each list. No, they are not/were not prospects in 2008/2018. However, they are organizational assets that played/could play a key role in the next Royals competitive timeline. So Soria, Greinke, Keller, and Junis make the list as young, organizational assets, not prospects.

Looking at the 2008 system, they only had 4 pitchers that played a role in the playoff runs in 2014/2015. The Royals currently have anywhere between 8-11 pitchers that we all know they’re counting on to be impactful in the big leagues soon. That 2008 farm system was absolutely dreadful. The Royals pitching development philosophy is by no means perfect, but with the continued impact of guys like JJ Picollo and Scott Sharp, it is light years ahead of where it was in 2008.

Obviously the Royals won’t hit on all of their current core of arms. Luciano, Del Rosario, Neuweiler, Morel, are all under the age of 20. Jake Junis and Brad Keller are no guarantees for long-term success as starting pitchers. Rarely do teams hit on all 4 of their first draft picks in any draft. Half of these guys will probably flame out, but there is infinitely more talent in the system now than there was in 2008.

Will the Royals need to spend future assets to address pitching in the big leagues for the next playoff push? Absolutely. Will they have to acquire an entire pitching staff from trades/free agency for the next playoff push? Absolutely not. The Royals have a fantastic core of young arms in the system, and it’s going to take a huge burden off of the organization moving forward, unlike that 2008 core, save for Danny Duffy and the bullpen arms that were a trademark of those 2014-2015 teams.

One thought on “Comparing the 2008 and 2018 farm systems: Part 3

  1. Pingback: Comparing the 2008 and 2018 farm systems, Part 4: Prospect for Prospect | Royals Farm Report

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