2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 70-66

Happy New Year and welcome back! We have now been writing about the Royals farm system for 18 months and it’s only going to get better from here. We started off our original prospect rankings with 30, expanded to 100, and now we’re coming back to earth a bit. Are there 100 worth names in the Kansas City Royals system? Absolutely. Are there always 100 names worthy of being on the list…well…

So here we go. The Kansas City Royals top 75 prospects as brought to you by six members of your Royals Farm Report staff. Joel, Drake, Drew, Josh, Pat, and I voted on our top 75 Royals prospects and then ran a collective ranking. We will release five prospects a day, starting with 75, working our way down to #5 where our top 5 prospects will all get their own article. So, without further ado, here we go!

70. Gabe Speier, LHP

DOB: 4/12/1995
B/T: L/L
Ht/Wt: 6’0″ 175′
Levels Played, 2018: AA
Acquired: Trade for Jon Jay
ETA: 2019
2018 Stats (w/ KC): 31.1 IP, 3.73 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 6.32 K/9, 2.87 BB/9, 0.57 HR/9, 46.1% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

Gabe Speier is the type of prospect that makes me think, “There’s a big leaguer in there somewhere. The results aren’t quite there yet, but there’s a big leaguer in there.” Elier Hernandez and Kelvin Gutierrez are other good examples of this. Great athletes that look the part, they just haven’t quite had the success of highly touted big league prospects just yet. Gabe Speier has some nasty stuff that he spins out of his left hand, but he’ll be 24 this season and is yet to appear in AAA after spending the last 2+ seasons in AA. I think there’s a LOOGY in there somewhere, but he’s gonna have to improve in the swing-and-miss department in order to have a lengthy big league career.

69. David Hollie, OF

DOB: 10/25/1999
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’2″ 190′
Levels Played, 2018: Rookie
Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
ETA: 2023
2018 Stats: 142 PA, .225/.289/.349/.638, 2 HR, 6 2B, 4 SB, 8.5% BB%, 29.6% K%, 83 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: Rookie, Burlington

David Hollie cracks the list here as a bit of a personal favorite. Hollie’s rookie campaign in the Arizona League was nothing to write home about, but there’s something about the kid that I really like. Hollie didn’t turn 19 until after the season ended, and he’s huge for 19. The kid oozes athleticism, and while he’s going to be a project at the plate, don’t be surprised if he comes out and hits 15 total HR in 2019 either. There’s a ton of pop in the bat and I think there’s a chance he sticks in LF. Keep an eye on Hollie next summer.

68. Emilio Ogando, LHP

DOB: 8/13/1993
B/T: L/L
Ht/Wt: 6’2″ 180′
Levels Played, 2018: AA
Acquired: 2014 MLB Draft
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats: 118.1 IP, 4.79 ERA, 6.28 FIP, 7.15 K/9, 5.48 BB/9, 1.67 HR/9, 38.9% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

Every team needs organizational depth in the starting pitching department, right? Ogando finally figured out how to generate a few more swings and misses in 2018 but gave up a few extra home runs as well. Ogando’s chances of being an impact starter are almost certainly over, but I wouldn’t rule out the potential of Ogando being a LOOGY for a season or two in the big leagues.

67. Cristian Castillo, LHP

DOB: 9/25/1994
B/T: L/L
Ht/Wt: 6’0″ 190′
Levels Played, 2018: High-A, AA
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats (A+): 59.1 IP, 5.16 ERA, 4.71 FIP, 7.43 K/9, 1.97 BB/9, 1/52 HR/9, 32.1% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AA

Fun fact: Cristian Castillo is one day older than I am. So that’s cool.

Cristian Castillo was a guy that I was really excited to watch in 2019. After a full season of work at High-A Wilmington in 2017, I was excited to see if Castillo could handle the jump from High-A to AA, a jump which is thought to be the most difficult in all of baseball. It didn’t go exactly as I hoped, as Castillo started out the year struggling a bit in a second round at High-A, but he was really really good out of the bullpen for AA Northwest Arkansas to close out the season. In 21.2 innings in relief for NWA, Castillo recorded 9.14 K/9 while walking only 1.66 batters per nine innings. Castillo has never walked many hitters, he just hasn’t struck many out either. If he can carry that 9+ K/9 into the rotation at AA to begin 2019, the Royals may have a back end starter on their hands. Worst case, I think he’s an effective big league LOOGY.

66. Bubba Starling, OF

DOB: 8/3/1992
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’4″ 215′
Levels Played, 2018: Rookie, AAA
Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft
ETA: 2019
2018 Stats (AAA): 41 PA, .257/.350/.314/.664, 12.2% BB%, 14.6% K%, 83 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

It was finally happening. Bubba Starling was finally going to make his big league debut in 2018. He finally started to click at the plate. He was walking. He wasn’t striking out. His defense in the outfield remained elite. Then the injury bug bit him and never let go. You know the story, you know the player, you don’t need me to run through all of that. Just know that, should the injury bug leave Bubba alone in 2019, he will absolutely play in KC. That could be fun.


9 thoughts on “2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 70-66

  1. Speier is another example of Royals scouting staff placing higher value on another team’s reject than their own farm system. Doubt he makes AAA this year unless injuries take a serious hit in KC and Omaha. Just too many names above him. And I can see Holden Capps passing him before the season ends.
    Ogando is really past his prime (yet another prospect grown stale because of Dayton’s love of other team’s cast offs over his own farm system). How good he could have been will never be known because of spending too long at the mid-minor level.
    Castillo is an interesting study. Started BAD at Wilmington. Then allowed 1 run in 17.2 innings in June/July and promoted to NWA. Pitched well first two outings then had a horrendous two weeks before righting the ship and giving up 2 runs in his last 11.1 innings. Will be watching him this year (assuming at NWA) to see which pitcher shows up.
    If Bubba can stay healthy for first two months, I think Royals will promote him if for no other reason than to justify that $7M expenditure. Personally, I think Bubba has a far better chance becoming the next Billy Beane than Mike Trout.

    Liked by 1 person

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