2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 60-56

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!

60. Anderson Miller, OF

DOB: 5/6/1994
B/T: L/L
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 208′
Levels Played, 2018: AA
Acquired: 2015 MLB Draft
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats: 470 PA, .255/.308/.414/.722, 13 HR, 22 2B, 10 SB, 7% BB%, 17.7% K%, 94 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AA

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m wondering if Anderson Miller isn’t a bit too low on our list here. Miller absolutely obliterated his competition in his second bouts with both A-ball and High-A, to the tune of a 132 and 136 wRC+, respectively. After getting his walk rate up to 11.7% and his strikeout rate down to an even more impressive 19.5% to begin the 2017 season, Miller held his own again in 2018. The walk rate dipped quite a bit, but so did the strikeout rate, and he hit what was a significant career high 13 HR. Miller’s overall offensive production took a pretty good dip, but there were some areas of improvement that are really exciting for his future. Miller will be 25 during the 2019 season, and he’s almost certainly still over a year away from the big leagues, which hurts his prospect status, but I think there’s still some big league potential here. Look for him to get a quick bump to AAA if he starts out hot in the Texas League, but we may have to wait another year to see Miller in Kansas City.

59. Elier Hernandez, OF

DOB: 11/21/1994
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 197′
Levels Played, 2018: AA, AAA
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats (AA): 381 PA, .287/.322/.380/.702, 3 HR, 22 2B, 3.7% BB%, 18.6% K%, 92 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

Elier Hernandez is a fantastic athlete that represents the epitome of perhaps skill not being backed by results. A far too high GB% and terrible plate discipline have really hampered the offensive production from Hernandez, but I remain positive on his stock. Upon his arrival to AAA last year, we began to see an increased BB%, and I think there’s room for power to grow, as evidenced by his 22 doubles in AA. If Hernandez can get a little more loft on the ball, he may be able to hit 15 HR some day. If he can’t elevate the baseball, and if he can’t improve his BB%, he’s probably not a big leaguer. 2019 will be a huge season for the Royals former bonus baby.

58. Erick Mejia, UTILITY

DOB: 11/9/1994
B/T: S/R
Ht/Wt: 5’11″ 155′
Levels Played, 2018: AA
Acquired: Trade for Scott Alexander and Joakim Soria
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats: 602 PA, .263/.318/.367/.685, 5 HR, 27 2B, 34 SB, 7% BB%, 16% K%, 88 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

I was pretty excited about Erick Mejia when the Royals acquired him before the 2018 season. Mejia was coming off his age 22 season in AA where he posted a 117 wRC+ with the Dodgers, he can run, and plays multiple positions on the infield. Not a top 100 guy, sure, but what wasn’t to like?

Well, 2019 didn’t go so well for Mejia. His walk rate dipped 2% from 2017 and his BABIP took a pretty substantial hit as well, that’s not a good formula for an OBP. Mejia has never hit for a ton of power, but he did hit his fair share of doubles, he ran wild, and by all accounts his defense is just fine. Mejia just turned 24, so there’s still time for him to carve out a starting role in the big leagues, but much like Hernandez, 2019 will be a huge year for Mejia in determining his future with the Royals ball club. At worst, I think he’s the Royals utility man of the future starting in 2020.

57. Gerson Garabito, RHP

DOB: 8/19/1995
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’ 160′
Levels Played, 2018: A+
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 142.1 IP, 3.16 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 7.33 K/9, 4.62 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9, 38.7% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AA

The peripherals aren’t great surrounding Garabito, but the results were outstanding in 2018. Garabito had his first healthy season of his career and it paid off for him. Garabito enters the 2019 season coming off of consecutive seasons where he posted ERAs of 2.81 and 3.16, respectively. He’ll still be 23 years old to begin 2019, which puts him on par for the course if he begins with AA Northwest Arkansas. He’s going to have to continue developing, and I think an entire season at AA would be good for the young RHP, but I like his future. Part of that development must include gaining weight and gaining velocity, but if he can do that, I love Garabito’s pitchability. Keep your eye on him in 2019.

56. Chris Ellis, RHP

DOB: 9/22/1992
B/T: L/R
Ht/Wt: 6’5″ 205′
Levels Played, 2018: AA, AAA
Acquired: Rule 5 Draft
ETA: 2019
2018 Stats (AAA): 79 IP, 3.76 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 7.75 K/9, 2.39 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9, 37.2% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: MLB

I think most people were excited about the acquiring of Sam McWilliams after the Rule 5 Draft, our number one target here at RFR, but Marcus wants to make sure you’re not sleeping on Chris Ellis either. Ellis is a very capable pitcher that should be able to make a quick transition to the big league rotation. After posting a 3.82 FIP at AA in 2018, Ellis was quickly promoted to AAA where he posted a 3.76 ERA in the PCL. There’s obviously a reason he was left unprotected, as his ceiling probably isn’t the highest, but I think he’s got a decent floor and a chance to stick in the big leagues for all of 2019 in KC.

 

Photo Credits: Minda Haas Kuhlmann (@minda33)

21 thoughts on “2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 60-56

  1. Sadly I have a feeling none of these 5 will ever see the K other than from the stands.
    Hernandez and Miller both have potential but are seriously roadblocked by a plethora of OFers in KC (and Dayton’s penchant for pulling more off the waiver wire).
    Garabito also has a lot of potential but may get lost in the stampede of young arms clawing over each other to get the few spots available in AA this year (also thanks to Dayton overloading the top levels with reclamation projects and other teams’ cast offs).
    Mejia will either make it to AAA or disappear to free agency at end of the season (like J Lopez and Torres). He came to KC with incredible potential but seemed to just exist in 2018.
    As for Ellis, I won’t be at all surprised if he is offered back before spring training ends. McWilliams might have potential but I just don’t see any upside on Ellis over prospects in the Royals own farm system (Lovelady, Staumont, Newberry, etc).

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