2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 55-51

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!

55. Evan Steele, LHP

DOB: 11/14/1996
B/T: R/L
Ht/Wt: 6’5″ 210′
Levels Played, 2018: N/A; Injury
Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: N/A
Projected level to begin 2019: Extended Spring Training

Having only thrown 8 innings of professional baseball since being drafted in 2017, I can understand if you laugh at us for having Steele here. Steele missed the entire 2018 season due to a shoulder injury, and finally had surgery to clean it up this off-season. I maintain the belief that, before his injury, Evan Steele could’ve competed with Josh Staumont for the best pure stuff in the entire organization. He had a funky delivery from the left side of the mound, and backed that up with a mid-90’s fastball and a wicked slider. I’m not sure if he can be a SP anymore, but he’s got Richard Lovelady potential out of the bullpen if he can just get back on the mound.

54. Conner Greene, RHP

DOB: 4/4/1995
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 185′
Levels Played, 2018: AA, AAA
Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
ETA: 2019
2018 Stats (AAA): 39.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 5.75 FIP, 5.95 K/9, 7.09 BB/9, 0.46 HR/9, 45.9% GB%,
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

Conner Greene is like a carbon copy of Josh Staumont, except he throws a changeup instead of a curveball. He found far more success out of the bullpen for St. Louis at AAA in 2018 than he did in the starting rotation at AA, and I think the bullpen will wind up being his permanent home in the future. His fastball sits in the upper-90’s and he throws a Fernando Rodney-esque changeup to go with it. He’s going to have to cut down on the walks, by like, a lot, but I could see Greene getting big league innings by the end of 2019, seeing as he’s already on the 40-man roster and is uber talented. At the age of 23, he’s got plenty of time to iron out a big league future for himself.

53. Kort Peterson, OF

DOB: 4/29/1994
B/T: L/R
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 195′
Levels Played, 2018: A+, AA
Acquired: 2016 MLB Draft
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats (AA): 183 PA, .229/.301/.440/.741, 7 HR, 8 2B, 6.6% BB%, 33.3% K%, 100 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AA

I’m not sure what to make of Kort Peterson, if we’re being honest. On one hand, he’s nearly 25 years old, is a former 23rd round draft pick, and has less than 200 PA at AA. On the other hand, he has completely demolished his competition at every level of Minor League Baseball. On one hand, his peripherals are atrocious. His K/BB ratios are grossly out of whack and his BABIP is completely unsustainable. On the other hand, he hits the baseball with some serious authority and he reminds me a bit of Kole Calhoun. So there ya go, will Kort Peterson be an every day big league outfielder? Probably not at his current clip. Could he make some adjustments and be a 4th outfielder, LHH off the bench for a contending team? I absolutely think so. He’s definitely a kid I’ll have no problem rooting for moving forward.

52. Pedro Fernandez, RHP

DOB: 5/25/1994
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’0″ 175′
Levels Played, 2018: AA, AAA
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats (AA): 57.2 IP, 2.81 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 6.71 K/9, 2.97 BB/9, 0.31 HR/9, 43.9% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

I maintain the fact that Pedro Fernandez’ changeup rivals any pitch in the Royals minor league system. It is an absolutely filthy offering that seemingly adds a couple ticks to his mid-90’s fastball. If Pedro Fernandez was on the 40-man roster, I would have guessed that we’d see him in KC sometime in 2019. However, with a logjam of relievers that will be running back and forth between Omaha and The K in 2019, he may have to wait until next spring. He’s pitched at the AAA level in parts of two seasons now, so he’s not far away, but he’ll have to show the organization he can have sustained success and health at the AAA level first.

51. Jackson Lueck, OF

DOB: 2/19/1997
B/T: S/R
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 170′
Levels Played, 2018: Rookie, A+
Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
ETA: 2022
2018 Stats (Rk): 189 PA, .245/.339/.405/.744, 5 HR, 9 2B, 10.1% BB%, 27.5% K%, 98 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: A

After watching his batting average dip significantly in each of his three seasons at Florida State, Lueck also watched his draft stock dip significantly as the Royals were able to snag the Seminole OF in the 8th round last June. Despite the appearance of a down junior season, Lueck actually saw careers bests in the power department and with his plate discipline. Lueck will be something of a sleeper to begin the 2019 season, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he hit his way into our mid-season top 30 in July. Power from both sides of the plate is a valuable commodity in professional baseball, and while I don’t expect him to be Carlos Beltran, Lueck could very well one day provide power and a good eye from both sides of the plate. Oh, and he’s got a knack for the clutch.

 

Photo Credits: scorpnation.com

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8 thoughts on “2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 55-51

  1. Why are Royals so quiet on Evan Steele? I haven’t heard much, if anything, about him. For such a high draft pick, they are silent on his health and development.

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    • Most likely because his shoulder injury and other problems sidelined his 2017 and 2018 seasons (the Zimmer curse?). Will be interesting to see if he is healthy and assigned to Lexington out of spring training or as suggested here, ends up in extended spring training to start another year.

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  2. Another 5 who most likely l never see the K (although Steele has the makings if he can stay healthy).
    Greene is probably #1 on the 40 man bubble when Dayton next goes dumpster diving for relief pitching.
    I like Fernandez grit but he is yet another pitcher stuck in the black hole that is Dayton’s pitching logjam.
    You hit the nail on the head with Peterson. Loads of talent but not very disciplined at the plate or in the field. Wo be it to other teams if he ever finds that discipline.
    You are also right about Leuck. 2019 should be a good indicator of whether he moves up with the wave or gets marooned in A ball Vallot style.

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    • I was disappointed in Lueck and Cole during 2018. I don’t know if my expectations were too high or what. Hoping they do well in Lexington. I am wondering if Gigliotti starts at Lexington, too. Seems like Isbel and Gigliotti would be at separate levels.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 50-46 | Royals Farm Report

  4. Pingback: 2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 45-41 | Royals Farm Report

  5. Pingback: 2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 40-36 | Royals Farm Report

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