2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 40-36

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 worthy 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!

40. Sebastian Rivero, C

DOB: 11/16/1998 (20 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 180′
Levels Played, 2018: A
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 306 PA, .258/.301/.391/.692, 7 HR, 16 2B, 5.6% BB%, 19.3% K%, 97 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: A+

Arguably the best thing that the Royals farm system has going for it right now is the depth that the Royals have at the catching position. Sebastian Rivero, MJ Melendez, Xavier Fernandez, and Meibrys Viloria give the Royals solid catchers at every level. Catchers are obviously important for the team itself, but having catchers like Rivero and Melendez together at Wilmington this year will do wonders for the pitching staff as well, which should have most of the Royals best pitching prospects in 2019.

Sebastian Rivero is a glove first catching prospect. He gives MJ Melendez a run for his money in the defensive category and some would argue that Rivero might be the best defensive prospect in the entire system. The one thing that Rivero hasn’t been able to do much of yet is hit, and the bat finally came around in 2018. Wilmington has never been a hitter friendly place to play, but if the bat continues to come around on Rivero, he will quickly find himself amongst the Royals top 20 prospects. At worst, he probably offers some Drew Butera-like value as a defensive minded backup that can play once or twice a week and not kill you offensively. He and Melendez are gonna be a ton of fun to watch play together moving forward.

39. Trevor Oaks, RHP

DOB: 3/26/1993 (25 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 220′
Levels Played, 2018: AAA, MLB
Acquired: Trade for Scott Alexander
ETA: 2018
2018 Stats (AAA): 128.1 IP, 3.23 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 4.91 K/9, 3.09 BB/9, 0.35 HR/9, 50.2% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

I was pretty excited when the Royals acquired Oaks from the Dodgers, and I was even more excited when he was leading the PCL in ERA for most of 2018. The Royals gave him a brief look at the big leagues before shipping him back to Omaha, never to return, where he did okay. The problem with Trevor Oaks’ prospect status is that he’s a soon-to-be 26-year old sinker baller that doesn’t throw real hard and doesn’t have elite command. His walk rate doubled from 2017 last season and in his time in the big leagues, his sinker simply wasn’t down in the zone enough to get great results. As impressed as some fans were with Oaks in the minors, the Royals obviously didn’t see enough to give him a September call-up. For now Oaks kind of remains in No Man’s Land, but he ought to get a longer look at the big leagues some time in 2019. The suspension of Eric Skoglund may have sped that process up a bit.

38. Ofreidy Gomez, RHP

DOB: 7/6/1995 (23 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 190′
Levels Played, 2018: A+
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 135 IP, 3.40 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 6.93 K/9, 4.07 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, 42.1% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AA

I think there were a lot of people, myself included, who were a bit surprised to see Ofreidy Gomez appear in the Royals top 30 prospects list on MLB Pipeline in 2018. Gomez, a 23-year old from the Dominican Republic, has never really put up flashy numbers in the minor leagues. His strikeout rate is low, his walk rates are high, and there were 84 pitchers who logged at least 50 innings in the Carolina League in 2018 that missed more bats than Gomez last season. Really, Gomez didn’t do much of anything well except for prevent runs.

But that’s the name of the game. If you can consistently prevent runs from being scored, you’ll have a job in baseball. Gomez throws his fastball consistently in the mid-90’s and his curveball is a wipe out offering when it’s on. While he hasn’t found tons of success yet, this is something of a projection pick that I think can make a big league impact some day. The level of impact will be determined by the progress Gomez makes at AA this year and AAA in 2020, but his fastball and curveball combination should play at higher levels.

37. DJ Burt, UTIL

DOB: 10/13/1995 (23 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 5’9″ 160′
Levels Played, 2018: A+
Acquired: 2014 MLB Draft
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats: 486 PA, .280/.367/.371/.738, 14 2B, 7 3B, 32 SB, 12% BB%, 20.2% K%, 113 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AA

There is a ton to like about DJ Burt. He can play multiple positions on the infield at an above average clip. He can run like hell. He finally started putting the ball in play with some consistency in 2018. He knows how to get on base. He’s never hit for much power, and he doesn’t have a definite position moving forward, but his ability to run at an elite clip and be on base should carry him through the minors. The reason we don’t have Burt higher than 37 on our list lies mostly with the fact that he just spent two full seasons at the High-A level, along with an influx of good pitching to the system recently. If Burt can do at AA in 2019 what he did in 2018, he could find himself in our top 30 again soon. He’s definitely a player to keep an eye on if you attend a NWA Naturals game in 2019.

36. Scott Barlow, RHP

DOB: 12/18/1992 (26 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 215′
Levels Played, 2018: AAA, MLB
Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
ETA: 2018
2018 Stats (MLB): 15 IP, 3.60 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 9 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, 1.20 HR/9, 38.3% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

I was so excited to see Barlow get a shot at the big leagues in 2018, then injuries put him on the shelf for a majority of the season. In consecutive appearances on 5/29 and 6/1, Barlow threw a combined 7 innings in relief and struck out 10 batters while giving up only 1 run. He’s got big league stuff and figures to get a long look at the big league bullpen in 2019, but I’m not quite sure if I think he’ll break camp with the team on Opening Day. After being injured for much of 2018, I expect the Royals to get a little bit longer look at him with Omaha to start 2019, then Barlow should be up for much of the year. If he dominates in Spring Training, we may be having a whole new conversation however. Either way, Barlow presents an intriguing relief option for the Royals moving forward.

 

Looking ahead to 35-31:

  • A potential big league backstop
  • Jarrod Dyson?
  • A former 1st round pick
  • A dominant lefty
  • A first baseman?
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17 thoughts on “2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 40-36

  1. 5 more prospects who could see time at the K in their career (Barlow and Oaks already accomplished).
    I am high on DJ Burt to excel at NWA and maybe even see time in Omaha if Royals make room for Nicky Lopez and Kelvin Gutierrez later in summer.
    Sooner or later, Rivero ends up a sweetener in a trade. Just too many high level catching prospects and Melendez will always get priority.
    Gomez is an oddity but if he can reproduce consistent numbers in 2019, he could also move up quickly.

    Like

    • I’m trying to figure out who will start the 2109 as the NWA shortstop. Looks like Cancel at 2B and Burt as utility infielder. Burt’s future looks like a utility type. Will they leave Mejia there for one more season of AA? Flores did so well in 2018 I would expect a promotion to Omaha. Omaha projects as full of middle infielders with Nicky Lopez, Arteaga, and whoever they keep as a back up – see Featherston or a veteran type.

      Does Burt have the arm to play SS – I don’t think so from what I know of him

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      • Burt played 13 games at SS last year and 12 in 2017. But he plays most games at 2B (>70%).
        Cuthbert, Gutierrez, Lopez, Arteaga and Flores could all be non-1B infielders at Omaha. I hope Featherston is released at end of spring training (interesting that he has been reported as signed but still not added to a roster in Royals org).
        I think Erick Mejia, unless there is a trade or injury, starts back in NWA. He just did not show enough improvement last year to move ahead of the ones above.
        Corey Toups is the only other non-1B infielder still shown on NWA roster besides Mejia and Flores. So there is room for promotions. Possible that Burt, Cancel, and Rivero all get moved up to NWA unless Dayton goes window shopping again. FYI – Cancel also played 12 games at SS for Wilmington last year. Royals could move one of Cancel or Burt to SS full time at NWA.
        They also have Castellano at Wilmington but his offense has really tanked last two years and his defense is not outstanding either so doubt he moves up.

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