2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 35-31

The show must go on.

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!

35. Xavier Fernandez, C

DOB: 7/15/1995 (23 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 5’11″ 197′
Levels Played, 2018: A+, AA
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats (AA): 131 PA, .328/.382/.504/.886, 3 HR, 8 2B, 7.6% BB%, 13% K%, 138 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

Xavier Fernandez finds himself at #35 on our prospect list after destroying the Texas League for the last couple months of the 2018 season. Fernandez isn’t quite the defensive wizard behind the dish that Sebastian Rivero and MJ Melendez are, but he’s got a strong arm (threw out 41.4% of runners in the Texas League), is by all accounts serviceable defensively, and may be the Royals best offensive catcher in the system above AA. After missing the entire 2017 season due to injury, the Royals moved Fernandez to High-A Wilmington where he posted a 91 wRC+ and .141 ISO 36 games.

The Royals decision to leave Fernandez unprotected during the Rule 5 Draft this past off-season was a bit curious to me. A 23-year old catcher that just got done beating up on AA pretty well seems like the type of guy teams would want to take a chance on. There are currently just three catchers on Kansas City’s 40-man roster and one of them is Meibrys Viloria, who I can’t imagine the Royals are excited about rushing to the big leagues again if something were to happen to Salvy or Cam Gallagher. Fernandez hasn’t had the proper  development route through the minor leagues so far, given his injury and push to AA mid-season last year, but if either Salvy or Cam goes down in 2019, I think Fernandez is the next man up (until Viloria becomes ready for consistent big league at-bats).

34. Samir Duenez, 1B

DOB: 6/11/1996 (22 YO)
B/T: L/R
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 230′
Levels Played, 2018: AA
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2020
2018 Stats: 328 PA, .282/.357/.463/.820, 10 HR, 18 2B, 10.7% BB%, 20.7% K%, 120 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

Samir Duenez took massive strides in his development during his 2018 campaign. The injury bug slowed him down just a bit, but Duenez lit the Texas League on fire to end the season. The promotion of Ryan O’Hearn to the big league roster has created an opening at the AAA level, and had Duenez not been injured in 2018, I suspect he would’ve already seen time in AAA. However, O’Hearn’s utter dominance in the MLB should give him a big league spot to begin 2019, meaning we’ll finally get our first look at Duenez with Omaha.

Not known as much of a power hitter (especially as first baseman go), Duenez finally started hitting for more power in 2017. He hit a career best 17 HR in 566 PA and a .149 ISO to go with it. His PA/HR continued improving in 2018 and he posted a career best .181 ISO during his 3rd bout with AA. As Duenez’ power numbers have continued to climb, his GB% has continued to decrease. Combine that with a career best BB% in 2018 as well, and it’s clear that Samir Duenez is making all of the necessary changes to be a big league first baseman one day.

33. Kyle Zimmer, RHP

DOB: 9/13/1991 (27 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 225′
Levels Played, 2018: N/A
Acquired: 2012 MLB Draft
ETA: 2019
2017 Stats (AAA): 32.2 IP, 5.79 ERA, 4.79 FIP, 9.37 K/9, 4.41 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, 27.4% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: AAA

Kyle Zimmer is throwing baseballs 100 mph.

32. Rudy Martin, OF

DOB: 1/31/1996 (22 YO)
B/T: L/L
Ht/Wt: 5’7″ 155′
Levels Played, 2018: A+
Acquired: 2014 MLB Draft
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 314 PA, .232/.345/.359/.704, 4 HR, 13 2B, 29 SB, 12.4% BB%, 29% K%, 106 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: AA

Ironically, the name of the game for Rudy Martin is staying healthy. Martin was the healthiest he’s ever been during his professional career in 2018 and still missed some time on the DL. Martin’s biggest liability as a prospect is currently his bat-to-ball skills, which have undoubtedly been amplified by missing time due to injury. If Martin can have a 2019 campaign at AA in which he doesn’t miss any time on the DL, we may see a huge jump in his prospect stock. Martin may well be the fastest player in the entire system and he has a serious knack for getting on base. He hits for more power than you’d think as well, and he is so much fun to watch in the outfield. Martin has a ceiling somewhere in the Jarrod Dyson/Billy Hamilton range, and at the very least could potentially provide some Terrance Gore type value of the bench. That outfield at AA with Nick Heath, Khalil Lee, Blake Perkins, and Rudy Martin is going to cover some serious ground this year.

31. Delvin Capellan, RHP

DOB: 12/6/1998 (20 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 167′
Levels Played, 2018: Rookie
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2023
2018 Stats: 55 IP, 5.24 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 9.98 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, 1.31 HR/9, 32.5% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: Extended Spring Training

Delvin Capellan made waves all over the Royals prospect world in 2017 after he almost went an entire season in the DSL without giving up a run. Well, the runs allowed regression train hit hard in 2018 for Capellan, but I would consider his 2018 season to be much more successful and promising than his 2017 season despite the ERA.

As you can see, Delvin’s ERA did not match his peripheral statistics. Capellan flat out dominated hitters for most of his time in the AZL, he just got punished (badly) when the ball was in play. The Royals took five college pitchers with their first five picks of the draft, which meant there was no Nick Pratto or MJ Melendez types in the AZL for Kansas City this summer. The team overall wasn’t quite as good as years past and it showed up on Capellan’s stat line.

Capellan can flat out dominate at times and might be the Royals 3rd best teenage pitching prospect (we have him 4th). Capellan figures to take the 2018 Yefri Del Rosario path in 2019, meaning he’ll start the year in Extended Spring Training and finish the season with the Lexington Legends. Should we see continued improvement, Capellan could take Del Rosario like leaps in our prospect rankings. He’ll be a lot of fun to watch during the home stretch of the 2019 season.

 

 

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14 thoughts on “2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 35-31

  1. Looks like the Royals have a glut of AAA types as of now. Here who I have as potential starters and relievers for Omaha: Blewitt, A. Hernandez, Kalish, Barlow, Oaks, Griffin, Ogando and Lovvorn. Relievers include: Zimmer, Ynoa, Staumont, Lovelady, Adam, Newberry, Speier, Greene, Sparkman, Lively. 18 pitchers (and I’m probably missing a few) who have pitched at AAA level or are ready for promotion (Griffin/Speier).

    Who knows how the KC bullpen will shake out but they will keep one of Rule 5 (McWilliams and/or Ellis)? I also look for the Royals to pick a few veterans at end of winter – bargain bin types who are restarting career or didn’t get signed in off season.

    Any thoughts on how this works itself out? Injuries will play a part but that’s a lot of arms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree Dave. Have been saying for a month now that Royals have a major logjam from KC down to AA meaning some have to go before the season starts. I counted 21 pitchers vying for 12-13 spots at Omaha (although that was before Skoglund got sidelined so now 20).
      Going to be very hard for those A ball pitchers to move up this year unless Dayton stops shopping the bargain bins and does a little bit of house cleaning. Has a similar problem in the OF and IF.

      Like

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