2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 10-8

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!

10. Yefri Del Rosario, RHP

DOB: 9/23/1999 (19 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’2″ 180′
Levels Played, 2018: A
Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 79 IP, 3.19 ERA, 4.47 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, 37.6% GB%, 12.1% SwStr%
Projected level to begin 2019: A+

This might be my favorite minor league free agent signing ever. The Atlanta Braves were forced to release a number of prospects last off-season and the Royals came away with arguably the best of the bunch in Yefri Del Rosario. Del Rosario struggled early on in his time with Lexington, but settled in nicely and finished with the 20th best ERA among starting pitchers to record 70+ IP in the SALLY last summer.

Del Rosario *might* have the highest ceiling of any starter in the Royals system. At just 18 years old, he lead the Lexington Legends in ERA (again, min. 70 IP) on a team that was stacked with talent. Here is a little sample of how Del Rosario compared to other prospects to pitch in the SALLY semi-recently:

  • Player A: 21 YO, 3.29 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, 12.1% SwStr%
  • Player B: 19 YO, 2.10 ERA, 9.54 K/9, 4.01 BB/9, 13.1% SwStr%
  • Player C: 20 YO, 3.01 ERA, 10 K/9, 2.93 BB/9, 12% SwStr%
  • Player D: 18 YO, 3.02 ERA, 7.87 K/9. 2.01 BB/9, 11.4% SwStr%
  • Yefri Del Rosario: 18 YO, 3.19 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 12.1% SwStr%

Player A is current Royals prospect Carlos Hernandez. Player B is current top 100 prospect DL Hall. Player C is current top 100 prospect Adonis Medina. Player D is current top 20 prospect Mike Soroka. Yefri Del Rosario matches up well with all of them and is the youngest of the bunch.

Sometimes it takes the national media a bit to catch up on the young guys, but it’s gonna be hard to ignore Del Rosario for long. If you go back and look at the path that Yordano Ventura took to the big leagues, Del Rosario figures to start in Wilmington next year. However, with the crop of college pitchers that are definitely going to start in Wilmington, I’m not 100% sure there’s going to be room.

One year after pitching in Low-A, Yordano Ventura found himself in AA. Yefri Del Rosario is more than capable, and I think there’s a pretty decent chance that he’ll find himself in Wilmington before June, but don’t be worried if he begins the season in Lexington. Once this kid gets going, he’ll have a really quick ascent to the big leagues.

9. Michael Gigliotti, OF

DOB: 2/14/1996 (22 YO)
B/T: L/L
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 180′
Levels Played, 2018: A
Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 24 PA, .235/.435/.471/.906, 1 HR, 1 SB, 25% BB%, 20.8% K%, 165 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: A

Michael Gigliotti might be the most forgotten about prospect in the Royals system. The Royals stole Gigliotti in the 4th round of the 2017 draft, and before Kyle Isbel did Kyle Isbel things in 2018, there was Michael Gigliotti in 2017. After destroying rookie ball to the tune of a 152 wRC+ in 2017, Gigliotti slashed .302/.378/.419/.797 with 7 SB in 100 PA in Lexington.

Gigliotti missed almost the entire 2018 season due to an ACL tear, but he absolutely shouldn’t be forgotten in this Royals system. He’s arguably the best defensive center fielder in system and he has ++ speed to go with it. He and Blake Perkins profile fairly similarly in the field and on the base paths, but Gigliotti is far more advanced at the plate. In fact, it wouldn’t be outlandish to say that Gigliotti is the single most polished hitting prospect in the organization not named Nicky Lopez.

The lost season in 2018 certainly hurts Gigliotti’s status, and it’s nearly impossible to know how he’ll recover. If his speed is affected, or his ability to defend in CF, then certainly his value will be affected. I expect Gigliotti will return to Lexington to begin 2019 as something of a tune up, and then will be promoted to Wilmington as soon as one of Isbel or Hicklen is promoted to AA. With that being said, Gigliotti may be the toughest guy to peg in the entire system in terms of where he’ll begin 2019. Regardless of where he starts, Gigliotti’s 2019 may be one of the 2-3 most important developments of the 2019 Royals minor league season.

8. Nick Pratto, 1B

DOB: 10/6/1998 (19 YO)
B/T: L/L
Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 195′
Levels Played, 2018: A
Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 537 PA, .280/.343/.443/.786, 14 HR, 33 2B, 22 SB, 8.4% BB%, 27.9% K%, 124 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: A+

We have finally arrived at the time when Nick Pratto appears on our list. Pratto, the Royals first selection in the 2017 draft, figured to headline this current Royals rebuild. He hit okay during his first professional season in the Arizona League in 2017, and continued to hit okay to begin 2018. Then May came and Pratto’s plate discipline went down the drain as he struck out 36 times and only walked 3 times in 103 PA.

June was worse. Pratto posted an OPS of .589 for the month, didn’t homer, and posted merely a 2:7 BB:K ratio. But what ever happened to Pratto after the All-Star Game turned the tides for not just his season, but his future valuation as well. Pratto slashed .322/.394/.518/.912 with a 10.1% BB%, a .196 ISO, and 159 wRC+ in 277 PA with 7 HR and 23 2B. Pratto caught fire, and the Lexington Legends went on to win the South Atlantic League title.

That’s kind of exactly what the Royals want though, isn’t it? Pratto, the Royals first round pick and face of the new rebuild, has already begun to fulfill his destiny. It’s not so different from Eric Hosmer, really, when Hosmer was drafted. Prep first baseman, first round pick, face of the rebuild, win championships in the minors. Right? Hosmer even struggled during his first full season in professional baseball too. He then went on to destroy High-A, AA, and AAA, forcing the Royals to call him up to the big leagues just 3 summers after being drafted out of high school.

Pratto and Hosmer are different prospects. With the relative success of the big league club compared to that 2011 team, there’s no telling whether or not Pratto will be ready to debut by 2021. The recent rise of Ryan O’Hearn may allow the Royals to take their time with Pratto, but don’t be shocked if he’s tearing up AA by the end of 2019. Pratto is a special talent, MLB Pipeline picked him as having the highest ceiling of ANY first base prospect in all of Minor League Baseball. He plays great defense, has a decent approach, hits for good power, and makes good contact. An influx of high-level college pitching and the #2 overall pick in 2019 may not allow Pratto to be the top prospect in the org like Hosmer once was, but if he keeps hitting the way he did after the All-Star break in 2018, not only will Pratto continue to find himself among the Royals top 10 prospects list, he might find himself in Kansas City sooner rather than later.

 

 

Photo Credits: Doc Riddle (@TheGrandOldGame)

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10 thoughts on “2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 10-8

  1. Del Rosario is my favorite prospect. If he were an American HS senior putting up those stats in Lexington last summer, he is easily top 50 prospect. Really looking forward to his 2018 Wilmington season. Great place to pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

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