2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 7-6

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!

7. Seuly Matias, OF

DOB: 9/4/1998 (20 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’3″ 200′
Levels Played, 2018: A
Acquired: International Free Agent
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 374 PA, .231/.303/.550/.853, 31 HR, 13 2B, 6.4% BB%, 34.8% K%, .320 ISO, 138 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: A+

Since 2006, here is a list of players to post both a 30+% K% and .300+ ISO in the South Atlantic League (min. 250 PA):

  • Seuly Matias
  • Joey Gallo

That’s everyone. Joey Gallo currently has a career 109 wRC+ and 88 home runs in 310 games. So he’s doing pretty well, but Seuly Matias is swimming in mostly uncharted territory. He’s got (debatably) 80-grade raw power and it started translating to games at an elite level in 2018. He was leading the entire minor leagues in home runs for most of the season, but an injury cost him the last month of the season.

There’s not a prospect in the Royals system with a higher ceiling than Seuly Matias. If he cuts down on the K% and holds the power, he’s a top 25 prospect in baseball. Seuly plays a good enough RF to have value playing every day there, and his power is among the elite in all of baseball. Matias’ intrigue has stumped most evaluators, as MLB Pipeline and Baseball America don’t even have him in their top 100 lists (h/t to Baseball Prospectus for believing).

So here we are at #7 on the Royals list. The undisputed highest ceiling in the system doesn’t crack the Royals top 5 list. Why?

If you want to excite yourself about Seuly Matias, go ahead and sort through the database over at FanGraphs with all of the power records to be posted in the SALLY. If you want to know why he’s not a top 100 prospect, sort through the plate discipline numbers.

It’s not often that a hitter with a >30% K% and <10% BB% find long-term success in professional baseball. It does happen on occasion, but it’s extremely rare. Hence the skepticism of prospect evaluators. What do you do with Seuly Matias then? Do you focus on the positive, the elite power? Or do you focus on the unavoidable negative, the wild strike out rates?

That much is up to you. Rarely do you find a player that does both at such extreme levels. Will the power win out? Will the strikeouts be too much to over come? Watching Seuly develop is going to be the fun part.

6. Jackson Kowar, RHP

DOB: 10/4/1996 (22 YO)
B/T: R/R
Ht/Wt: 6’5″ 180′
Levels Played, 2018: A
Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
ETA: 2021
2018 Stats: 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 7.52 K/9, 4.10 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, 58.3% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: A+

Jackson Kowar may be my favorite pick of the entire 2018 draft for Kansas City. I mentioned it on our podcast last week, but I personally have Jackson Kowar listed as the Royals #2 prospect. It’s rare that you find a 6′ 5″ pitcher with a 95 mph fastball with late movement and a 60-grade changeup. Kowar’s fastball/changeup combo are among the best that I’ve ever seen from a 22-year old. Think back to how good James Shields’ fastball/changeup combo was, but taller and with more velocity.

One of the reasons that Kowar fell to Kansas City at 33 involved some inconsistency at the University of Florida. He can struggle with his command at times and his breaking ball is wildly inconsistent. He has outing where he absolutely dominates, and he has outings where he struggles. The reason that I have Kowar at #2 on my personal Royals list is is for those dominant outings. The outings where he strikes out the entire lineup and looks worlds better than his peers. When his breaking ball finds the strike zone and his fastball reaches upwards of 97 mph. That’s what I’m holding out for. I don’t think we’ve even begun to scratch the surface of what Jackson Kowar can be yet.

Photo Credits: PLPhoto2015 (@PPhoto2015 on Twitter)


6 thoughts on “2019 Royals Farm Report Prospect Rankings: 7-6

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  6. Pingback: 2019 Royals Farm Report top 75* prospects | Royals Farm Report

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