We’re all human, right? Unless the lizard people really have begun to invade our world, I’m gonna go with the, “We’re all human,” thing (looking at you Sammy Watkins).
So anyway, humans make mistakes. We made a few mistakes here at the site. By we, I mean mostly me, but it happens. I already addressed one of the errors when I wrote up the Royals #45-41 prospects. We miscounted the number of prospects on our “top 75” and accidentally had 76 players on the list. That’s not a huge deal, but our other two mistakes were a bit worse.
There are two prospects that we left off of our top 75 list that shouldn’t have been left off. Our official list was created from an aggregate of six individual lists. While I was shuffling through all six lists, I accidentally left two guys off the top 75 list that should never have been left off. Let’s talk about these two prospects and roughly where they should’ve been located on our top 75 list.
45-40. Rubendy Jaquez, 2B/3B
DOB: 2/3/1999 (20 YO)
Ht/Wt: 5’11″ 174′
Levels Played, 2018: Rookie
Acquired: International Free Agent
2018 Stats: 191 PA, .303/.389/.448/.837, 4 HR, 6 2B, 16 SB, 11.5% BB%, 17.8% K%, .145 ISO, 139 wRC+
Projected level to begin 2019: A
Rubendy Jaquez might be the most unknown legitimate prospect in the Royals system. After hitting the ball well in the DSL in 2017, Jaquez was promoted to the Arizona League to begin 2018 where he tore the cover off the baseball. He finished the 2018 campaign with nine games in Idaho Falls where he got even better. Among hitters to post at least 150 PA in the Arizona League in 2018, Jaquez posted the 14th best wRC+. Six of the hitters ahead of him were 20 years old or older.
Jaquez spent most of his time in 2017 at 2B, but was moved to 3B in 2018. The move hurts his prospect value a bit, but the bat is still rather impressive for a 19-year old. In the power department specifically, Jaquez’ bat is really impressive. He walks a lot, he doesn’t strike out too much, he hits for power, and he can run. The kid could potentially be a light five-tool player on the infield, which certainly has value in any system.
Jaquez’ potential ability to play multiple positions on the infield, as well as be a power and speed threat offensively could spell great things for his future. Oh, and, by the way, he switch hits too. You don’t get more versatile than that, and so far Jaquez has been nothing but productive at the plate. Look for him to spend most of the 2019 season in Lexington.
35-30. Rylan Kaufman, LHP
DOB: 6/23/1999 (19 YO)
Ht/Wt: 6’6″ 190′
Levels Played, 2018: Rookie
Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
2018 Stats: 5 IP, 1.80 ERA. 2.13 FIP, 12.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 0.0 HR/9, 80% GB%
Projected level to begin 2019: Extended Spring Training
Rylan Kaufman is a really interesting story. The Royals drafted him in the 12th round in the 2018 MLB Draft, but Kaufman received a bigger signing bonus than Royals 2nd round pick Jonathan Bowlan. Kaufman was a fairly highly sought after pitching prospect from JUCO powerhouse San Jacinto, but teams were unsure if he would sign. The Royals coughed up enough money to draw him away from SanJac and wound up with a really underrated LHP.
2019 should be a really exciting year for Kaufman. His fastball sits in the low-mid-90’s and his curveball is pretty nasty. Kaufman was really young for a JUCO kid last spring and performed really well despite his age. He’s basically the same age as most of the 2018 high school draftees with a year of JUCO ball under his belt. Kaufman is a guy Royals fans need to keep an eye on, because he could have a Charlie Neuweiler/Austin Cox type of rise through the system with a good 2019.