As some of you probably know, MLB Pipeline will release their top 30 prospect lists for each team in the AL Central tomorrow (unless that team is in the top 10 in organizational rankings, which the Royals certainly will not be). Every year, I love to breakdown MLB Pipeline’s list and compare it to our own here at Royals Farm Report. Last February, for example, the top 3 guys were pretty unanimous. Both MLB Pipeline and ourselves had Khalil Lee, Seuly Matias, and Nick Pratto in the top 3.
Sometimes, however, MLB Pipeline likes to throw us a little wrinkle. Like last February, when they threw Carlos Hernandez all the way up to #14 on their Royals prospects list. Here’s what I wrote regarding Hernandez at the time:
“Carlos Hernandez at number 14 surprised the heck out of me. I like Hernandez. I think he has a ton of upside. He’s 6′ 5″, throws in the mid-90’s, and struck out 62 batters in 62.1 IP last season with rookie league Burlington. In 12 appearances (11 starts) he produced an ERA of 5.49 (4.89 FIP) and a K/BB ratio of 2.30. He has a chance to break out this season at Lexington and we probably have him ranked far too low at Royals Farm Report (currently have him at 100). That being said, I’m not sure how you rank him ahead of Daniel Tillo, Burch Smith, or Richard Lovelady. Maybe there’s something there that we haven’t seen. I hope we’re in for a great surprise in 2018 with Hernandez.”
Funny how time has its way of humbling even the best of us, eh?
I’m kidding. As much as these rankings mean and don’t mean, they’re always fun to look at and in the case of MLB Pipeline, it’s fun to get a view on what the national media thinks of the Royals system. The Pipeline gets a lot of intel from front offices, so often times (like with Hernandez) we’re getting a first-hand look at what some of these teams think of their own systems.
Before we get into my predictions for MLB Pipeline’s rankings, here’s what we know so far:
- They have Brady Singer #1, as he’s the Royals only top 100 prospect.
- They have Khalil Lee #2, as he was the Royals pick for closest non-top 100 prospect.
- They gave Nick Pratto a 50 FV grade and said he has the highest ceiling of any 1B prospect in baseball.
- They gave MJ Melendez a 50 FV grade and said he hast the highest ceiling of any catching prospect in baseball.
- They had Daniel Lynch as a “Player to watch” on their list of top 10 LHP prospects.
- At the end of 2018, they gave 10 Royals prospects a 50 FV grade.
Based on the information above, here is what I think MLB Pipeline’s list of top 11 Royals prospects will look like:
- Brady Singer, 55 FV
- Khalil Lee, 50 FV
- Seuly Matias, 50 FV
- Daniel Lynch, 50 FV
- MJ Melendez, 50 FV
- Jackson Kowar, 50 FV
- Nick Pratto, 50 FV
- Nicky Lopez 50 FV
- Kris Bubic, 50 FV
- Kyle Isbel, 50 FV
- Michael Gigliotti, 50 FV
Again, that prediction is based on what we know from their top 100, almost top 100, top 10 positional lists, and top 30 list at the end of 2018. I put Isbel over Gigliotti there because I think MLB Pipeline will be viewing this with a bit of recency bias. I personally have Gigs over Isbel, though it’s close, but remember this is a prediction.
Here are some other things I expect from MLB Pipeline tomorrow:
- There is going to be a surprise. It seems like MLB Pipeline always throws a pitcher into the Royals top 30 that makes some people look sideways. In 2016 they threw Garrett Davila in there. In 2017 it was Gerson Garabito. In 2018 it was Ofreidy Gomez and Carlos Hernandez. They’re a bit hit-or-miss, but they’ve always got something new for us. This year, I think that surprise could come in the way of Yohanse Morel. Morel was really good in the AZL last summer and doesn’t turn 19 until August. Chalk me up for Morel in the top 25.
- Multiple guys are going to fall off the list as well. Foster Griffin, Ofreidy Gomez, and Trevor Oaks all feel like candidates to fall off of MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Royals prospects list, meaning there will be room for some more young guys to step in like….
- Nick Heath will make his first appearance on an MLB Pipeline list. His showing in the Arizona Fall League propelled him into Jim Bowden’s top 200 prospects list. Heath has 80-grade speed, plays great defense in the outfield, and gets on base at an elite clip. I think he’s a lock to make his first appearance on this list.
- I think Austin Cox is set to make a jump on this list too. Much like Carlos Hernandez last year, the Royals really like Austin Cox. They valued him as a late first round/early second round pick and somehow managed to swing him in the fifth. Given MLB Pipeline’s tendencies to lean on the front office’s opinion in the past, I like Austin Cox as a good candidate to rise from 18 into the top 13-14.
So there ya go. That’s what I’m foreseeing for MLB Pipeline’s list tomorrow. I’ll have a more thorough breakdown of their list and tell you all about why they’re wrong tomorrow when I can actually see the list.
Photo Credits: John Sleezer, KC Star