Breaking down MLB Pipeline’s list of top 30 Royals prospects

Happy Pipeline Day everybody. In case you missed it, MLB Pipeline just released their list of the top 30 Royals prospects. Before this list came out yesterday, I previewed a few predictions for their list here at Royals Farm Report.

Before we get into the semantics of the list, let’s take a look at how MLB Pipeline graded out their list compared to us here at the site.

MLB Pipeline Royals Farm
1. Brady Singer 1. MJ Melendez
2. Khalil Lee 2. Brady Singer
3. MJ Melendez 3. Daniel Lynch
4. Daniel Lynch 4. Khalil Lee
5. Nick Pratto 5. Nicky Lopez
6. Seuly Matias 6. Jackson Kowar
7. Jackson Kowar 7. Seuly Matias
8. Nicky Lopez 8. Nick Pratto
9. Kris Bubic 9. Michael Gigliotti
10. Kyle Isbel 10. Yefri Del Rosario
11. Carlos Hernandez 11. Kyle Isbel
12. Yefri Del Rosario 12. Richard Lovelady
13. Michael Gigliotti 13. Arnaldo Hernandez
14. Kelvin Gutierrez 14. Austin Cox
15. Scott Blewett 15. Carlos Hernandez
16. Richard Lovelady 16. Kris Bubic
17. Brewer Hicklen 17. Gabriel Cancel
18. Emmanuel Rivera 18. Brewer Hicklen
19. Meibrys Viloria 19. Sam McWilliams
20. Yohanse Morel 20. Josh Staumont
21. Josh Staumont 21. Yohanse Morel
22. Austin Cox 22. Meibrys Viloria
23. Blake Perkins 23. Blake Perkins
24. Sam McWilliams 24. Charlie Neuweiler
25. Jeison Guzman 25. Kelvin Gutierrez
26. Daniel Tillo 26. Scott Blewett
27. Arnaldo Hernandez 27. Daniel Tillo
28. Sebastian Rivero 28. Jeison Guzman
29. Gerson Garabito 29. Nick Heath
30. Jonathan Bowlan 30. Emmanuel Rivera

Let’s start by reviewing my predictions from the other day:

  1. 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.” Check.
  2. 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…” Check.
  3. 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.” Boi.gif. I left Heath off my personal top 30, so maybe I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am to not see him here, but I really thought he had a chance to make this list today (obviously).
  4. 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 Austin Cox had a great debut in pro ball and moves backwards on this list? His ceiling is way higher than that of Josh Staumont, and his floor is left-handed Josh Staumont.
  5. My top 11 was close. They wound up pushing Gigs back and moving Carlos Hernandez into the 11 spot, but outside of the order, I got the other 10 right.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, here are some of my thoughts on this list as a whole.

  1. The Pipeline is finally coming around on MJ Melendez a bit. I still think they undervalue Melendez’ defense and offensive upside a great deal, but at least he’s moving up their list. Good on them.
  2. There has to be some kind of tip within the industry as to why Gabriel Cancel is so frequently left off of these lists. Everything I’ve seen from the kid would insinuate that he’s at LEAST in the Royals top 30, if not top 20 (I have him at 13). I’ve tried getting answers from people within the industry and have never gotten one. Maybe this is something we’re just gonna have to wait and see on, but the tradition of Gabriel Cancel being wildly undervalued, in our opinion, lives on.
  3. Look at you guys go. 36% of you voted Yefri Del Rosario as the best candidate to make a big jump on this list, and boy did he. All the way up from #23, Del Rosario finds himself in his rightful place towards the top 20. I still don’t understand ranking him ahead of Bubic (I’ve said something like this before and it backfired, hard), but I sure am happy to see the national acclaim heading his way.
  4. Same story for Yohanse Morel. This kid is special. I think it’s probably just a matter of time before everyone else realizes it as well.
  5. The biggest difference on these lists (in terms of guys who actually made the list) is Arnaldo Hernandez. Arnaldo is a really talented kid who just spent time in AAA and the AFL as a 22-year old. He doesn’t generate the swings and misses that you’d like to see yet, but with his newfound velocity (reportedly between 94-97), that should change over time. Arnaldo could very well find himself in Kansas City before the end of 2019 if he continues to pitch well. His floor is probably a middling reliever, but his ceiling is a legit mid-rotation guy.
  6. This is the best list that I’ve seen from MLB Pipeline in a long time. No one is perfect, but this list feels really really strong. The only overwhelming “No” I have on the entire list is Gerson Garabito, but I’m sure we have a couple they think that about too. The Royals system is on the up-swing, and anyone who hasn’t found out by now will soon. Unless someone really breaks out this spring, the Royals will probably be adding a new top prospect to their list with the #2 overall pick in June, giving this already deep class even more depth and top-end talent.


Photo Credits: Doc Riddle (@TheGrandOldGame)


2 thoughts on “Breaking down MLB Pipeline’s list of top 30 Royals prospects

  1. Pingback: Minor League Minutes for 2/23/19: Spring Training Opening Day | Royals Farm Report

  2. Pingback: Taking a look at Baseball America’s list of top 30 Royals prospects | Royals Farm Report

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