Spring Training is well under way now in Arizona. The Royals now find themselves with a record of 4-3 and well on their way to winning the 2019 World Series. The best part about this start that the Royals are off to is arguably the fact that some of the best performances on the team thus far have come from prospects. Let’s take a look at some of the hot starts that Royals prospects have gotten off to.
#5: SS/2B Nicky Lopez
Lopez is off to a roaring start to 2019. He’s currently slashing .462/.500/.538/1.038 with a double and a stolen base. Lopez is almost certainly bound to begin the 2019 campaign with AAA Omaha, but if he hits anything like this while he’s there, he won’t be there long. He’s going to be a big leaguer very soon.
#69: OF Bubba Starling
Bubba Starling is off to the best start of any player in Royals camp. He’s slashing .667/.750/1.444/2.194 with 2 HR and a double in 5 games. On Thursday, he walked in both of his PA. There is almost no chance that Bubba breaks camp with big league club, unless his OPS is still over 2.000 at the end of Spring Training, but there’s a very real chance he’s with the team in June. The Royals still value speed and defense (obviously) and Bubba could offer up the perfect platoon partner for Brett Phillips in RF.
#22: C Meibrys Viloria
Viloria may very well be the Royals best option as a backup catcher right now, without ever taking an at-bat in AA. Viloria is a great receiver with a decent arm and the chance to hit for good power at the big league level. He’ll start probably start his season out with AA Northwest Arkansas, but he is slashing .333/.429/.833/1.262 with a HR and looks really good behind home plate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Kansas City again sometime this season.
#35: 1B Samir Duenez
Samir Duenez is very much a fringe prospect who could have a tough time finding playing time in Kansas City if Ryan O’Hearn finds big league success. He destroyed AA to end the 2018 season and should begin 2019 in AAA, but he could be there all year. He’s slashing .500/.600/.625/1.225 with a double so far in Arizona, and could put some pressure on the front office this year with Omaha. If Ryan O’Hearn should sustain any sort of significant injury in 2019, the next man up could very well be Samir Duenez (the the ire of Frank Schwindel fans).
#61: UTIL Erick Mejia
After a terribly disappointing 2018, Mejia has come out this spring slashing .444/.445/1.000/1.445. He’s a guy who could very easily have a role as a backup utility man in the big leagues, much like Chris Owings, in the future, but he’s gonna have to hit at the AAA level in 2019. He’s off to a roaring start, and I’m really hoping he can keep it up heading into the regular season.
#20: RP Josh Staumont
Josh Staumont has been the most impressive pitcher I’ve seen so far this spring. His fastball has been in the mid-90’s and his curveball is filthy. He has a 0.00 ERA and 2 K thus far through 3 IP…with NO WALKS. If he keeps this up, he’s making the big league club.
#33: RP Kyle Zimmer
Photo Credits: Minda Haas Kuhlmann (@Minda33)