In case you missed it, Royals Farm Report gave you the first look at your minor league rosters for the Royals farm system heading into 2019:
Here are a couple of insta-reactions to these rosters before we get a chance to see how the players on them will be utilized:
1.) Don’t sleep on that team in Northwest Arkansas. The attention will of course be on the team opening up in Wilmington (Pratto, Melendez, Matias, etc.), but that Naturals team ought to make some noise as well. I am stoked to see that Gabriel Cancel and Emmanuel Rivera got the promotion to AA after less than elite performances in Wilmington last year. I was afraid they could be held back, but on to AA they go. Add them into a lineup with the likes of Khalil Lee, Anderson Miller, and Samir Duenez, and that could be a very potent lineup in the Texas League.
2.) Okay, so, that Wilmington roster…it’s crazy how loaded they are. Almost the entire core looks like they could be in Northwest Arkansas over the course of the 2019 season. I have no idea who will get the preference in terms of promotions, but if the entire lineup hits…look out. NWA is going to be so much fun come August.
3.) No Scott Barlow or Kyle Zimmer or Chris Ellis in the rotation for Omaha, meaning that they must be on the big league roster, or cut in the case of Chris Ellis. I could not be more excited about Barlow and Zimmer making the Opening Day roster. This Royals bullpen might actually be a formidable force after all.
4.) Nathan Esposito is a name to keep an eye on. He’s 26 years old and quite frankly won’t ever hit enough, but I have heard several pitchers in the system refer to Esposito as one of the best defenders in the entire organization. At some point you have to hit, even Tony Pena Jr. didn’t make it as a glove only, but he keeps climbing the ladder and the pitchers love him.
5.) The Lexington Legends are going to be a fun team to watch again in 2019. Don’t stop going to games, Legends fans, just because the 2018 class graduated. Rubendy Jaquez, Jeison Guzman, Michael Gigliotti, Chase Vallot, Nathan Eaton, Charlie Neuweiler, etc etc etc, ought to have another great team in the South Atlantic League once again.
6.) Expect some, what we call, “Phantom DL” stints early on. Some of these rosters are a bit too big and there will be some guys that open on the DL to make room. Some are probably fine, others maybe not, but these rosters probably aren’t as final as you’d think.
7.) I’m excited to see the rotation play out in Omaha. Scott Blewett looked great in the Arizona Fall League as did Arnaldo Hernandez. Hopefully they’ll create a formidable rotation at AAA to help that team stay in competition for our fans up north.
Photo Credits: PLPhoto2015 (@PPhoto2015)