It’s Opening Day for the minor leagues! The Royals have four affiliates in action today. The Storm Chasers will open in Memphis. The Naturals hope to play with some rain in the forecast hosting the Springfield Cardinals. The Blue Rocks will be hosting Salem. And Lexington is hosting Delmarva.
So here are my predictions for the upcoming season.
Overall Top Prospect at the end of the season: MJ Melendez
Overall Top Pitching Prospect at the end of the season: Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch close behind
Position Prospect to move up the rankings the most: Cristian Perez
Pitching Prospect to move up the rankings the most: Yohanse Morel
Relief Pitching Prospect moving up the rankings the most: Tyler Zuber
Team Championship: NWA Naturals
Position Prospect with the Highest Chance of Sticking with the Royals This Year: Nicky Lopez
Pitching Prospect with the Highest Chance of Sticking with the Royals This Year: Richard Lovelady and Heath Fillmyer
I picked MJ because I feel he is underrated and will fly up the ratings as this season progresses. He is a solid over package and has potential to be one of the top catching prospects in baseball by the end of the year.
I think Singer will keep his status but I also think Lynch will have an incredible year. So I gave you one RHP and one LHP. Singer is going to be a potential top of the rotation guy. But I think Lynch will do the same. Now, there are some other arms I think will be really good as well but they won’t quite have the same prospect status as these two.
Perez is a guy we haven’t talked about a lot but he is really good and should break out. He is the younger brother of Hernan Perez and had a really good under the radar season in 2018. He will be play this season at 20 years old. He makes good contact only striking out 94 times in his 691 minor league at bats over three years.
Morel we already know is very good I think he will fly up the rankings. He throws hard and should put up some high strikeouts numbers while limiting base runners. He will be 18 for most of this season and already does a good job limiting walks and has a K/9 close to 10.0 in two years.
Tyler Zuber throws mid-90s and has a really good breaking ball. I think he’ll put it all together this season and be a shut down reliever. He could end up all the way in Omaha by the end of the season.
The Naturals are good now and could win the first half but as the talent from Wilmington moves up the ladder they will be really good. I’m specifically thinking about starting pitching as Singer, Lynch, and Kowar all should move into this rotation by the end of the season. Wilmington should win their first half, but then they’ll deal with the lose of those starting pitchers.
I picked Nicky because I think Owings will be moved along at some point and Lopez be the guy to get the second base job. Whit will move to the outfield almost full time unless Bonifacio and Phillips are sending baseballs into orbit. Of course, we all know that GMDM and Yost aren’t big on young guys and would rather have veterans filling out their roster. So this is a total shot in the dark.
Lovelady will stick once the Royals decide to bring him up so I listed him. Fillmyer was expected to make the team as it was but just had some rough outings in the spring. Staumont and Lenik could get a chance as well but I don’t think either sticks in their first attempt in the bigs.
I’d love to hear your predictions. Send them to @RoyalsFarm and @AwzRocks or post them in the comments.