2019 Royals Farm Report Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: 75-61

Welcome back. This version of our prospect rankings will look eerily similar to the rankings we released in our E-Book right before the MLB Draft at the very beginning of June. We made some minor tweaks to the rankings themselves, but most of the changes will simply reflect the prospects that Kansas City added through the draft.

Please remember that these rankings mean absolutely nothing outside of a few peoples’ opinions. If we leave your favorite player off of our rankings, that doesn’t mean they won’t become a successful big leaguer. Please enjoy these rankings for what they are, our  opinions. As always, thank you for reading, and do enjoy the release of our newest Royals prospect ranking!

#75: Justin Hooper, LHP

  • Age: 22 (October 21, 1996)
  • Birthplace: San Mateo, CA
  • Bats/Throws: R/L
  • Ht: 6′ 8″ Wt: 238′
  • Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats: N/A

Justin Hooper is a very projectable lefty at UCLA, but missed the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John Surgery. He made just one relief appearance for UCLA this spring and comes to the Royals as a wild card from the 2019 draft. His fastball was capable of reaching the mid-90’s (this kid is 6-foot 8-inches by the way!!!) before TJS, but worked better in the 89-91 range due to a lack of control as he threw harder. Should Hooper rebound and get healthy, he’d be a very Evan Steele-like prospect to add to this system.

#74: Burle Dixon, OF

  • Age: 20 (October 15, 1998)
  • Birthplace: Sacramento, CA
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Ht: 6′ 5″ Wt: 185′
  • Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (Burlington): 25 PA, .143/.280/.238/.518, 1 3B, 2 SB

Dixon is a lanky center fielder with decent raw power but hasn’t accessed much of it in games yet. He hit .367 with 17 stolen bases at Cosumnes River College this spring with 9 doubles, a triple, and a home run. Dixon is very much a projectable pick that will be an offensive project. Should he pan out, the Royals would have an absolute steal from the 18th round.

#73: Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B

  • Age: 21 (October 10, 1997)
  • Birthplace: Richmond, VA
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Ht: 6′ 4″ Wt: 245′
  • Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (Burlington): 36 PA, .207/.351/.655/1.007, 4 HR, 1 2B

Power lefty that found a home run resurgence as a junior at Old Dominion. He also walked more than he struck out this spring. He’s already got 5 XBH with Burlington, as well as a BB/K ratio  of an even 1.00. One of my favorite under-the-radar picks from the 2019 draft class, Pasquantino’s profile reminds me a bit of Ryan O’Hearn should he continue along this path of newfound power.

#72: Andrew Beckwith, RHP

  • Age: 24 (March 22, 1995)
  • Birthplace: Blythewood, SC
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Ht: 6′ 0″ Wt: 180
  • Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (NWA): 27.2 IP, 3.58 ERA, 20 K, 12 BB

#71: J.C. Cloney, LHP

  • Age: 24 (August 3, 1994)
  • Birthplace: Castaic, CA
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Ht: 6′ 1″ Wt: 226
  • Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (NWA): 38 IP, 2.61 ERA, 29 K, 10 BB

#70: Josh Dye, LHP

  • Age: 22 (September 14, 1996)
  • Birthplace: DeLand, FL
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Ht: 6′ 5″ Wt: 180
  • Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (Lexington): 26.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 43 K, 6 BB

The lefty reliever has exploded onto the prospect scene this year, sporting one of the best K/BB ratios in all of minor league baseball. He doesn’t throw very hard, but he’s funky and gets the job done.

#69: Gabe Speier, LHP

  • Age: 24 (April 12, 1995)
  • Birthplace: Santa Barbara, CA
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Ht: 6′ 0″ Wt: 175
  • Acquired: Trade for Jon Jay
  • 2019 stats (NWA): 22.1 IP, 2.42 ERA, 28 K, 9 BB

Gabe Speier is a big league reliever. He joined the Omaha bullpen earlier this season and already has 13 K in 11.2 IP at AAA. Speier’s splits are a little worrisome. Righties get the better of him far more frequently than lefties do. However, even as a lefty-dominant reliever, Speier should have some value in a big league bullpen.

#68: Omar Florentino, SS

  • Age: 17 (October 26, 2001)
  • Birthplace: San Juan De La Maguana, Dominican Republic
  • Bats/Throws: S/R
  • Ht: 5′ 9″ Wt: 145
  • Acquired: International Free Agent
  • 2019 stats (DSL): 72 PA, .175/.347/.246/.593, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 SB

#67: Wilmin Candelario, SS

  • Age: 17 (September 11, 2001)
  • Birthplace: Peravia, Dominican Republic
  • Bats/Throws: S/R
  • Ht: 5′ 11″ Wt: 165
  • Acquired: International Free Agent
  • 2019 stats (DSL): 67 PA, .274/.324/.419/.743, 1 2B, 4 3B, 3 SB

Candelario and Florentino are quite a bit alike. Defensive minded athletes that are great defensive shortstops who could hit enough to become top 10 prospects in the system. With neither player having come stateside to play baseball just yet, it’s hard to rank them too high. Don’t be surprised if one or both are top 10 prospects by the end of 2020.

#66: Elier Hernandez, OF

  • Age: 24 (November 21, 1994)
  • Birthplace: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Ht: 6′ 3″ Wt: 197
  • Acquired: International Free Agent
  • 2019 stats (Omaha): 233 PA, .279/.333/.409/.743, 8 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 6 SB, 58 K, 16 BB

#65: Anderson Miller, OF

  • Age: 25 (May 6, 1994)
  • Birthplace: Lexington, KY
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Ht: 6′ 3″ Wt: 208
  • Acquired: 2015 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (NWA): 222 PA, .280/.321/.362/.684, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 8 SB, 54 K, 13 BB

I’m still waiting on both Elier Hernandez and Anderson Miller to start accessing some of their raw power in games. Watching Anderson Miller take batting practice is legitimately impressive. That doesn’t make him a good hitter, but he’s got WAY more power in his bat than 10 XBH at the mid-way point. Similar story with Hernandez. Both hitters are just too athletic to hit for so little power. Miller is fine defensively, but Elier Hernandez may be worse than Jorge Soler, meaning he’s not going to provide value without the bat. Neither of these guys are major leaguers at present, but the hope and waiting of MAYBE keep them both on the list.

#64: Eric Cole, OF

  • Age: 22 (January 17, 1997)
  • Birthplace: Southlake, TX
  • Bats/Throws: S/R
  • Ht: 5′ 11″ Wt: 170
  • Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (Lexington): 300 PA, .259/.331/.392/.723, 11 2B, 6 3B, 4 HR, 7 SB, 51 K, 30 BB

Eric Cole and Anderson Miller have similar stories for me. Cole is a bit newer in his development, but the lack of power without an elite defensive profile could leave Cole behind in the long-term.

#63: Xavier Fernandez, C

  • Age: 23 (July 15, 1995)
  • Birthplace: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Ht: 5′ 11″ Wt: 197
  • Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (Omaha): 60 PA, .291/.328/.455/.782, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 K, 3 BB

X has put on a bit of weight since last season, but he still looks like he’s doing great behind home plate. He’s an excellent receiver and blocker behind home plate and I’ve had a couple of Royals pitching prospects rave about his game calling/game management abilities. X threw out 20 of 34 potential base stealers (58.8%) in 2018 across A+ and AA, and has seen that number dip a bit to 7/18 (38.9%) in 2019. He’s not a fantastic thrower, but he should be serviceable even at the big league level. The question will be the bat. There’s an outside shot that, if Cam Gallagher doesn’t perform, X could be the backup to Salvador Perez in 2020.

#62: Jose Marquez, INF

  • Age: 21 (October 7, 1997)
  • Birthplace: Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
  • Bats/Throws: S/R
  • Ht: 6′ 0″ Wt: 175
  • Acquired: International Free Agent
  • 2019 stats (IDF): 28 PA, .400/.538/.400/.938, 2 SB

#61: Andres Sotillet, RHP

  • Age: 22 (March 2, 1997)
  • Birthplace: Cumana, Venezuela
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Ht: 6′ 1″ Wt: 175
  • Acquired: International Free Agent
  • 2019 stats (NWA): 43 IP, 3.98 ERA, 26 K, 19 BB

I was pretty excited to see what Sotillet could do coming into 2019. He outperformed one of KC’s top pitching prospects, Carlos Hernandez, in essentially every way in Lexington last year at the same age. Sotillet does not have great stuff. That’s his biggest downfall. I really thought he could be an Arnaldo Hernandez type, meaning he got in the gym, found an uptick in his “stuff,” and then zoomed up to AAA. No such luck so far, but after getting off to a rough start at AA, things have been looking up for Sotillet. Here are Sotillet’s 5-game rolling averages in K-BB% and Estimated Fly Ball Distance:

Sotillet Rolling K-BB%.png

Sotillet Est FB.png

If these trends continue for Sotillet, I really think he’s got a shot of making the big leagues. (It would be nice if he found an uptick in stuff too…)

 

Photo Credits: PLPhoto2015 (@PPhoto2015)

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