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!
#15: Yefri Del Rosario, RHP
- Age: 19 (September 23, 1999)
- Birthplace: Miches, Dominican Republic
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Ht: 6′ 2″ Wt: 180
- Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
- 2019 stats: N/A
Yefri Del Rosario was one of my favorite prospects in this entire system heading into 2019. As an 18-year old in the South Atlantic League last year, Del Rosario held his own and looked dominant at times down the stretch. The young righty that Kansas City got out of the Braves debacle, Del Rosario has missed the entire 2019 season to date with a forearm injury.
When Del Rosario is healthy, he’s one of the best pitching prospects in the system. His fastball is electric and shows flashes of being plus-plus. His breaking ball has some really nice, late break to it. His changeup shows flashes of being good but is more in a development stage right now. Over his last six starts in 2018, Del Rosario fired 36 IP with a 0.75 ERA, with 29 K to just 10 BB. The kid was absolutely dominant at a level where the average hitter was over 21 years old. It doesn’t sound like we’ll see much of Del Rosario in 2019, but if he comes back healthy in 2020, he’s a top five pitching prospect in this system, in my opinion.
#14 Nick Pratto, 1B
- Age: 20 (October 6, 1998)
- Birthplace: Huntington Beach, CA
- Bats/Throws: L/L
- Ht: 6′ 1″ Wt: 195
- Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft
- 2019 stats (Wilmington): 302 PA, .169/.265/.263/.528, 5 HR, 10 2B, 13 SB, 108 K, 33 BB
The Royals first pick in the 2017 MLB Draft looked fantastic as a teenager in the South Atlantic League last summer. Pratto started off on fire, hit a little bit of a mid-season lull, and then almost single-handedly (Brewer Hicklen played a huge part as well) carried the Lexington Legends offense to a South Atlantic League title in 2018.
I don’t know what happened to Pratto last July, but the kid went absolutely bonkers to end the season. That has not translated to the Carolina League in 2019, obviously. Pratto and his sub-.550 OPS and >35% K% have been rather worrisome for most of the year. Pratto isn’t the only one, obviously, but he’s been arguably the worst of the bunch.
Luckily for Royals fans, he’s started to turn things around of late. Over his last 60 games or so, Pratto’s OPS and ISO have actually been above his career averages:
The bulk of Pratto’s struggles can not and should not be ignored, but it is nice to see him turning things around, even if it’s very slowly. Pratto’s playing first base doesn’t help himself much in our prospect rankings, as he can’t save some of his value by playing an elite position (like Melendez). Pratto is going to have to hit a ton in order to live up to his first round pick, and while he hasn’t done so yet in 2019, we’ve seen him go on late runs before, and we may be in the middle of one right now.
#13: Brady McConnell, SS
- Age: 21 (May 24, 1998)
- Birthplace: Hanover, PA
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Ht: 6′ 3″ Wt: 195
- Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft
- 2019 stats (IDF): 40 PA, .371/.476/.629/1.105, 1 HR, 6 2B, 1 SB, 11 K, 5 BB
Brady McConnell, the Royals second pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, reminds some of the Royals first pick, Bobby Witt Jr. Bobby Witt Jr., the #2 overall pick in the entire draft, is supposed to have it all. Power, speed, athleticism, pedigree, etc. McConnell has all of that to a lesser degree, and the Royals were thrilled to be able to snag him in the second round this June.
The Royals drafting of Brady McConnell may have even been more genius than some may think. As Marcus pointed out shortly after the draft, Brady McConnell was a draft eligible sophomore that could’ve returned to the University of Florida for one more season to improve his draft stock. After posting a 1.001 OPS this spring, the Gators would’ve happily taken their starting SS back, giving McConnell a chance to propel himself into top 10 conversation for the 2020 MLB Draft.
Time will tell if the Royals gamble on McConnell will pay off, but the kid has been on an absolute tear to start his professional career. I think there’s a chance that, this time next year, we’re sitting here talking about how Brady McConnell was the Kyle Isbel of the 2019 draft for KC. Isbel, who hasn’t appeared on our top 75 list just yet, was destroying the Carolina League before getting injured in April. McConnell has that kind of helium in him, and I’m stoked that the Royals were able to get him signed this year.
#12: Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B
- Age: 24 (August 28, 1994)
- Birthplace: Pimentel, Dominican Republic
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Ht: 6′ 3″ Wt: 215
- Acquired: Trade for Kelvin Herrera
- 2019 stats (KC): 79 PA, .260/.304/.356/.660, 1 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 SB, 24 K, 5 BB
Kelvin Gutierrez is the only player that made our list that has also made his big league debut (we took Richard Lovelady off even though he’s technically still prospect eligible). Gutierrez is a great athlete for being as big as he is, and while he hasn’t hit for much power in Omaha this year, I think there’s a ton of untapped power in his swing. Gutierrez still hits far too many ground balls, but his swing looks lightyears better now than it did when he came over from Washington last summer.
At his peak, I think KG can be a great defensive third baseman with good on base skills and inconsistent pop for a contending team. At worst, I think he’s a great bat coming off the bench and a defensive replacement if needed in the later innings. It’s my opinion that the Royals have done a great job helping KG develop his swing, and if the trend continues, I think the Royals are going to have a good problem on their hands in 2020 when choosing a starting infield.
#11: Seuly Matias, OF
- Age: 20 (September 4, 1998)
- Birthplace: La Isabela, Dominican Republic
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Ht: 6′ 3″ Wt: 198
- Acquired: International Free Agent
- 2019 stats (Wilmington): 221 PA, .148/.259/.307/.566, 4 HR, 10 2B, 4 3B, 2 SB, 98 K, 25 BB
All four of Seuly’s home runs in 2019 came in a three game stretch in mid-April, and that’s about all you need to know regarding his season. Seuly has struck out in over 44% of his PA in 2019 and that number was not improving much before he hit the IL with a hairline fracture in early June.
Despite Seuly’s immense struggles this season, he’s here for one reason: he’s the Royals prospect with the best chance of winning an MVP award. The kid’s ceiling is absolutely enormous if he can ever figure out how to make more consistent contact. Not that an injury could ever be good for someone, but maybe this little reset will be good for Matias’ psyche. When he’s going good, is one of (if not the) best power threats in all of Minor League Baseball. Hopefully, for the Royals’ sake, 2018 Seuly will make a triumphant return down the playoff stretch for Wilmington.
Photo Credit: Ryan Griffith (@ryanrgriffith)