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!
#2: Daniel Lynch, LHP
- Age: 22 (November 17, 1996)
- Birthplace: Richmond, VA
- Bats/Throws: L/L
- Ht: 6′ 6″ Wt: 190
- Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
- 2019 stats (Wilmington): 55.1 IP, 3.09 ERA, 52 K, 15 BB
Daniel Lynch is close to unanimous top 100 prospect status. Baseball America currently has Lynch ranked at #84 overall, and MLB Pipeline currently has him at #70 overall. FanGraphs currently has Lynch right outside their top 120, but if Lynch hadn’t gotten hurt, and had been promoted to AA Northwest Arkansas like Jackson Kowar, I think he’d pretty unanimously be a top 100 prospect in baseball, and for good reason.
Daniel Lynch is filthy. The lanky lefty brings a fastball that can sit in the mid-90’s with a wicked slider. I recently saw Daniel Lynch at a Royals game in Kansas City and when you talk about long and lanky…my gosh. When Lynch is on the mound, there are a ton of limbs that are flying the hitter’s direction before the actual ball heads his way. There’s a ton of deception in the delivery, making 95 look more like 98.
The biggest knock against Daniel Lynch right now looks like some form of a forearm injury. Lynch hasn’t pitched since June 1st with “arm discomfort,” which doesn’t comfort me very much regarding his arm health. Lynch appears to be on a throwing program in Arizona, where he’ll likely work his way back, but I’ll reserve the right to be nervous about that left arm until he’s back in Wilmington throwing 95 again.
In terms of his pitching, there’s not much to not like about Lynch. His changeup could use some work. Every pitcher could afford to walk fewer hitters, I guess, but there’s not much that Lynch doesn’t do well. IF we find out that Lynch is healthy after all, I legitimately believe he can make his way to Kansas City in 2020.
#1: Bobby Witt Jr., SS
- Age: 19 (June 14, 2000)
- Birthplace: Colleyville, TX
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Ht: 6′ 1″ Wt: 190
- Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft
- 2019 stats (AZL): 23 PA, .227/.261/.227/.488, 2 SB, 2 K, 1 BB
Boy wonder. The chosen one. Bobby Witt Jr. appears to be the next great Royals prospect. It took me a while to come around on Bobby Witt Jr. He’s got the pedigree, the lineage, the power, the athleticism, the speed, everything you want in a #2 overall pick. Is he a little old for a high school kid? Sure. While I don’t think he’s a perfect prospect by any means, and I think FanGraphs has him in a perfect spot at #36 overall in baseball.
When I wrote up Erick Pena in our rankings, I mentioned that a lot of his prospect status, from our point of view, is in good faith to people a lot smarter than myself. Bobby Witt Jr. has played in just five minor league games. He’s the single most talented baseball player in the Royals system, but in terms of what I think he can be, it’s REALLY hard to tell until we get to see him play some more baseball. My favorite comp that I’ve seen for Bobby so far is Colorado Rockies SS Trevor Story. Story is about the same size as Bobby Witt Jr., he runs well, he plays phenomenal defense at SS, hits for a ton of power, strikes out a bit more than you’d like, walks plenty but not a ton, and has been worth 3.1 fWAR in just 77 games in 2019. I think we’d all take that from Bobby Witt Jr. without blinking.
I have to admit, that while I wound up coming around on Bobby Witt Jr. as the 2019 MLB Draft got closer, I still think a lot of Royals fans have expectations out of this world for the kid. The name Alex Rodriguez was irresponsibly thrown around in talks about Witt Jr. pre-draft, and I need you to know that just isn’t realistic. Alex Rodriguez is one of the best baseball players of all time (even before he cheated). Expecting that from a kid who has never left rookie ball is just absurd. Do I think Bobby Witt Jr. can be a perennial All-Star? Absolutely. Do I think Bobby Witt Jr. is the second coming of Alex Rodriguez? Of course not, but that is perfectly fine. The Royals got a dandy of a prospect in the 2019 draft, a franchise changing prospect, I just hope expectations are in line with reality, and not click bait.
Photo Credits: PLPhoto2015 (@PPhoto2015)