Royals Farm Report’s 2020 Preseason Prospect Rankings: 40-36

Welcome back. This is now the third edition of our preseason prospect rankings here at Royals Farm Report. Before we get into the rankings, there is a lot that has changed here at the site that I want to catch you up on.

First of all, our founding father and fearless leader, Patrick Brennan (@paintingcorner), is now working on the analytics team for Kansas State Baseball. One of our writers, Joel Penfield (@jtpenfield), was picked up by 2080 Baseball doing scouting in the Texas League. Another writer and editor, Joshua Payton (@josh_payton), was hired by Excelsior Leader Sports as their new Director of Baseball Operations.

We’re all busy people, but with the turnover we’ve had recently things are going to be a little different around here. You’ll still see a lot of familiar names writing here, it may just be in different capacities. In any case, we’d like to like to sincerely thank all of you for reading along. As you can tell from above, this website has given our writers access to opportunities bigger and better than we ever could have imagined. We love sharing our love of Minor League Baseball, and of the Royals, with you, and we thank you for allowing us to do so.

You can check out or 2019 midseason top 75 here.

Without further ado, here are our 2020 preseason prospect rankings, 40-36.

#40: Wilmin Candelario, SS

  • Age: 18 (September 11, 2001)
  • Birthplace: Peravia, Dominican Republic
  • Bats/Throws: S/R
  • Ht: 5′ 11″ Wt: 165
  • Acquired: International Free Agent
  • 2019 stats (DSL): 213 PA, .315/.396/.505/.902, 4 HR, 19 XBH, 11 SB, 0.37 BB/K, 144 wRC+

Wilmin Candelario is on the short list for Royals positional prospect with the most helium heading into 2020. The kid is wildly gifted at the SS position, flashing real potential to be a five-tool type of player some day. He got off to something of a “slow” start to begin his professional debut in 2019, posting a 103 wRC+ through his first 69 PA, but he destroyed the baseball to the tune of a 164 wRC+ over his final 144 PA to end his rookie campaign. The kid will be just 18 years old for the entirety of his 2020 season, but if he can prove himself down in the Arizona league, or even in Burlington by season’s end, he could be a legitimate top 20 prospect in this system heading into 2021.

#39: Sebastian Rivero, C

  • Age: 21 (November 16, 1998)
  • Birthplace: Maracay, Venezuela
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Ht: 6′ 1″ Wt: 195
  • Acquired: International Free Agent
  • 2019 stats (WIL): 326 PA, .212/.270/.278/.548, 1 HR, 16 XBH, 2 SB, 0.25 BB/K, 60 wRC+

I add this caveat into almost all of Rivero’s write ups, but it’s important to note that at any point in time Rivero is capable of jumping from his current spot on the rankings into the top 15. The kid is an absolutely phenomenal defender behind home plate. He has a case, year in and year out, for best defender in the entire organization along with Melendez, Mondesi, Heath, etc. Rivero finally showed flashes of some offensive promise during the Legends’ SALLY Championship run back in 2018, but it fell apart again in Wilmington last season. If the bat ever comes around, even just a little bit, he’s going to be a big league baseball player because of his defensive prowess. At his current level, that is still a question that is up in the air.

#38: Michael Massey, 2B

  • Age: 21 (March 22, 1998)
  • Birthplace: Palos Park, IL
  • Bats/Throws: L/R
  • Ht: 6′ 0″ Wt: 190
  • Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (BUR): 192 PA, .272/.339/.399/.737, 5 HR, 12 XBH, 4 SB, 0.46 BB/K, 105 wRC+

Consider me a fan of one Michael Massey. Massey got off to a dreadful start during his professional debut last season, hitting just .217 with a 54 wRC+ through his first 65 PA, missing some time due to injury in there, but he closed out the year hitting .301 with a 131 wRC+ in his final 127 PA, helping lead Burlington to an Appalachian League Championship Series appearance. In a system that needs its hitters to take a step forward in 2020, Michael Massey is a good candidate to be something of a spark plug in Lexington. He and Vinnie Pasquantino could both make some noise in the Legends lineup and give some life back to this system.

#37: Jon Heasley, RHP

  • Age: 23 (January 27, 1997)
  • Birthplace: Plano, TX
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Ht: 6′ 3″ Wt: 215
  • Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (LEX): 112.2 IP, 3.12 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 9.59 K/9, 2.72 BB/9, 0.88 HR/9

Jon Heasley was a very pleasant surprise in 2019. He was a 13th round pick back in 2018, and wasn’t particularly good during his first go round at rookie ball. He absolutely dominated hitters in the South Atlantic League during his sophomore year in pro ball. Over 25 appearances last year, Heasley never allowed 5 ER in an outing and only allowed 4 ER runs twice, while firing 14 total outings allowing 0 or 1 run. He was the model of consistency in what was a loaded Legends rotation, and has earned himself a crack at Wilmington in 2020. If he keeps pitching like this, he’ll get a chance at AA before season’s end as well.

#36: Rylan Kaufman, LHP

  • Age: 20 (June 23, 1999)
  • Birthplace: Galveston, TX
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Ht: 6′ 4″ Wt: 190
  • Acquired: 2018 MLB Draft
  • 2019 stats (IDF): 5 IP, 3.60 ERA, 3 K, 1 BB

Kaufman has had a hard time staying healthy since joining the Royals organization out of San Jacinto CC (one of the most prestigious baseball JUCO’s in the country) back in 2018. However, when the kid is healthy, he is flat out filthy and a lot of fun to watch. You can’t teach kids to spin the baseball like he does. The video has since been deleted, but there was a video of Rylan throwing a curveball at San Jac a while back registering RPMs in the upper 2000’s. Kaufman is going to have to throw more than 8 innings to hold his spot here at midseason, but his stuff is too good to ignore for now.

 

You can check out or 2019 midseason top 75 here.

Photo Credits: PLPhoto2015 (@PPhoto2015)

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