|1||Witt Jr.||Witt Jr.||Witt Jr.||Witt Jr.|
|15||Tillo||C. Hernandez||B. Hernandez||Cox|
This is a fun exercise that we’ve kind of always done here at the site that we actually had some requests for this year. I wanted to wait until Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs had a chance to release his list. This system has some depth to it for the first time in what feels like a long time, and while Eric and ourselves went 50+, we kept it at 30 for today because that’s all that MLB Pipeline and Baseball America go to. You’ll notice that we are the only ones who remove players with any kind of significant big league time. Kelvin Gutierrez, Kris Bubic, and Ronald Bolanos, for example, all would’ve made our top 30 had we decided to include them (Bubic actually graduated yesterday).
Some quick thoughts:
- Lucius Fox, Scott Blewett, Ben Hernandez, and Tyler Gentry are a few names you’ll see on other lists that you won’t find on ours. I like Gentry a good bit but I’d like to see him play professionally before buying in as a top 30 guy in this system. Lucius Fox and Scott Blewett don’t really have any business being that high in my opinion. Ben Hernandez’ absence from our list wasn’t so much a knock on him as it was faith in the Royals to develop a prep pitcher. Hernandez is heading to Low-A to start the year and his curveball has apparently done a complete 180 since being drafted so there’s actually a ton of optimism regarding his future at the moment. He could very easily pitch his way into our top 30 by midseason with a good pro debut.
- I thought we’d always be the high folks on Charlie Neuweiler. It’s good to see Longenhagen share some similar optimism about the young righty’s potential. Neuweiler’s pitchability and offspeed stuff are legit. His sinker also moves a ton, I just don’t love that it’s 89-91. If he ever finds a consistent ability to throw it 94, he’s a top 20 guy in the org.
- I don’t love the way FanGraphs does their rankings but Josh Dye at #20 is kind of intriguing. He reminds me a little of Tim Hill and Alex Claudio. LHP with a wacky delivery that should give LHH fits. His advanced changeup could also keep righties at bay. I’ve never seen this personally, but Longenhagen had Dye at 91 on the sinker which is an absolute game changer. Dye will begin the year at AA but if he pitches well I could absolutely see him in the big leagues in September. 91 mph makes all the difference for him.
- I was starting to think about coming off of Kowar a bit, much like FG did by moving him to #8 in the system, but Baseball America and MLB Pipeline still have him #4 and Baseball America still has him in their top 100. It’s easy to see a mid-rotation starter in Kowar, but it’s easy to see why some think he’s destined for the bullpen. If the Royals can fix his fastball, he’s a legitimate starter. If not, he could be a legitimate weapon out of the bullpen. Think Fernando Rodney or peak Ryan Madson.
- I actually kind of like how FG had their pitchers ranked. Lacy, Lynch, Marsh, Kowar. If you made me reevaluate my rankings today, I’m not sure mine would look any different. That could change if Daniel Lynch shoves tonight, though. I can’t wait to get an extended look at the kid, and the rest of the prospects tomorrow for that matter.
Photo Credits: Ryan Griffith (@ryanrgriffith)