Thoughts on our mid-season top 50 list before the draft

Here’s a quick collection of work we’ve done here at the site for the draft that you can catch up on before Sunday:

We’ve done a bunch of draft coverage here at the site, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for Sunday night. I truly think we are in for a great night with some fireworks that will lead to the Royals winding up with an excellent player in their system. As soon as the draft ends on Tuesday afternoon, we will begin work on getting an updated top 50 Royals prospects list out to you guys that will include some of the Royals 2021 draft selections. Before we give you the list next week, I’m going to quickly rattle off some thoughts about changes that will be coming to the list, due to graduations, big risers, and big time under performers as well.

Graduates from the Pre-Season List

  • #45 Grant Gambrell, RHP: Traded to the Boston Red Sox as a PTBNL in the Andrew Benintendi trade.
  • #28 Sebastian Rivero, C: He’s currently got like 30ish days of big league service time and you only maintain rookie eligibility through your first 45 days in the big leagues. He may not actually graduate by the end of next week, but he’ll be close enough to graduating that he doesn’t warrant leaving on the list for long.
  • #21 Nick Heath, OF: Traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Eduardo Herrera.
  • #12 Carlos Hernandez, RHP: Graduated from rookie eligibility.

Big Risers

  • #23 Nick Pratto, 1B: Pratto has a 156 wRC+ and has already clubbed 14 HR for AA Northwest Arkansas this season. His K% keeps going up and is starting to concern me a little bit, but the power is legit and he has answered a bunch of questions that folks had about him coming into 2021.
  • #30 Angel Zerpa, LHP: I wasn’t a huge believer in the fastball coming into 2021, but Zerpa has run his heater up to 96 mph this year and his K/BB ratios have been magnificent between A+ and AA. He’s still just 21 years old and has a ton of polish to go with good stuff.
  • #38 Jon Heasley, RHP: I’ve been impressed with Heasley’s pitchability. The K’s and the swing-and-miss stuff haven’t been outstanding but his ability to command the strike zone, change speeds, and keep hitters off balance will play at the big league level. He’ll be on the 40-man roster this offseason.
  • #50 Emmanuel Rivera, 3B: The raw power finally became relevant enough in games to give him a chance to play in the big leagues for a while.
  • #17 MJ Melendez, C: He’s arguably had the best overall season of the big three in NWA.
  • HM Omar Hernandez, C: Hernandez has struggled offensively as a teenager in Low-A, but his defense behind home plate has been outstanding.
  • UR Clay Dungan, 2B: Dungan made our 2B list preseason, but not our top 50. I did not know he could hit for the kind of power he’s shown in NWA. His max exit velo is up there with Pratto and Melendez. His rise this season has been incredible to watch.

Sliding Down the List

  • #10 Seuly Matias, OF: I really thought Seuly looked like he had made tangible changes in Spring Training. He has just 49 PA in full-season ball to this point and didn’t look good while he was doing it. It sucks to watch a player with his kind of ability struggle, but the track record is starting to fall away from his favor.
  • #14 Yohanse Morel, RHP: I am still a big believer in the stuff, but he has pitched purely in a relief role to this point in 2021 and hasn’t been very good in doing so.
  • #25 Brady McConnell, UTIL: McConnell has dealt with some challenges off the field that are certainly worth some consideration in his performance, but he’s been a DH more than he’s played the field and he’s hitting .198 with a 39.7% K%. Not ideal for a 23-year old in Low-A.
  • #41 Ismael Aquino, RHP: The fastball is pretty good but the breaking ball raises some questions and the command hasn’t been great in Low-A. Purely a reliever.

So there ya go. In case you want to read up on our pre-season top 50 list, you can do so here. Obviously, Bobby Witt Jr. will still be #1 mid-season regardless of who the Royals draft. I think it’s more than likely that Lynch, Lacy, and Kowar remain in the top 5 of our list regardless of who is drafted as well, and regardless of their performances in 2021. They may get shuffled around, but I don’t think we’re going to drop them out just yet. The stuff is too good to worry too much about a couple of months. Based on past drafts and the current state of the farm, if I had to take a guess, there will *probably* be 5 players drafted by the Royals in 2021 that make it into our top 50 list at mid-season. Part of that is guys graduating, part is guys falling down, and part is the fact that having 5 picks in the first 4 rounds helps with the overall talent pool as well.

We’ll have more after the draft. Thanks as always for reading.

Photo Credits: Ryan Griffith (@ryanrgriffith)

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on our mid-season top 50 list before the draft

  1. Pingback: Minor League Minutes for 7/19/2021: Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto to AAA Omaha | Royals Farm Report

  2. Pingback: Minor League Minutes: 7/21/2021 | Royals Farm Report

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