RFR’s 2021 Mid-Season Royals Prospect Rankings: 21-30

Ah, yes, it is that time again. Thank you all very much for following us along the last four years. It was just over a month ago in 2017 when our Founding Father, Patrick Brennan, released our very first top 30 prospects list. And now, in July of 2021, we will have the fifth edition of our mid-season rankings here at Royals Farm Report. Here are the links to the previous years’ mid-season rankings and the first piece of our 2021 rankings:

Here are the next 10 players on our 2021 list:

#30: Luca Tresh, C

  • Acquired: 2021 MLB Draft (17th Round)
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Age: 21
  • 2021 Stats (College): 229 AB, .231/.310/.476/.786, 15 HR, 25 XBH, 71 K : 24 BB

I gotta tell you, I thought there was no way Kansas City could pull this off. I thought for sure Tresh was heading back to school before reporting yesterday that it was more than likely Tresh would sign with the team. Tresh has some crazy bat speed that leads to some serious raw power. He got off to a really good start this past spring before cooling way off as the season went on. He led the NC State Wolfpack to the College World Series and you could tell how important his presence behind home plate was to his pitching staff all spring. He was ranked in the top 80 of the draft rankings at Baseball America and FanGraphs while coming in at 101 at MLB Pipeline, and the Royals were able to snag him in the 17th round and talk him out of returning to school next fall. I personally wouldn’t have Tresh this high on our rankings, I don’t think, but I was pretty well in the minority in that regard so I think starting him here is fair (though I should have waited until he signed to made that official). In any case, he’s obviously a fantastic add for the Royals farm system, especially in the 17th round, and he’s got a chance to push Kale Emshoff for the title of second best catching prospect in the system behind MJ Melendez.

#29: Tucker Bradley, OF

  • Acquired: 2020 UDFA
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Age: 23
  • 2021 Stats (A+): 195 PA, .311/.398/.476/.874, 2 HR, 19 XBH, 46 K : 24 BB, 140 wRC+

Big Tucker Bradley guy here. We ranked him as our 31st best prospect preseason and he has not disappointed offensively. I think the overall tools kind of hold down his “ceiling” so-to-speak, but his hit tool has been fantastic and I’ve been impressed with his approach at the plate as well. He doesn’t hit for a ton of power, he doesn’t run blazing 60’s, and he’s not a 60-grade fielder or anything, but he just hits, man. Line drives all over the field and he knows how to take a walk every once in a while. I think his ceiling is probably that of a 4th OF that mostly plays against RHP if he makes it to the big leagues, but he’s got a solid floor as well because of how often he’s able to put solid contact in play. This may be a little high for a guy that I don’t think has 20 HR or 20 SB in his future, but he can really hit, and there’s value in that.

#28: Anthony Veneziano, LHP

  • Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft (10th Round)
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Age: 23
  • 2021 Stats (A+): 56 IP, 4.66 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 13.34 K/9, 4.66 BB/9

I have loved what I have seen from Anthony Veneziano this season. He’s a reliever long-term, but I think he could be a really good LHP out of the bullpen. He pumps 98 mph at times in starts which makes me think it’s possible there’s even more in there in shorter stints. He’s got some mild control issues, and he’s been really prone to HR lately, but again, if you can keep him in shorter stints, I think you’re looking at a Jake Brentz type of arm here out of the ‘pen. On the off chance that he starts, he reminds me of a really young Danny Duffy with electric stuff that becomes rather inefficient given the command issues. In any case, I really think you have a big leaguer here.

#27: Will Klein, RHP

  • Acquired: 2020 MLB Draft (5th Round)
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Age: 21
  • 2021 Stats (A+): 42.1 IP, 4.04 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 13.82 K/9, 6.59 BB/9

Like Anthony Veneziano, but right handed, younger, and no chance to start long-term it would seem. Klein’s stuff is off the charts. He runs his fastball up to 101 mph and his curveball, while inconsistent, has some really good shape to it at times and it helps when you’re throwing it while being 6′ 5″. I think Klein has borderline closer potential when he reaches the big leagues thanks to what should be a dominant fastball. This looks like it has the makings to be a very good pickup by GMDM and the Royals front office from a shortened 2020 MLB Draft.

#26: Yefri Del Rosario, RHP

  • Acquired: Free Agent from Atlanta in 2018
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Age: 21
  • 2021 Stats (AA): 38 IP, 6.16 ERA, 5.38 FIP, 11.13 K/9, 3.79 BB/9

The numbers don’t tell the entire story for Del Rosario’s 2021 season so far. His stuff has been electric has he’s recovering from an injury that forced him to miss the entire 2019 season. Del Rosario is the youngest pitcher in the Double-A Central league this year and is currently running up an 11/13 K/9. That’ll play. His fastball reaches the upper-90’s with regularity and his curveball is absolutely disgusting. He’s been stating some games for the Naturals, but I think that’s just an effort to get him experience to hopefully get him in a big league bullpen sometime next year. Del Rosario is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and will almost certainly be targeted if he isn’t protected. He could be a real asset for Kansas City and I’m really excited about how his arm has held up so far this season.

#25: Ben Hernandez, RHP

  • Acquired: 2020 MLB Draft (2nd Round)
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Age: 20
  • 2021 Stats (A-): 31.1 IP, 4.31 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 8.90 K/9, 4.88 BB/9

I really liked what I was seeing from Ben Hernandez before he got hurt. Running his fastball into the upper-90’s with a new breaking ball that was significantly improved than whatever he was throwing predraft. His changeup is still sick and while his command was a little rough at times, he wasn’t getting hit very hard at all and showed a really good feel for sequencing his pitches together. It sucks to see him miss time on the IL but if he’s not seriously injured, I think there’s reason to believe he could finish out this year strong with another 30 IP or so and start out as a 20-year old in High-A next summer. I need to see more of him to move him up but he’s got the potential to be a top-15 guy in this system.

#24: Daniel Tillo, LHP

  • Acquired: 2017 MLB Draft (3rd Round)
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Age: 25
  • 2021 Stats (AA): 3.2 IP, 5 K, 4 BB

Tillo is still working back from Tommy John Surgery so I won’t bother you with much of his stats. When he’s right, he throws a 95 mph turbo sinker and can actually run it up to 97 when he throws it with 4-seams it looks like. His slider is going to give LHH fits. Tillo has always struggled with command a bit, but that’s been minimized a bit since moving to the bullpen full-time at the end of 2019. Had it not been for the injury, we were going to see Tillo pretty quick last summer. I’m not sure what his timeline looks like now, but worst case I expect he’ll compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster in 2022. The Royals have a few big time relief prospects that are on the fringe of the big leagues, which should give them confidence to trade Scott Barlow this week if they get the return they’re looking for.

#23: Dylan Coleman, RHP

  • Acquired: Trade for Trevor Rosenthal
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Age: 24
  • 2021 Stats (AA + AAA): 30.2 IP, 3.23 ERA, 2.27 FIP, 13.50 K/9, 2.93 BB/9

Dylan Coleman is going to be an anchor in the back of a big league bullpen by September. This kid is incredible. Came over to Kansas City as the PTBNL in the Trevor Rosenthal trade and is out to prove the entire world wrong. I have never seen anyone make the kind of velocity jump that he made form 2019 to 2021. He was 92-95 and all of a sudden he’s sitting 98 and topping out at 101 with a nasty breaking ball. The Royals traded 30 days of Trevor Rosenthal for Edward Olivares and 24-year old Trevor Rosenthal with six years of service time still available. The work that this kid has done is absolutely insane and I cannot wait for it to pay off for him in the big leagues.

#22: Darryl Collins, OF

  • Acquired: 2018 International Free Agent (Netherlands)
  • Bats/Throws: L/R
  • Age: 19
  • 2021 Stats (A-): 252 PA, .256/.372/.355/.727, 4 HR, 11 XBH, 37 K : 30 BB, 108 wRC+

There are currently just 41 teenagers with 150+ PA in Low-A this season. Darryl Collins ranks 15th in wRC+ (108), 1st in BB/K (0.81), 3rd in K% (14.7%), 9th in OBP (.372), and 1st in SwStr% (7.8%). Collins has been extremely contact oriented so far in his professional career, hitting just 4 HR and 25 XBH in over 450 PA, but he is 6′ 2″ and has plenty of room to add strength in his lanky frame. I’ve not seen very many teenagers in full-season ball with an approach as advanced as Collins. He does not chase very often and while he’s not driving the ball out of the park, he’s got an incredible gift to find pitches he can drive and shoot them right back to where they came from, using the entire field quite often. He and Maikel Garcia are really similar in that regard, the big difference between Collins and Garcia (who made the top 20 on this list) is Garcia’s speed and defensive ability at SS. Collins doesn’t really have any chance of playing CF in the big leagues and won’t steal you many bases. His hit tool is outstanding for a teenager and his approach is incredibly advanced, so if he adds any power he’ll shoot up this list very quickly. I am really excited about this kid’s future.

#21: Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B

  • Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft (11th Round)
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • Age: 23
  • 2021 Stats (A+ + AA): 300 PA, .296/.383/.573/.956, 15 HR, 39 XBH, 42 K : 34 BB, 155 wRC+

So, I gotta be honest. I knew Pasquantino was good. I think we made that loud and clear when we ranked him as our 29th best prospect this preseason. Even I didn’t know he would be this good.

This kid hits the absolute piss out of baseballs and somehow limits his K% and SwStr% to the levels of high-contact doubles hitters. I did a little research the other day and there was literally no comparison for what he was doing in High-A in terms of ISO and K% (besides his teammate Michael Massey). The kid can legitimately hit, and he hits a LOT. The problem he’s going to run into is that the Royals have Nick Pratto ready to assume the role as first baseman of the future and Vinnie doesn’t move super well around the bag at 1B. He picks the ball well when it’s in his range, he just doesn’t have a lot of range, meaning he’s definitely a 1B/DH only and there’s obviously only room for 1-2 of those on a roster. If he keeps hitting 400-foot HR, he’s going to play somewhere, I just kind of wonder where…it would be kind of fun to see him in a big league lineup with Witt Jr., Mondesi, Pratto, Melendez, and Salvy. Can you imagine the fireworks?

Photo Credits: Tim Campbell

5 thoughts on “RFR’s 2021 Mid-Season Royals Prospect Rankings: 21-30

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