It has been a ton of fun covering prospects with Royals Farm Report so far. I hope you all enjoyed the five-part series looking at a few under-the-radar prospects in the Royals organization. The future is bright in Kansas City, and I hope you are as excited as I am. The talent in the Royals system runs deep. Outside of all of the top prospects, a few guys have been turning some heads in the Arizona Complex League and the Dominican Summer League. It is a lot more challenging to get scouting reports on these guys, but I wanted to do some digging to see what I could find on a few players who stuck out to me when starting my initial research.
Junior Marin – OF
Outfielder Junior Marin is by far my favorite prospect in the ACL and DSL. The 17-year-old terrorized DSL pitching, slashing .380/.468/.696 with seven home runs, 32 RBI, and carried an insane 1.164 OPS. He also sports all the advanced statistics you want to see, including a meager 17.1% strikeout rate, 14.4% walk rate, 205 wRC+, and .315 ISO. Those are insanely impressive numbers. The power seems like it is legit. If that hit tool translates when he comes stateside, we can expect Marin to sky rocket.
What also impresses me about Marin is his size. At 17, he comes in at 6’2/220 lbs. I can only imagine he is going to grow. The only concern is that he eventually outgrows the outfield, and they will have to find a new position for him. Per The Formula by Dylan White, Marin is ranked the #1 player in the DSL over some exciting names like Carlos Jorge, Victor Acosta, Samuel Zavala, and Cristian Santana. All of those guys are starting to turn heads and creep their way up prospect boards.
Lizandro Rodriguez – SS
All attention has been on shortstop prospect Danny Vazquez who the Royals signed last international signing period for $1.5 million. It makes sense as Vazquez was ranked #12 on the MLB Pipeline Top 30 International Prospects list. But another infield prospect starting to catch my attention in the DSL is Lizandro Rodriguez. He was the DSL Royals Blue 2021 Minor League Affiliate Hitter of the Year.
Rodriguez is listed as a shortstop on MiLB.com, but he played most of his games at second base. Coming in at 5’11/165lbs, he also had his way with DSL pitching, hitting .309 with six home runs and 23 RBI. Unlike Marin, Rodriguez seems to possess decent speed, stealing 14 bags in 34 games. He had more walks (21) than strikeouts (18), which stood out to me. I love seeing those kinds of stats in young players. I’ll be intrigued to see if his power continues to grow as the 18-year-old grows into his frame. Rodriguez could be a legit power/speed threat and turn himself into a top prospect if it does.
Carter Jensen – C
Drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2021 MLB Draft, Carter Jensen was on fire to start his professional career in the ACL. He hit an incredible .455/.571/.682 in his first ten games in August. He showed good patience at the plate, walking ten times in 19 games. Even more fun is that he is a local kid out of Park Hill High School in Kansas City, MO. He was committed to Louisiana State, but the Royals were able to sign him.
Jensen was considered one of the top high school catchers and one of the best pure hitting catchers from the draft. According to MLB.com, there are some questions on whether he will stay behind the plate. The power is what stood out to me when I watched videos of Jensen. He showed a decent hit tool in a small sample size in the ACL, but we will have to see how it develops over his career. I like what I see from Jensen and the Royals potentially got a steal in the 3rd round of the draft.
Jaswel De Los Santos – OF
Do you like tools and athleticism? Look no further than Jaswel De Los Santos. The 19-year-old outfielder hit six home runs in 42 games in the ACL this year. He is a bit raw in his hit tool, which is reflected in his 31.4% strikeout rate. He has the type of tools you hope all comes together as he’s got pop, decent speed, and excellent athleticism. That athleticism should help him stick in the outfield and most likely centerfield. He signed out of the Dominican Republic for $350,000 in 2018, so the Royals saw something they liked. The good thing is that he is young enough where his raw tools still have time to develop. If he makes his way to Low-A, he will face some advanced pitching, and he will have to make some adjustments to cut down on chasing pitches and maintaining a decent walk rate.
Jose Catano – LHP
Jose Catano won the DSL Royals Blue 2021 Pitcher of the Year, and it is not shocking as to why. Catano posted a 1.36 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched. He ranked third in the DSL in ERA. What was most impressive about Catano is that he hadn’t allowed an earned run over his last seven outings. He struggled at times with his command, walking 15 and having 2-3 walks in games where he only worked 3-4 innings. The next step for Catano as he makes his way to the ACL next year will be really to improve his command and control. He will need to do so to make that jump in his development. He was a bit old for the DSL, so it will be interesting to see if his high strikeout rate translates stateside.