Welcome back. In case you missed our original rankings series, here are the links to all of our writeups for our preseason Royals top-50 prospects list:
We listed the primary position that each player usually plays during the writeups, but I wanted to go back and kind of do an organizational depth chart if you will for how the Royals system looks at each position. For this exercise I’ll include everyone in the system I think can play each position at the big league level, including players that made our preseason rankings, players who did not, and players who have already graduated. This isn’t an exact science but I’m sure you’ve come to expect that from us by now. Here’s the writeups we’ve done so far:
Here’s a list of everyone I think could play 1B in the big leagues, ranked in order of their ability to do it on Opening Day in 2022.
#1: Carlos Santana
This should be the last year of having a giant hole in the roster at first base for a while. Carlos Santana was awful in the second half last year, but he also may have been injured and he’s certainly got the best track record of the bunch. Give the Royals three or four more months and this should be the Nick Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino show.
#2: Hunter Dozier
Dozier was like the opposite of Santana last year. Hurt and awful in the first half, semi-healthy and semi-productive in the second half. Dozier posted an 82 wRC+ overall in 2021, but from June 20th through the end of the season he had a 106 wRC+ in 340 PA which isn’t a small sample anymore. Dozier signed an extension last offseason, so he’s going to play regularly, it’s kind of just a matter of where.
#3: Nick Pratto
This is really, really close between Pratto and Pasquantino. Kind of a coin flip to be honest. Pratto is much better with the glove and has more present game power, so I gave him the nod, but his strikeout rate in AAA is certainly worth monitoring and the real reason this is a bit closer than some may realize.
#4: Vinnie Pasquantino
Pasquantino had exactly 64 strikeouts, extra-base hits, and walks between High-A and AA last year. He can pick it around the bag and controls the strike zone better than any other power threat in the Royals system. He’s less of an athlete than Pratto, so he’s less likely to move off of 1B, but the Royals have a great problem on their hands as it relates to how they’ll handle these two moving forward.
#5: Emmanuel Rivera
Rivera probably won’t ever be a big league regular, but he’s good with the glove, has a solid hit tool, and you could do a lot worse in terms of your third or fourth option on the corner infield. Definitely warrants a big league utility role on Opening Day and could wind up playing one or two games a week.
#6: MJ Melendez
I mean…he played third base in Omaha so…maybe?
#7: Salvador Perez
This is going to get tough with the prospects coming but he’s done it before.
#8: Ryan O’Hearn
#9: Gabriel Cancel
He’s done it in the minors some.
#10: Michael Massey
Massey may well be the second baseman of the future but I think he could pick it at first? He’s got great hands and feet. The move to first base isn’t nearly as easy as some make it out to be but I wanted 10 guys here and…well…here you go.