Welcome to a new series called Get to know a Royals prospect! In this series, I’ll be looking at prospects at each level, giving you some background and analysis about each of them. The talent in the Kansas City Royals minor league system runs extremely deep. This series will aim to help you get to know about some of the great players that make up the Royals’ minor league system, including the ones you read and hear about daily and some of the not-so-well-known prospects. I’ll give you the background of where the player came from, take a look at their minor league numbers, provide some analysis about each player, and potentially feature some incredible stories that look at the human behind the athlete. Here’s a list of the ones I’ve written up so far:
I have covered Michael Massey a few times in previous articles, but I never get tired of writing about him. He has become one of my favorite Royals prospects to watch. The soon-to-be 24-year old had himself a year in High-A Central for the Quad Cities River Bandits. I mentioned this before, but according to FanGraphs, Massey was second in batting average, RBI, OPS, and SLG, and third in wRC+ and home runs in the High-A Central last year. Massey was only behind Los Angeles Dodgers top outfield prospect Andy Pages in many of these categories. Massey still seems to get overlooked even though Pages has risen into many analysts’ top 100 prospect ranks.
Drafted in the 4th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, the second baseman out of the University of Illinois isn’t just known for his bat. He is fantastic defensively. He was named the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner for second base in college and won the 2021 Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award at second base sporting a .989 fielding percentage in 284 total chances leading all of the minor leagues at second base. His excellent defense on top of his bat that seems to very much be developing better than expected should lead him to carve out a role in Kansas City in the future.
Some have mentioned concerns about Massey’s age, but I am not overly worried about it because he missed development time with the 2020 COVID-19 season and a back injury. A few guys in High-A last year were much older for the league due to the same reasons. Massey should start 2022 out in Double-A after playing the entire 2021 season in High-A. Getting experience at the upper levels will be a great test for him as he will face better pitching on a more consistent basis.
Along with attending the University of Illinois, Massey is originally from Palos Park, Illinois. His dad also played at the University of Illinois, and all of his uncles attended the school. He also played up the middle at Illinois with his good friend from childhood Ben Troike who is now with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. 2022 will be a fun year for Massey’s development. The guy is consistent and more driven than most on the field, which bodes well for his future success.
Photo Credits: Josh Franzen (@PrtTimeFranimal)