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:
We all know the main Royals middle infield prospects in Bobby Witt, Jr.,Nick Loftin, Michael Massey, and Maikel Garcia, but one guy seems to fly well under-the-radar. Clay Dungan. The 25-year old second baseman out of Indiana State has been with the Kansas City Royals organization since 2019. He was taken in the 9th round of the draft. Scott Bordow, a writer for MLB, recently wrote a great article about how Dungan, even though he is an unranked prospect, has been turning heads at camp this spring.
Dungan has a smooth, compact swing that is fun to watch. He really showed off his bat to ball skills in 2021 and proved that he just flat out hits. He slashed a respectable .288/.357/.405 for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals while hitting eight home runs and stealing 28 bases. When he came onto the scene for Kansas City in 2019 he hit the ground running quickly, being named a Pioneer League Mid-Season All Star, Pioneer League Postseason All Star, and MiLB.com Organization All Star.
Cody Rickman, previously of Fansided, wrote an article about how Dungan reminds him a lot of Whit Merrifield, but with the potential for a better eye at the plate. He is the kind of guy who doesn’t have a tool that makes you go “wow” like Seuly Matias’ power, but he has average tools across the board. He is a contact-oriented hitter first who couples that with some plus speed. Dungan also seems to possess some leadership traits that we have heard about with other prospects. In Scott’s article, Mike Matheny said, “Clay’s right there as a leader, as far as how he’s regarded as a teammate.” The one common theme you tend to notice with Royals’ prospects is their ability to be a leader and a good teammate. If that doesn’t get you excited for the future team chemistry for the Kansas City Royals’, I am not sure what else will.
After spending all of 2021 in Double-A, Dungan should start the year in Triple-A. It will be interesting to see if he can develop a bit more power and increase his walk rate. His ability to keep himself from chasing pitches (14.6% strikeout rate) and speed could make him a viable asset at the big league level despite those other factors. He played a second base, third base, and shortstop last year. That position versatility could help him see his way to the big league roster sooner rather than later.