I don’t think we’ve ever done anything like this before, but I figured it might be fun to take a look at the best performers at each position for the first half of the minor league season. Keep in mind this is 100% subjective and may or may not have any impact on our mid-season rankings. This should just be for fun and I think a good look at where the Royals may be the strongest position-wise as we approach the draft and trade deadline coming up. Anyway, for what I believe is the first time in our site’s history, here is our 2022 First Half All-System Team for the Kansas City Royals minor league system.
- Jonah Dipoto
- Son of Mariners GM Jerry, Jonah has been electric out of the Northwest Arkansas bullpen this season. He currently has a 2.25 ERA in 40 IP with a 12.38 K/9, both of which are top-5 in the system. Dipoto still struggles with his command at times, but there’s no questioning the stuff as hitters frequently flail at pitches out of the strike zone. I was 50/50 on whether or not Dipoto had a big league arm coming into the season, but I’m pretty sure he’s got the stuff to get the job done if he can refine his command.
- Noah Cameron
- Cameron is in his first professional season, and recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but he’s still managed to post an ERA of 3.42 in 50 innings between Low-A and High-A this season. He struck out 12 batters in 4 innings during his High-A debut and has solidified himself as a legitimate big league pitching prospect when healthy. He’s missed some time recently, but his performance more than warranted a spot on this list.
- Josh Dye
- Dye was left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft that wasn’t this past offseason, but he may now be banging down the door of a big league call up before the end of the season. He’s got a 2.58 ERA and 3.13 FIP in 38.1 innings for Omaha this season, mostly from the bullpen, and has one of the very best walk rates in the entire system. He’s a funky lefty that won’t exactly blow your doors off with premium velocity, but between his deception and offspeed stuff, he’s got a chance to make it in a big league bullpen.
- Ben Kudrna
- Kudrna has just 32 professional innings under his belt, and didn’t start off the season in Columbia, but he’s been by far one of the best starting pitching prospects on the farm this season and his 2.25 ERA is the best among that 2021 prep draft class. Kudrna’s changeup has become a legitimate putaway pitch, and his velocity has improved to be consistently in the mid-90’s. He may have the most upside of any pitcher on the Columbia Fireflies roster at the moment.
- Drew Parrish
- I almost left Parrish off due to the fact that he’s been getting shallacked at AAA Omaha, but I wanted to reward him for his outstanding performance at AA to begin the year. Parrish posted an ERA of 2.13 in 55 innings for the Naturals and looked like a legitimate candidate to receive big league starts by the end of the season. He’s lost his command a bit in a brief stint at AAA, but he was so good at AA that I’m not really concerned just yet. His curveball looks improved and that might be the difference between a AAAA arm and a legitimate big league prospect.
- 1B: Vinnie Pasquantino
- Who else? The now big leaguer had a 145 wRC+ for AAA Omaha before being promoted with a 1.03 BB/K.
- 2B: Michael Massey
- Again, kind of chalky here to start. Massey has the fifth best wRC+ in the organization at 132 and has been better since being promoted to AAA. We should be getting our first looks at Massey in a big league uniform this weekend in Toronto. This very well may be your second baseman of the future.
- SS: Maikel Garcia
- No surprises yet I would hope. Garcia has cooled off quite a bit from a hellacious start to the season, but he’s still got a 102 wRC+ at AA which is pretty good for a 22-year old that started last season in Low-A. Garcia is on the taxi squad so we may also get our first look at him in the big leagues this weekend in Toronto.
- 3B: Nate Eaton
- Eaton has been playing a ton of the outfield in Omaha, but third base is still his best position, in my opinion, and he’s still played there quite a bit in 2022. Eaton has burst onto the prospect scene this year thanks to a much improved ability to lift the baseball. His 124 wRC+ is a top-10 mark in the system and Eaton has cut down on his strikeouts by 5% since last year. He too could be looking at making his major league debut in Toronto this weekend.
- LF: River Town
- Maybe the first surprise on the list? I guess maybe not if you follow us on Twitter. Town has the fourth best wRC+ in the system at 136 and is still just 22 years old. That’s about as old as you want to see a player in Low-A, but assuming he gets the chance to go to High-A at some point this year, he can still be considered a prospect if he continues to hit well there. In any case, the 2021 draftee has outperformed any expectations he had coming into this season and may be the next hidden gem for Drew Saylor to play with.
- CF: Diego Hernandez
- This one was a little bit tricky because Brewer Hicklen does have *some* starts in CF this season, but Hernandez has played there all year and he’s been freaking outstanding. His 114 wRC+ is the 15th best mark in the system and his outfield defense is second to none. Hernandez is just 21 years old so his age relative to level is in excellent shape and he’s been performing like a top-20 prospect in the organization. Despite striking out a bit to begin the season, Hernandez has lowered his K% to just 12.9% since the beginning of June and actually raised his ISO during that time. If this trend continues…you have a legitimate big league CF prospect on your hands.
- RF: Tyler Gentry
- Absolute slam dunk no-brainer here. Gentry has been the best hitter in the system all year with a .982 OPS and 160 wRC+ between High-A and AA. A sneaky pick to be on the Opening Day roster in 2023, Gentry has hit at every level, has limited his strikeouts at AA, hits for power, plays good defense in the corners, and knows how to work a walk. This is going to be perhaps the single biggest riser in our rankings at mid-season.
- C: Logan Porter
- If you’ve been following along, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Porter has the third best wRC+ in the organization at 143 and has been tearing the cover off of the ball for Northwest Arkansas (AA). He just turned 27, so his prospect status is never going to be very high, but he’s hit at every level of MiLB, draws a ton of walks, receives the ball well, has some raw power…he’s certainly not JUST an organizational filler. This is the type of 35 FV prospect that has a chance to get a cup of tea in the big leagues. Regardless of all that, Porters’ stats speak for themselves and there haven’t been five better players in the system for the first half of the season.
- DH: Nick Pratto
- Pratto has been on a freaking tear since the beginning of June and has 17 home runs to go with a .374 OBP. If it weren’t for Vinnie going nuclear, we’d still be talking about Pratto as the most exciting young prospect in this system.
- Brennon McNair
- Hasn’t debuted in full-season ball yet but he’s tearing up the Arizona Complex League
- Roger Leyton
- Also tearing the cover off of the ball in Arizona.
- Tucker Bradley
- Just missed by a spot or two.
- Dillan Shrum
- Crushing the ball at High-A but he’s 24 and plays the same position as Pratto and Pasuqantino.
- Brewer Hicklen
- Also crushing the ball and, like Bradley, was either the fourth or fifth outfielder.
- Morgan McCullough
- Has been excellent between High-A and AA.
- Luca Tresh
- Been exceptional of late but plays the same position as Logan Porter.
- Kale Emshoff
- Carter Jensen
- Also same.
- Robbie Glendinning
- See: Shrum, Dillan
- Andres Nunez
- Walter Pennington
- Emilio Marquez
- Andres Sotillet
- Angel Zerpa
10 thoughts on “RFR’s First Half All-System Team”
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