First, if you haven’t yet, check out the consensus midseason top-50, which is an aggregate of the rankings from a few different Royals prospect writers.
I was one of the people asked to contribute a top-50 of my own, and I must say, my thoughts differ significantly from some others’. Here’s my personal top-50.
First, I want to explain how creating a top-50 list works and why reasonable people can disagree. When putting together a list like this, people take different variables into account and give each of those variables different weight. Some of these variables include track record, pedigree, tools, and projectability. Each evaluator puts more stock into different categories. Some put more stock in tools even if a guy has no track record where others (like myself) may put more stock in track record than tools. There’s no “right” way to do it exactly, and people whose lists I really like often take a wildly different approach than me.
Looking at my list compared to some others from this project, I think I value track record (and especially track record in the upper minors), more than some other guys. I’m less likely to rank a toolsey player with less track record really high (like Austin Charles) than I am a guy who may not have wow tools but has produced (like Logan Porter).
Of course, things like age and level and position value are also factored in. But if my list seems particularly weird to you, it may be because I errored on the side of guys who have had success in pro baseball.
Tyler Gentry Number One?
Yes, Gentry is my number one Royals prospect. I was the lone contributor who had someone other than Gavin Cross as the top prospect. Why? See everything I said previously about track record. I look at it this way. We HOPE Gavin Cross will be hitting like Tyler Gentry already is in AA in 18-24 months … but Gentry’s already doing it. Is Cross the better fielder and athlete? Yes, but Gentry currently has a .325/.419/.592/ slash line with a 154 wRC+ at AA. And for a corner outfielder (which both Gentry and Cross will be), the most important task is offensive production. Gentry may never be a super star, but it looks like he has the bat to be a very productive big leaguer. Cross may be a very productive big leaguer, but there’s still a lot that isn’t known there.
Low Man on Angel Zerpa
I’m the low man on Zerpa. I know he’s everyone’s favorite story; I’m just skeptical of his profile. I think his hype train gets moving very quickly when he comes up for a spot start and does ok, but those stoking the fires of that train don’t watch his minor league outings. They don’t see the inconsistency and variance in his stuff. That said, I don’t think Zerpa’s a bad prospect; I think he can be a solid back end starter. I just think he’s over hyped.
Cross, Cayden Wallace, and David Sandlin are all Pretty High
I know, I know, I said I value track record … but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” But really, it’s just that each of these guys has an intriguing tools package, projectability, and potential. So, I’m willing to place Cross at 3, Wallace at 4, and Sandlin at 17. Track record matters, but I can’t ignore significant potential.
High man on Drew Parrish
What can I say? I’m a sucker for a soft tossing lefty with deadly secondaries and even deadlier mustache. Parrish gets very little attention, but he carved up the Texas League (a VERY difficult league to pitch in … just ask Alec Marsh and Asa Lacy) to start 2022. In 55 AA innings, he posted a 2.13 ERA, a .82 WHIP, and a BB/9 under 3. Others will be scared away by his less-than-stellar strikeout numbers and his adjustment period in AAA. I’m not. I think he got out of his mechanics a little in Omaha, but when he finds them again and gets the proper pitch mix in place, he can be solid backend guy.
For more from Marcus, check him out on Twitter @RoyalsWeekly or check out the Royals Weekly podcast.