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Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Royals list

The Top Ten

  1. RHP Yordano Ventura
  2. SS Raul Mondesi
  3. RHP Kyle Zimmer
  4. RHP Miguel Almonte
  5. LHP Sean Manaea
  6. SS Hunter Dozier
  7. RF Jorge Bonifacio
  8. CF Bubba Starling
  9. RHP Jason Adam
  10. SS Orlando Calixte

1. Yordano Ventura
Position: RHP
DOB: 06/03/1991
Height/Weight: 5’11” 180 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2008, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #5 (Org), #62 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: 3.52 ERA (15.1 IP, 13 H, 11 K, 6 BB) at major-league level, 3.74 ERA (77 IP, 80 H, 81 K, 33 BB) at Triple-A Omaha, 2.34 ERA (57.2 IP, 39 H, 74 K, 20 BB) at Double-A Northwest Arkansas
The Tools: 8 FB; 6+ CB; 6+ potential CH

What Happened in 2013: Ventura logged a career high in innings pitched—spanning three levels—and concluded his impressive run with three starts in the majors.

Strengths: Elite arm speed; fastball sits mid-upper 90s; can hit triple digits deep into games; can manipulate the movement; gets cutting action at lower velo; curveball is plus pitch; hard breaker with tight rotation and excellent depth; changeup could end up another well-above-average pitch; offers deception from FB and good action.

Weaknesses: Slight build; concerns about workload ability; tendency to lose command by overthrowing; changeup can get too firm; requires more refinement than other offerings; curveball plays down when FB command is loose.

Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter

Realistic Role: High 6; no. 3 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; achieved major-league level; ready for extended look.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: We already got a sneak peak at his heat in September, but with the inside track to a rotation spot on Opening Day, Ventura is ready to make a fantasy impact. The immediate future may not feature the type of strikeout numbers you’d expect long term, but he is still the type of pitcher to take a shot with at the back end of your rotation in 2014. Beyond that, he has the potential to be a full four-category contributor if he can handle the workload.

The Year Ahead: Ventura has been throwing gas since he could walk, but the progression of his secondary arsenal has turned him from a future relief prospect to a frontline arm that can pitch atop a major-league rotation. The body is slight and short, and normally I’d be quick to put him into a late-innings box. But Ventura can hold velocity like a workhorse, gaining strength as he goes along, not losing it. I do have some concerns about long-term workload and what 200 innings might do to the stuff, but it’s hard to ignore the electricity in his arm and the potential that creates. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ventura takes another step forward in 2014, and pitches his way into Rookie of the Year discussions.

Major league ETA: Debuted in 2013

2. Raul Mondesi
Position: SS
DOB: 07/27/1995
Height/Weight: 6’1” 165 lbs
Bats/Throws: B/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2011, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #4 (Org), #58 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .261/.311/.361 at Low-A Lexington (125 games)
The Tools: 6 glove; 6 arm; 6 run; plus potential hit

What Happened in 2013: I took a calculated risk by ranking Mondesi third in the system last season and 58th overall, as he was still an unknown commodity to most fans and prognosticators alike. He rewarded our belief in his ability by jumping to a full-season league and holding his own despite being 17 years old for a healthy chunk of the season.

Strengths: Advanced talent; shows high-impact skills on all sides of the ball; slick actions on defense; plus glove potential with more repetition; plus arm, capable of all the throws; instincts could push tools up; plus run; good bat-to-ball ability from both sides of the plate; could develop average power down the line.

Weaknesses: Needs to learn to slow the game down; can play fast, rush his actions and throws in the field; overly aggressive at the plate; susceptible to secondary stuff; power potential is questionable.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; first-division/all-star

Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; 18 years old; yet to play in high minors

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The fantasy upside of Mondesi is overshadowed by the real-life impact he can have on the Royals. If he doesn’t develop even average power, we’re talking more about a 10-homer, 20-steal threat with the ability to post a helpful batting average. That’s not a fantasy stud, but at shortstop, it’s still a back of the top 10 guy.

The Year Ahead: Mondesi is a special talent, a gifted defender at a premium position with speed and a quick stroke to the ball from both sides of the plate. He is unrefined and eager in his game, but he has a chance to develop into an impact talent at the highest level. The developmental process will present setbacks and failures along the way, and 2014 might look similar to 2013 on the stat sheet, but Mondesi’s ceiling is worth the patience.

Major league ETA: 2016

3. Kyle Zimmer
Position: RHP
DOB: 09/13/1991
Height/Weight: 6’3” 215 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, University of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
Previous Ranking: #2 (Org), #41 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: 1.93 ERA (18.1 IP, 11 H, 27 K, 5 BB) at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, 4.82 ERA (89.2 IP, 80 H, 113 K, 31 BB) at High-A Wilmington
The Tools: 7 FB; 7 potential CB; 6 potential SL; 5 CH

What Happened in 2013: In his first full season of professional ball, Zimmer made 22 starts across two levels before getting shut down in August with tightness in his right shoulder.

Strengths: Clean delivery; easy and repeatable; excellent arm strength; fastball can work 92-97; touching as high as 99 in short bursts; some arm-side life; curveball is big boy pitch; multiple looks; can throw the pitch for strikes with heavy vertical action or show more two-plane break and drop it out of the zone; slider at 85-88 with short break and late tilt; future plus offering; can turn over changeup with some sink and fade; very good command profile.

Weaknesses: Delivery offers little deception; hitters seem to pick up the ball early; changeup is fringe-average (present); below-average command of the offering; can cut off his extension and cut the ball back into left-handers.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 2/3 starter

Realistic Role: High 5; no. 3 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; minor injury concerns (tightness in right shoulder); limited Double-A exposure.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: With Zimmer, it’s all about the strikeouts. His potential plus-plus curve, when combined with the rest of his arsenal, can lead to very strong strikeout totals. He’s one of fewer than 10 starting pitchers in the minors who projects as a potential impact player in strikeouts (think 200-plus if he is who we think he is). Kauffman Stadium is also a nice match for him, as he could be prone to the long ball.

The Year Ahead: Zimmer is a polished arm with high-end stuff, and in a lighter system, would be the marquee name on the farm. The fastball is an easy plus offering, working low-to-mid-90s as a starter and touching higher when he needs to go get it. The curveball is one of the better hammers in the minors, a plus pitch that some already have plus-plus grades on. He can drop it for strikes or for chase, and with a slider also in the arsenal, Zimmer has a potent assortment of secondary stuff to miss barrels and force weak contact. He’s going to reach the major-league level in 2014, and should develop into rotation horse as a floor and an impact no. 2 starter if everything falls into place.

Major league ETA: Late 2014

4. Miguel Almonte
Position: RHP
DOB: 04/04/1993
Height/Weight: 6’2” 180 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #9 (Org)
2013 Stats: 3.10 ERA (130.2 IP, 115 H, 132 K, 36 BB) at Low-A Lexington
The Tools: 6+ FB; 7 potential CH; 5 CB

What Happened in 2013: In his full-season debut, Almonte took another step forward on the field, missing a bat an inning thanks to his potent FB/CH combo.

Strengths: Loose, easy arm; great action; delivery is repeatable; fastball works 92-96; can touch higher; good arm-side movement; changeup is money pitch; excellent deception in the arm and plus-plus action; effective against both LH/RH; shows multiple breaking balls; curve can flash above-average; strike-throwing ability.

Weaknesses: More control than command; can live loose in the zone; tendency to come across his body in the delivery and struggles to hit arm-side spots; both breaking balls are inconsistent; CB has best chance to play to average.

Overall Future Potential: 6; no. 3 starter

Realistic Role: 5; no. 4/5 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; yet to pitch in upper minors

Bret Sayre’ Fantasy Take: Another pitcher who could put up strong strikeout numbers, Almonte also could be a very strong contributor in WHIP. From June 1st to the end of the season, he had 90 strikeouts versus just 16 walks in 86 1/3 innings—and limiting walks like that will also net him more wins, as he’ll be able to pitch deeper into games at the major-league level.

The Year Ahead: Almonte is going to move onto the pitcher-friendly confines of High-A Wilmington, and he’s probably going to shove it with excellent results. His fastball is a plus offering, his changeup is well above average, and his ability to throw strikes should allow him to produce statistical results that will elevate his prospect status. The real test will come in Double-A, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets promoted to that level at some point during the summer. His breaking ball (whichever one steps forward) needs improvement, and the control needs to continue developing into command, but this is a very legit arm with a high ceiling.

Major league ETA: Late 2015

5. Sean Manaea
Position: LHP
DOB: 02/01/1992
Height/Weight: 6’5’’ 235 lbs.
Bats/Throws: L/L
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, Indiana State University (Terre Haute, IN)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: N/A
The Tools: 7 FB; 6 SL; 6+ potential CH

What Happened in 2013: Manaea was a legit 1:1 candidate coming into the spring, but injures (hip/shoulder) and inconsistency allowed him to the fall to the 34th pick, where the Royals popped and signed him for $3.55 million.

Strengths: Big, athletic body; impressive arm strength; from ¾ slot, fastball can work 92-96; touch 97; good movement; arm-side run and some sink; slider can flash well above-average potential; low 80s with sharp tilt; changeup could be high-impact pitch; excellent deception and late action; good command profile.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent fastball velocity reports this spring; abnormal for him but worth noting; slider can get slurvy and lose effectiveness; changeup is promising offering but hasn’t been a heavily featured player in arsenal; can get a little deliberate in the delivery.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; no. 2 starter

Realistic Role: 6; no. 3 starter

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; no professional record; injury concerns

Bret Sayre's Fantasy Take: Manaea's fantasy upside is intense and higher than any of the other arms on this list–even Kyle Zimmer. The raw tools are there for him to be a full four-category contributor and top-20 fantasy starter. He's a great chance to take in dynasty drafts if you're looking for a potentially fast riser in value–just don't ignore the risks.

The Year Ahead: If healthy, Manaea is a monster, a left-handed power arm with easy plus velocity, good movement, sharp slider, and the foundation of a very good changeup. Add athleticism and pitchability into the mix, and you can see why several teams had Manaea ranked as the top arm in the 2013 class. He will need to prove he is both healthy and effective, but it’s not going to take the soon-to-be 22-year-old long to shoot up prospect lists and emerge as one of the top arms in the minors.

Major league ETA: 2015

6. Hunter Dozier
Position: SS
DOB: 08/22/1991
Height/Weight: 6’4” 220 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2013 draft, Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX)
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: .327/.373/.436 at Low-A Lexington (15 games), .303/.403/.509 at rookie level Idaho Falls (54 games)
The Tools: 6 power potential; 6 arm; 5 run; 5 glove

What Happened in 2013: A first-round talent but a surprise pick at no. 8 overall, Dozier has been saddled with the burden of enhanced expectations as a result.

Strengths: Baseball skills; good overall approach to the game; has a plan at the plate and understands the strike zone; has good leverage in the swing and projects to hit for solid-avg to plus power; arm is strong; can make routine plays up the middle; athletic with solid run.

Weaknesses: Lacks impact tools; swing can get hitchy and long; velocity concerns; lacks ideal range for shortstop; third base is likely long-term defensive home; more polish than projection.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: 5; major-league regular

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited professional experience; shows baseball skills.

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The talk of Dozier being a reach in the June draft could help you nab him later than he should go in your dynasty league drafts this year. The college standout brings a strong overall fantasy profile to the table, but more in the Kyle Seager vein than someone who will be a top-five option at the position. Dozier also could be an even stronger value in points leagues, where his potentially strong strikeout and walk rates can shine.

The Year Ahead: Dozier is a baseball player, with game skills and good instincts. The problem with the skill set is impact, which is an expectation built in to his lofty draft status. While Dozier is unlikely to develop into a star or a high-impact player, he has the tools to become a solid major-league regular, one with a good approach, good pop from the right side, and the defensive chops to play a solid third base. That’s not a Longoria-esque profile, and perhaps you want a little more out of a top 10 selection, but it’s hard to find fault in the outcome if the Royals are able to develop a major-league player out of the deal, especially given the financial flexibility his signing offered which allowed the team to sign Sean Manaea.

Major league ETA: 2016

7. Jorge Bonifacio
Position: RF
DOB: 06/04/1993
Height/Weight: 6’1” 192 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2009, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: #7 (Org)
2013 Stats: .301/.371/.441 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas (25 games), .296/.368/.408 at High-A Wilmington (54 games), .300/.400/.533 at complex level AZL (9 games)
The Tools: 6 power potential; 7 arm; 5 potential hit

What Happened in 2013: Bonifacio hit his way to Double-A, after a hamate injury threatened to derail his breakout campaign.

Strengths: Big raw strength; all-fields power potential; brings a plan to the plate; not just a power hacker; arm in right field is very strong; receives some plus-plus grades; runs well for size (average); hit tool should allow power to play.

Weaknesses: Big power has yet to show up in game action; hamate injury didn’t help; swing is compact; more linear than loft necessary for over-the-fence power; body is high maintenance; questions about hit tool against higher level pitching.

Overall Future Potential: 6; first-division player

Realistic Role: Low-5; second division player

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited Double-A experience

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The fact that Bonifacio could be the type of hitter to smack 25 bombs in a season might still be hidden on his stat page, as he’s never hit more than 10 in his minor-league career. This year may be no different, as hamate bone fractures can sap power for an extended period of time. If he starts off slow in 2014, there might never be a better time to acquire him in a trade.

The Year Ahead: Bonifacio can hit, but it remains to be seen what type of hitter he will develop into. Sources disagree on offensive outcome, as some see the power coming but at the expense of contact—a potential .260 type with 20-plus bombs—while others see a more complete hitter, one where the power flows from the hit tool without compromising contact. It’s a right field profile and a solid-average one, with the arm being a weapon, but the ceiling is dependent on the power showing up, and that is still debatable heading into the 2014 season. This year should tell us a lot about the player Bonifacio will develop into, either pushing him up this list or leaving us with more questions than answers.

Major league ETA: Late 2014

8. Bubba Starling
Position: CF
DOB: 08/03/1992
Height/Weight: 6’4” 180 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2011 draft, Gardner-Edgerton HS (Gardner, KS)
Previous Ranking: #3 (Org), #49 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .241/.329/.398 at Low-A Lexington (125 games)
The Tools: 7 run; 6 glove; 7 arm; 6 power potential

What Happened in 2013: A disappointing first half of the season gave way to a promising second half, as Starling started to show some of the impact flash that made him a high first-round pick back in 2011.

Strengths: Plus-plus athlete; potential for loud tools; 7 run; 6 glove in center; arm is a weapon (7); power potential is easy plus; true impact ceiling.

Weaknesses: Inconsistency at the plate; needs to find rhythm in his swing; approach needs a lot of work; pitch recognition and reaction issues; hit tool is well below average; could damage power potential; long way to go.

Overall Future Potential: High 6; first-division/all-star player

Realistic Role: High 4; below-average major leaguer/bench outfielder

Risk Factor/Injury History: High risk; long developmental process

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: There are still plenty of reasons why Starling is worth owning in fantasy leagues, but the 25-homer, 25-steal upside is his meal ticket. Even with all his warts, Starling still possesses the highest fantasy ceiling of any prospect in this farm system.

The Year Ahead: Starling has the tools to develop into an all-star, a plus defender at a premium position, with big power potential and well above-average speed. That’s a monster player. But the overall bat-to-ball ability is suspect, and the culprit might be his pitch recognition skills, which could end up limiting his overall potential at the plate. Even if he’s a .260 hitter (~5 hit), his overall attributes would make him a very valuable major leaguer. But several sources are in agreement with me that his hit tool is likely to play well below average and will limit his power from impacting games. Any developmental step forward for Starling is a step toward stardom, and I will gladly admit I was wrong about his evaluation if he starts to show signs of a more projectable hit tool.

Major league ETA: 2016

9. Jason Adam
Position: RHP
DOB: 08/04/1991
Height/Weight: 6’4” 219 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: 5th round, 2010 draft, Blue Valley Northwest HS (Overland Park, KS)
Previous Ranking: #10 (Org)
2013 Stats: 5.19 ERA (144 IP, 153 H, 126 K, 54 BB) at Double-A Northwest Arkansas
The Tools: 6 FB; 5+CB; 5 CH

What Happened in 2013: Slow and steady, Adam moved up to the Double-A level, made 26 starts, logged 144 innings, took developmental steps forward that didn’t show up on the stat sheet.

Strengths: Big, durable frame; arm works well; gets great extension; fastball can work 90-95; good sink; pitches off the fastball; curveball flashes plus; upper-70s with tight rotation and depth; changeup will play above average at times; good sink; pitchability.

Weaknesses: Delivery can get segmented; slows down the body; offerings can be easy to pick up; fastball floats between average and plus; secondary arsenal lacks a plus pitch; still refining command.

Overall Future Potential: 5; no. 4 starter

Realistic Role: Low 5; no. 5 starter/long reliever

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; mature arm; 26 starts at Double-A level

Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Adam’s fantasy relevance relies more on floor than ceiling, as he does not project to have a strong impact on any of the pitching categories. In deeper leagues, Adam is a nice value because he’s likely to have a major-league future as a starter, and he can miss enough bats to matter.

The Year Ahead: Adam has the stuff and the body to develop into a major-league average workhorse, the type of pitcher that can give you 200 innings of solid but not spectacular performance. He will most likely end up with three 55 pitches (20/80), and a good feel for strike throwing, giving him the tools to find success but a small margin for error at the highest level. His delivery still needs work and the secondary arsenal needs more consistency, but after another season in the upper minors, Adam will be ready to compete for a rotation spot in 2015.

Major league ETA: Late 2014

10. Orlando Calixte
Position: SS
DOB: 02/03/1992
Height/Weight: 5’11” 160 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Drafted/Acquired: International free agent, 2010, Dominican Republic
Previous Ranking: NR
2013 Stats: .250/.312/.368 at Double-A Northwest (123 games)
The Tools: 6 raw power; 5 glove; 6 arm

What Happened in 2013: Calixte was pushed to the Double-A level, and he struggled against quality pitching, but the tools are still present to develop into a solid-average major-league regular.

Strengths: Plus raw power; has some bat-to-ball ability; arm is plus; glove is at least average at shortstop; range is average.

Weaknesses: Plate discipline needs work; can get overly aggressive; hit tool profiles as below average; defensive profile might be a better fit for third base; game power might play below projection.

Overall Future Potential: 5; major-league regular

Realistic Role: High 4; utility player

Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; struggled in first pass at Double-A
The Year Ahead: Calixte was a bit over his head in Double-A, but his struggles could be a developmental positive, and he has shown the ability to make adjustments in the past. His defensive profile at shortstop is average and could play, but he will need to find more consistency and learn to slow the game down. The power potential is legit, but the hit tool might limit the utility, and the overall approach needs work if he wants to put himself in favorable hitting conditions and add an on-base dimension to his offensive game. He is likely to repeat Double-A, and hopefully take a step forward at the plate and in the field.
Major league ETA: 2015

Prospects on the Rise:
1. RHP Christian Binford:
Tall right-hander with a projectable fastball, Binford was impressive in his full-season debut. The secondary stuff is inconsistent, and the fastball velocity would dip under plus, but when it clicked the fastball was angular and firm in the low 90s and the secondary arsenal flashed above-average potential. He should take a step forward in 2014, joining Almonte in the Wilmington rotation.

2. OF Daniel Rockett: A ninth-round pick in 2013, Rockett has the bat to move quickly and the defensive versatility to offer value at all three spots. As an older prospect, he will be pushed aggressively and will have to perform to move up the ranks, but several sources were high on his bat and put better grades on his glove in center than some of his amateur reports suggested.

3. OF Elier Hernandez: Strong case for inclusion in the top 10, Hernandez has both tools and instincts for the game, a promising combination to find in a young player. It’s a corner outfield profile but plenty of raw power to dream and a good overall feel for hitting. He’s could be in the top five in this system at this time next season.

Factors on the Farm (Prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2014)
1.LHP Chris Dwyer: The stuff is solid-average but it plays down because of an inconsistent delivery and poor command, Dwyer has a chance to right the ship and contribute to the major-league team in 2014.

2. IF Christian Colon: Ignore the obvious narrative about Colon—that the fourth overall pick in the draft would end up a fringy utility option—and focus on what he might end up bringing to the table at the highest level. It’s not an impact profile, but with good baseball skills and enough stick to force a pitcher to work, Colon has a chance to develop into a productive player for the Royals, most likely in a utility role but there is always a chance he rises to the challenge and becomes a viable option at second base.

3. LHP Donnie Joseph: The 26-year-old lefty can miss bats, and that alone is reason to be optimistic about his contribution to the 25-man roster in 2014. On the back of his potent FB/SL combo, Joseph missed 84 bats in only 55 innings at the Triple-A level in 2013, and with improved command, he could make an already good bullpen even better.

Top 10 Talents 25 and Younger (born 4/1/1988 or later)

  1. Eric Hosmer
  2. Yordano Ventura
  3. Salvador Perez
  4. Raul Mondesi
  5. Mike Moustakas
  6. Kyle Zimmer
  7. Danny Duffy
  8. Miguel Almonte
  9. Sean Manaea
  10. Hunter Dozier

After experiencing their first winning season since 2003, Kansas City enters this coming year out to prove that their 86-win season was not just an aberration. First baseman Hosmer headlines this list, edging out the system’s top prospect Ventura. Hosmer flashed the hitting skills that carried him to a solid rookie season a few years ago and bounced back strong from a disappointing second year. That not only speaks to how the development process continues at the big-league level, but also lends a glimpse into the makeup of the player. Ventura’s stock rose within the system this past season, with an explosive fastball and sharp curveball that are going to miss bats at the highest level. The potential is enticing, but the translation of the command against unforgiving hitters and questions on future durability as a starter slot him below Hosmer…for now.

The 23-year-old catcher Perez put an All-Star game and Gold Glove on the resume in his first full year as the starter. While the league may catch up some, especially in challenging his selectiveness at the plate, he brings a valuable package at a key position for the Royals, and looks to be the long-term answer at catcher for the organization. Jason Parks favorite Raul Mondesi is just after Perez and firmly in front of former no. 2 pick Moustakas. While that may a bit aggressive placement considering the risk and likely growing pains from the 18-year-old shortstop in High-A, Mondesi’s talent is legit, and it points toward an every-day profile at the position. Moustakas regressed in 2013, with adjustments necessary to jumpstart his offensive production and maintain status as an everyday third baseman.

Right-handed starter Zimmer offers the organization a potential middle-of-the-rotation arm. This coming season in Double-A will be a good gauge of how the stuff and killer instinct stacks up against experienced competition. Prospects Almonte, Manaea and Dozier round out the last three slots. Almonte and Manaea are both high-ceiling arms that come with risk, while Dozier brings some power from the right side of the plate and likely profiles as a third baseman in the long run. –Chris Mellen

A Parting Thought: This is one of the stronger top 10s in the league, with seven prospects likely to end up in the Baseball Prospectus 101. But the depth isn’t the strength it has been in recent years, and the overall system takes a hit for that weakness.


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You have 7 prospects probably for the top 101, but then comment the depth of the system compared to years past. Personally after reading this, I would think this system has a top of depth but not a lot of starpower.

A lot of the big names are high floor type prospects, rather than ace prospects or role 7 position players. So if I had to guess, most of their top 101 guys would probably fit into the 40-80 range
The comment about depth relates to the talent found outside of the top ten.
This system is thick with shortstops. Another one not mentioned is Humberto Arteaga. Does he have a major league future, or way too early to tell? I know Sally kicked him in the arse, but any hope?
The bat isn't that great, but he's a very good defensive shortstop (played 2B when on the same field as Mondesi.) I think he could end up being a quality utility player. Not a great prospect but a guy with a major league future.
Thanks for monitoring the comments and answering so quickly.
No longer a prospect, but can you discuss Moustakas' s development? Will the power we saw in the minors show up?
Interesting, but is Daniel any relation to Rikki?
Jason, one question that's been burning in my mind is are there any pitchers in the minors(or majors even) that have an 8 pitch BESIDES a fastball? I realize that perhaps the last thing most pitchers might master would be the changeup/breakingball, but it's odd, I don't think in the 6+ years I've subscribed to BP that I've seen any pitch besides a fastball an 8. It seems even 7s are very very rare, while I can think of a few dozen '8' grade fastballs in the last few years...

Since this scale, 2-8 is all relative to their peers, I wonder if there are only a handful of 7+ breaking balls/changeup grades, that these should be graded an 8 if no other true '8s' are being graded out there?

Thanks, your work is something I read without fail.

You are going to see the 8 grade secondary stuff in the majors; rarity in the minors. Pitchers start with the FB, so in most cases, that's the offering that will be more advanced. As a pitcher matures, the secondary stuff improves and that's why you see the grades spike at the highest level.
I know you're busy answering so many questions but if you can find the time, can you give me a few major league examples of 8 secondary stuff? Iawkuma's splitter? Hamels changeup? Coles slider? Thanks Jason!
Last year Jason listed Dylan Bundy as having an 8 potential CT/SL, with a 7+ FB.
You didn't say anything about Duffy in the 25 & over. What do you see this year and going forward?
How close was Cheslor Cuthbert? Still like him?
He's in the 11-15 range; it would have been hard for him to crack this top 10. I still like the offensive potential, but the makeup reports don't inspire a lot of confidence.
My sense is that BP is higher on Mondesi and lower on Zimmer than other well-known prospect rankers. Is it fair to say that that's due to your respective assessment of the players' upside?
Watching the players in person has certainly influenced the evaluations, but I still think we are quite high on Zimmer. He's ranked #3 in the system and projected to be a very good #3 starter. That's a high ceiling.

But I guarantee that if more people had the opportunity to watch Mondesi in person, they would be just as high on him as we are. Sometimes you just have to see magic before you can believe it.
"Sometimes you have to see the magic before you believe it." Much like "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark".
Are pictures 9 and 10 artist renditions of those players? They don't look real.
I'm not sure whether seeing Moose listed above Zimmer and Duffy (in the 25 & under)is exciting or depressing. He doesn't pick it well enough to hit like Feliz or Inge, seems that likely #3 starters would rank higher than that.
moose was rated as a very solid defensive third basemen (and a crappy bat) which was pretty much the opposite of his scouting report before he reached the majors. Rocket for an arm and very reliable if he can get to it.
I agree with all of that. I was surprised that package of goods was seen as more valuable than Zimmer or Duffy.
We'll have to see how it plays out. With Duffy, I considered the risk factor of coming back from injury and the unknown right now as to whether he's going to hold up over the long haul as a starter or a move into shorter stints will be better for him. Zimmer is a good talent, but I wasn't ready to slot him above without seeing how the transition of the stuff into the upper minors goes and how he mentally responds to competition being on the same level as him.
Certainly 18.2 innings at AA is not enough of a sample to make conclusions about how Zimmer's stuff has translated to the upper minors, but he also didn't come out and just hold his own...he completely dominated in four starts with scouting reports to match. I sense the hesitation on his ranking has much to do with the late season shut down but the grades of his stuff portend a higher ceiling. I'm frankly surprised Mondesi and Moustakas were ranked higher on the Under 25 list and suspect this will look too conservative as soon as we hit July next year. Great work as always though, gents.
Am I correct in assuming that much of the reason Calixte made the list over Elier Hernandez was the result of proximity to the Majors? Have you had many opportunities to see Hernandez in person (obviously you've seen quite a bit of Calixte)?
I've seen them both. Calixte is further along in the developmental process. Hernandez's offensive tools are a little louder, but the risk is higher as he hasn't even played in full-season ball yet.
10. Orlando Calixte, 20yrs old in AA with "plus raw" on a SS seems like he should have the fantasy communities eye. 20 HR from a SS at .250 is Hardy-ish honestly. His home park is a negative as is the current lineup, but any chance Alcidis is shopped or Calixte slid to 2B to focus on his bat? I really want to see if Starling can build off his late season surge.
Last year you had a "sleeper" type prospect listed. For example you listed Jabari Greer to bust out in which he did even with the league being everyone's focus. Any chance you could have a "Out of Nowhere" section? Adam Bret-Walker was another only adding to the Twins depth. Well, since I went Twins, Arcia just seems like a kid who's gonna hit. Park sucks, but I'm sure his eye from the minors will translate and the batting practice raw exhibits itself into games.
I didn't have sleeper prospects listed last year, and I've never listed Jabari Greer to bust out.
I believe you are referencing a list from 2011, produced by Kevin Goldstein.
Anyone have any insight on why Dozier was playing 3rd base instead of SS?
I see longterm position is 3B, so why is he even listed as a SS. (This site really needs an edit button for recently posted comments)