Kansas City Royals Top 5 Prospects Post-Trade Deadlineby John Lepore August 27, 2021 1 comment
It is no secret that the Kansas City Royals love drafting pitchers. Of their 14 first and second-round picks since 2018, 10 of them have been pitchers. Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, and Daniel Lynch have started a combined 45 games for the Royals this season. Even as their talent moves up to the majors, Kansas City has a deep farm system. It isn’t all pitching either. In fact, four of the players on this list are hitters.
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Bobby Witt SS
Witt is ranked as the third-best prospect in baseball according to MLB.com behind Adley Rutschman and Julio Rodriguez. After being selected second overall in the 2019 draft, the Texas native has absolutely crushed in the minors. This season between Double-A and Triple-A, the shortstop is slashing .293/.362/.577 with 26 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 92 games.
There aren’t many players with no weaknesses to their game. Witt is one of them. He rates as plus across the board. His power-speed combo is obvious, and he should only get better as he refines his approach. Defensively, Witt will stick at shortstop as he has excellent hands, great range, and can fire the ball across the diamond in the mid-90s. Kansas City fans should be excited to see this kid in Kauffman Stadium next season.
Nick Pratto 1B
Pratto was a first-round pick in 2017 out of Huntington Beach High School in California. In 2018 at Single-A Lexington, the left-handed slugger looked to be on the fast track to the majors slashing .280/.343/.443 with 33 doubles, 14 homers, and 22 steals. In 2019, Pratto messed around with his swing and did not get the results he was looking for. This season he got back to what worked for him at Lexington and cut down on his strikeouts considerably from 34.7 percent to 28.4 percent. The first baseman also improved his walk rate from 10.4 percent to 15.2 percent.
Power is the name of his game and he has crushed 25 home runs this year between Double-A and Triple-A. Defensively, Pratto should win a few Gold Gloves in the majors. He has a quick first step, great instincts, and a good arm from his corner spot on the dirt. If the 22-year-old continues to improve on his pitch recognition, he could be on the big club next year.
The Royals’ second-round pick in 2017 has been tearing the cover off the ball this season. Recently called up to Triple-A Omaha, Melendez continues to hit. Between Double-A and Triple-A this year, the catcher has been slashing .279/.367/.608 with 31 homers in 91 games. He has the most power in the system. His defensive ability has improved as well. The 22-year-old has always had a cannon for an arm, but his blocking and framing skills have come along nicely. While Salvador Perez is locked into the position with Kansas City for the foreseeable future, Melendez’s bat will get him to the majors quickly.
Asa Lacy LHP
The former fourth overall pick of the Royals is likely out for the season at this point. Nevertheless, Lacy has shown a solid four-pitch mix with 79 strikeouts in just 52 innings for Advanced-A Quad Cities before getting hurt. He has also limited the long ball allowing just five bombs in that time. The question about Lacy that has lingered since he was selected last year is his control.
The southpaw has walked 41 in those 52 innings and has to clean up his delivery. While he gets some deception from it, it is not very repeatable. As he moves up the ladder, without refinement, it will be an issue and could relegate the 22-year-old to the bullpen long-term. If he can throw consistent strikes, Lacy has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.
Kyle Isbel OF
Isbel had a cup of coffee coming out of spring training this year and initially looked great going 5-for-9 in his first two games. He cooled off afterward and was sent down to Triple-A Omaha. He has done well with the Storm Chasers slashing .263/.359/.418 with 10 homers and 21 swipes. Isbel is an excellent athlete, and as long as he hits, he will find himself in the majors. His defense should keep him in centerfield with good range and an above-average arm. If he moves to a corner outfield spot, he could be a Gold Glove winner like career-Royal Alex Gordon who transitioned from third base early in his major-league career.
What Does the Future Hold?
There is still plenty of pitching in the minors as the Royals drafted High Schoolers Frank Mozzicato and Ben Kudrna with their first two picks this year. Right-handed pitcher Jackson Kowar is obviously on the cusp as he hit the majors this year for a few innings. Jonathan Bowlan is a name to keep an eye on as he was the fifth pitcher taken in 2018 after Singer, Kowar, Lynch, and Bubic. Nick Loftin has also done well in his first taste of pro ball after being selected 32nd overall last year. Kansas City is on the rise and should be contending in a couple of years for an AL Central crown.
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