With the season turning out the way most people who don’t work at Kauffman Stadium thought it would, it is time to officially prognosticate on your 2018 (and beyond) Kansas City Royals!
I am assuming none of Hosmer, Cain, Moose, Esky, Vargas, or Kennedy (opt-out) return. The Royals may net 2-3 rankable prospects at the deadline, and pick up a couple sandwich picks in the 2018 draft. As an aside, this is a fantastic flow chart for compensation picks under the new CBA:
Prospects likely to help in 2018 (with pre-season ranks):
Matt Strahm LHP (1) – had a disastrous start to season, looks to have figured it out, chance to start likely gone if he doesn’t come out of 2018 spring training in rotation.
Hunter Dozier 3B (2) – on 60-day DL since beginning of season with oblique strain, on rehab assignment, the future is still wide open if he can out-produce Cuthbert.
Josh Staumont RHP (3) – has cut his BB rate again, which is fantastic, but down to 6 BB/9 in AAA, still not playable. Getting closer to making it, if he can get it below 5 BB/9 in MLB he’ll be an above average SP. LATE BREAKING – last two starts have been a step back, Royals need to leave him in AAA and see if he can figure it out. Power reliever is a great backup plan, but have to give him a chance to start.
Jorge Bonifacio OF (5) – he is hitting just enough (more than I thought he would) to offset his terrible OF defense. Not very Royalsy, I’m expecting a trade to the A’s.
Jake Junis RHP (32) – first sips of MLB coffee have been fine, has a chance to take the ‘crappy pitcher we have to throw out there sometimes’ role from Chris Young in 2018.
Ramon Torres SS (43) – might be something here, trending up, will have to battle Mondesi and Merrifield for SS/2B starts.
Miguel Almonte RHP (44) – back to intriguing – will likely be a bullpen piece for 2018 team.
2019 and beyond:
Nicky Lopez SS (23) – drafted as a SS with questions about his bat. wRC+ at 132 in Hi A, has officially transitioned from maybe to maybe.
Frank Schwindel 1B (36) – hit his way to AAA this year, already knocked O’Brien out of the system, has to keep mashing to get a chance.
Foster Griffin LHP (40) – pitching well, and has been smiled upon by the BABIP fairy so far this year.
Emmanuel Rivera 2B (45) – hitting enough in Lexington.
Chris DeVito 1B (HM) – earned promotion to Wilmington.
Elier Hernandez OF (HM) – hello, better late than never. 22 this year, needs to be above average in AAA this year to be on the Jorge Bonifacio path.
Samir Duenez 1B (6) – an above-average hitter in AA before his 21st birthday, but not crushing the ball enough for the 1B profile. Maybe Salvy can lobby for his fellow countryman.
Meibrys Viloria C (10) – slow start, heating up. Above-average hitter at C.
Khalil Lee OF (11) – fast start, league has adjusted, will be telling if he can adjust back. Still only 18, may be sent down to short-season ball when it starts up in June.
Gabriel Cancel 2B (14) – holding his own in first taste of full season ball.
AJ Puckett RHP (17) – walk rate has spiked in Hi A. Still a potential #4 SP.
Scott Blewett RHP (21) – HR rate has spiked in Hi A at a park that should suppress that problem.
Eric Skoglund LHP (22) – holding his own in AAA, edging closer to getting a chance to start in MLB but probably still a reliever.
Sell! Sell! Sell!
Ryan O’Hearn 1B (8): not hitting enough, opening door for Schwindel and DeVito.
Chase Vallot C (9): not a catcher, 38% K rate. Pass.
Corey Toups 2B (16): not hitting enough
Article featured image of Josh Staumont – courtesy kansascity.com/sports, John Sleezer – firstname.lastname@example.org