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Weekly Prospect Update: Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals are currently in a spot they haven’t been in years. They’re likely going to lose the core that they’ve relied on for more than half a decade now. Many members of the 2015 World Series Champion Royals won’t be with the team next year. While this will take some adjusting, it also opens the door for some new faces. It’s possible that a lot of those faces will come from the Royals’ farm system.

10. MJ Melendez, C

  • Age: 19
  • Drafted: 2017, Round 2(52) – KC
2017 stats: (RK-AZL): 47 games, .262/.374/.417, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 25 R, 26 BB, 60 K. 

The Royals loved Melendez’s athleticism and leadership when they took him in the second-round of this year’s Draft. At just 19 years old, Melendez performs well beyond his years on and off the field. That showed in his first season as a professional. In 47 games with the Rookie-level Royals, Melendez batted .262 with four homers and 30 RBI. He has both power and contact potential at the plate. Along with his defensive abilities, Melendez has the tools to be an everyday player at the Major League level.

9. Josh Staumont, RHP

  • Age: 23
  • Drafted: 2015, Round 2(64) – KC
2017 stats: (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 48.2 IP, 3-4, 4.44 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 45 K, 34 BB. (Triple-A Omaha): 76 IP, 3-8, 6.28 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 93 K, 63 BB.

Staumont has been a typical all-or-nothing pitcher in his two and a half seasons as a professional. He has an overpowering fastball that reaches triple-digits with ease. However, he has trouble controlling it at times, which has led to problems with walks and the long ball. Staumont split the season between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017. In 25 starts across both levels, Staumont was 6-12 with a 5.56 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 124.2 innings. He has the highest ceiling among Royals pitching prospects but has a lot of work to do to reach it.

8. Miguel Almonte, RHP

  • Age: 24
  • Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 – KC
2017 stats: (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 29 IP, 1-0, 1.86 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 35 K, 6 BB. (Triple-A Omaha): 18 IP, 0-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 17 K, 7 BB. (MLB Kansas City): 2 IP, 13.50 ERA, 3.50 WHIP, 2 BB. 

After a disastrous 2016 campaign, Almonte turned it around in 2017. He traversed three levels of the system and made a brief stop with the Royals. He pitched as both a starter and out of the bullpen at both levels, succeeded at both. In 47 inning in the minors, Almonte posted an impressive 1.72 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Roughly half of his appearances came out of the bullpen where he was nearly untouchable. Almonte’s ability to pitch in both roles should help his longevity in the Majors. A solid performance in Spring Training could go a long way in Almonte’s chances at starting the year with the Royals.

7. Scott Blewett, RHP

  • Age: 19
  • Drafted: 2014, Round 2(56) – KC
2017 stats: (High-A Wilmington): 152.2 IP, 7-10, 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 129 K, 52 BB.

After three disappointing seasons as a professional, Blewett took the biggest step forward in 2017. He has a great work ethic and a desire to win and it helped him succeed this past season. In 27 starts at High-A Wilmington, Blewett was 7-10 with a 4.07 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. He led the team in strikeouts with 129 and walked just 52. When he was on his game he was dominant and showed what he’s capable of. He’s moving in the right direction and should see his stock rise if the trend continues.

6. Foster Griffen, LHP

  • Age: 22
  • Drafted: 2014, Round 1(28) – KC
2017 stats: (High-A Wilmington): 56.2 IP, 4-2, 2.86 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 60 K, 20 BB. (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 104.2 IP, 11-5, 3.61 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 81 K, 34 BB.  

Griffen finally put together the season the Royals have been waiting for after they took him in the first round of the 2014 Draft. He started the season at High-A and pitched well in 10 starts. His 2.86 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 56.2 innings was enough to earn a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. His success continued, as he made 18 solid starts with the Naturals. Griffen was 11-5 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.36 WHIP after logging 104.2 innings. He has the tools to be a solid starter at the back of the rotation, though he has plenty of refining to do.

5. Eric Skoglund, LHP

  • Age: 25
  • Drafted: 2014, Round 3(92) – KC
2017 stats: (Triple-A Omaha): 100.2 IP, 4-5, 4.11 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 102 K, 29 BB. (MLB Kansas City): 18 IP, 1-2, 9.50 ERA, 2.33 WHIP, 14 K, 12 BB.

Skoglund has been one of the more MLB-ready pitchers on the farm for a couple of seasons now. He made 19 starts at the Triple-A level and posted a 4.11 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 100.2 innings. The tall lefty has benefited from superb control throughout his career. He walked just 29 batters in 2017 while striking out 102. Skoglund made his MLB debut with the Royals as well. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the same success. He made seven appearances, five of them starts, and posted an unsightly 9.50 ERA. He was uncharacteristically sporadic, walking 12 batters compared to 14 strikeouts. Nonetheless, he should still play a role with the Major League club in 2018.

4. Seuly Matias, OF

  • Age: 19
  • Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 – KC
2017 stats: (RK-APP): 57 games, .243/.297/.423, 7 HR, 36 RBI, 27 R, 16 BB, 72 K.

There’s no one in the Royals’ system with more raw power than Matias. Even at 19 years old, Matias has a strong and quick bat. He hit seven homers with the Rookie-level Royals and led the team with 36 RBI. While the power is undeniable, Matias needs to work on his plate discipline and selectiveness. He also led the team with 72 strikeouts in just 57 games. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but Matias has a ton of tools that should develop him into a great all-around player.

3. Hunter Dozier, 3B/OF

  • Age: 26
  • Drafted: 2013, Round 1(8) – KC
2017 stats: (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 6 games, .250/.400/.313, 4 R, 4 BB, 8 K. (Triple-A Omaha): 24 games, .226/.313/.464, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 11 R, 9 BB, 37 K.

After reaching the big leagues in 2016, Dozier looked to have a chance at providing depth for the Royals in 2017. Unfortunately, his season started off on the wrong foot. He missed most of the first two months with an oblique strain, returned for just two months, then injured his hamate bone. The second injury ended his season after logging just 30 games. Dozier could still be a factor at the big league level next season, especially with many players on the move.

2. Khalil Lee, OF

  • Age: 19
  • Drafted: 2016, Round 3(103) – KC
2017 stats: (Single-A Lexington): 121 games, .237/.344/.430, 17 HR, 61 RBI, 71 R, 20 SB, 65 BB, 171 K.

The Royals saw Lee as a steal with the No. 103 overall pick in last year’s Draft. He’s a toolsy athlete with an all-around great feel for the game. Though just 19, Lee’s power has already taken a step forward. He knocked 17 balls out of the park in 2017 and drove in 61 runs. He also managed to swipe 20 bags despite being just an average runner. Lee’s biggest area that needs improvement is his plate discipline. He struck out a staggering 171 times in 121 games and batted just .237. The hitting potential is there, but being selective at the plate has been a huge hurdle for Lee.

1. Nick Pratto, 1B

  • Age: 19
  • Drafted: 2017, Round 1(14) – KC
  • lists: Top 10 1B Prospects (#6)
2017 stats: (RK-AZL): 52 games, .247/.330/.414, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 25 R, 10 SB, 24 BB, 58 K.

The Royals used their first-round pick in this year’s Draft to take Pratto out of high school. The young first baseman was a legitimate two-way prospect heading into the Draft. The Royals loved him for his bat and began transitioning him into a full-time hitter. In 52 games as a professional, Pratto showed off a little of everything. He hit four homers, knocked in 34 runs, stolen 10 bases and played a great first base. While he’s still a long ways from the Majors, the Royals like Pratto enough to consider him their top prospect immediately after drafting him.

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