Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prospecting for Gold

The boys over at FanGraphs are perhaps my favorite baseball writers out there. They are doing some fantastic work over there.

Yesterday, Mark Hulet put up a piece on the Royals' farm system for their on-going series "The 2009 Prospect Mine", and it is probably a little helpful to read what an outsider has to say about the Royals' system.

Obviously, we are all familiar with all the names that are mentioned in the column, but I think I can speak for many of us in saying that we Royals fans could probably stand to read what some outsiders have to say about the team--especially if the "Guess the Royals Record" responses over at Royally Speaking (at the bottom of the entry) are an accurate barometer of what Royals fans are thinking for their prospects this season.

There are a few things to consider from the column:
  • Hulet thinks Kila Ka’aihue's power is for real but that his average is just as likely to settle in near .260. He remarks that maybe the Royals would be better off paying Kila league minimum to do what Mike Jacobs will do. Hopeful Royals fans agree.
  • He thinks both Daniel Cortes and Carlos Rosa may be looking at a future in the pen, with Cortes having the potential for being a dominant eighth- or ninth-inning guy. Rosa seems to be limited to a bullpen role by his lack of a viable third pitch.
  • He sees Mike Moustakas possibly making his way to AA by the end of the season.
  • Eric Hosmer could get the Travis Snider fast-track treatment as his bat is so polished that Hulet thinks our newest treasure may see High-A pitching this season.
  • Danny Gutierrez could move quickly through the upper levels of the Royals system with his age, three pitches, and relative health after his hairline fracture.
  • Danny Duffy's issues with his shoulder could get in the way of him becoming the number three starter that his skill-set could enable him to become.
  • While Jose Bonilla was one of the top prospects in Rookie ball, his paltry walk rate could hinder him. He seems to do everything else fairly well, though, including catching.
  • He projects Johnny Giavotella as topping out as a utility player with a few possibly productive seasons.
So what can we take from this?

It would seem that maybe there is enough talent at the lower levels that could actually get fast tracked to affect the Royals by the end of the 2010 season. Obviously, it is more likely that Moose and even Hosmer don't arrive on the scene until 2011, but if things break right...

Oh, who am I kidding? These are the Royals.

OK, seriously. There is talent in the system, thanks in large part to Dayton Moore getting the Glass family (where are Franny and Zooey? Seymour?) to spend in the draft and deal with guys with higher contract demands. It would seem the years of the Royals' system producing two prospects per decade are gone. There are always going to be some question marks. Remember how Felix Hernandez was crowned King Felix at the age of 20? Well, Mariners fans could probably talk your ear off about how he has not become a young Dwight Gooden.

While we wait for Billy Butler and Alex Gordon to live up to their potential, we can look to the youngsters in the farm system with wide eyes, but we should remember that expectations are best constructed tempered.

1 comment:

Jeff Parker said...

Hulet thinks Kila Ka’aihue's power is for real but that his average is just as likely to settle in near .260. He remarks that maybe the Royals would be better off paying Kila league minimum to do what Mike Jacobs will do. Hopeful Royals fans agree.

2009 ZIPS Projections:
Jacobs - .262/.313/.485 24 HR 82 RBI 106 OPS+

Kila - .258/.345/.432 21 HR 74 RBI 103 OPS+