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Kansas City Royals: Top 10 Dynasty Prospects

We continue our look of the best prospects in each MLB team's farm system with the Kansas City Royals. Once the 2020 MLB season begins, it may turn out that Minor League systems will be more important than usual. Franchises are losing money during the pandemic layoff, so many teams will be looking for sources of cheap production. It might also take older players longer to rebound from a long layoff meaning we could see more injuries and more roster moves. We might even see expanded rosters, at least in the early going.

One important question to ask is: How will a long layoff affect prospects? One has to assume the more advanced prospects prior to the work stoppage will be at an advantage, while the more “toolsy but raw” type could be hurt with the lack of repetition and in-game action; throwing or hitting in simulated environments just doesn’t match up to the real thing. Many prospects will have to work jobs during the pandemic just to make ends meet, while players who signed for large bonuses will have an advantage. Other prospects that lack strong discipline and commitment to their craft could struggle to stay in shape.

We won’t really know what the layoff impact will have on baseball in general until things start ramping up. But we do know that a strong prospect pool will continue to be an important element for a successful baseball franchise. We're looking at the Top 10 (or more) dynasty prospects in each organization with an eye to discovering which organizations are best positioned to succeed with their player development when games resume. Make sure to check out all of our prospect content, including Top 50 for 2020 and Top 250 for Dynasty Leagues.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Quick Synopsis

How crazy would it be to have a five-man rotation made up entirely of pitchers from the same draft? The Royals’ 2018 draft was so impressive that there are six college arms on the Top 10 list from that draft. And one of those arms, if he doesn’t stick as a starter, could end up as a high-leverage reliever. On the downside, the Royals scouting (and talent acquisition) hasn’t been as impressive outside of that one gold mine. Let's dig into the Royals top-10 prospects and see what gold might be mined from the system.

 

1. Bobby Witt Jr., SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 43
2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2022

Selected second overall in the 2019 draft, Witt Jr. obviously has massive potential. He has a chance to be a power-hitting shortstop with the ability to be a 20-20 player, at least early in his career before he slows down. My concern with Witt Jr. is the swing-and-miss tendencies he’s shown since his amateur days. Without further development, this could prevent him from hitting for a high average as he faces tougher competition. Defensively, he grades out well at shortstop and should have no issues staying at the position.

 

2. Daniel Lynch, LHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 57
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

As mentioned above, the Royals did an amazing job in the 2018 draft when it came to identifying college pitching talent and any three of these next arms could easily develop into No. 3 starters or better. Lynch gets the nod at the head of the pack for now because he’s a left-handed pitcher with above-average stuff and has seen his fastball velocity trend upwards since turning pro. An injury slowed his ascent through the minors in 2019 but he should be fully healthy whenever the 2020 (or 2021) season begins.

 

3. Jackson Kowar, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 63
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

The next two pitchers were teammates at the University of Florida. Brady Singer was more heralded as an amateur but Kowar has arguably surpassed him since turning pro. At 6-foot-5, the lanky right-hander has a great pitcher’s frame with room to add good weight and get even stronger. He has two plus pitches in his fastball-changeup combination and the further development of his breaking ball will help determine just how high the ceiling will be.

 

4. Brady Singer, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 82
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Singer was very close to signing with the Toronto Blue Jays as a second-round pick out of high school but a failed physical (for reasons unknown) scuttled the deal and he headed off to college instead. The right-hander has been a highly-sought-after commodity for quite some time but there is concern that he was perhaps overworked, which could become an issue down the line. Singer’s fastball isn’t quite as strong as the two pitchers above him but he may have the best combination of command and control of the trio. Along with throwing lots of quality strikes, he also induces a ton of ground balls and does a nice job avoiding the long ball.

 

5. Kris Bubic, LHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 96
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Bubic’s stuff is a step behind the trio of hurlers above but his funky delivery and improving control helped lead him to a 32.1% K-rate in 2019. Bubic struck out 185 batters in 149.1 innings over two A-ball stops, with his changeup being his most promising swing-and-miss offering. The lefty’s ceiling is more of a No. 4 starter but he has a durable frame so he should be able to provide a lot of innings.

 

6. Khalil Lee, OF

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 150
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

A two-way player in high school, Lee has taken a little longer to figure out things in pro ball because of his time spent on the mound. He’s very athletic and loaded with tools but his approach at the plate leads to a lot of strikeouts and lower-than-ideal batting averages. The good news is that his patience helps him get on base to take advantage of his above-average speed, with Lee stealing 53 bases in 2019. He’s not the biggest player but has shown good raw power in the past - most notably hitting 17 home runs in 2017. But with a 59.3% groundball-rate last season, Lee's swing will need tweaks to consistently clear the outfield fences.

 

7. Kyle Isbel, OF

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 193
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Injuries held Isbel to just 59 games in 2019 and he was no doubt looking forward to a strong performance in 2020 to help him get back on track. The left-handed hitter has actually hit southpaws better as a pro so he has some work to do to show he can be a valuable everyday player. Isbel shows flashes of power but it may end up being more of the gap variety. He also has the speed to steal 15-20 bases a season if he plays every day.

 

8. Erick Pena, OF

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 248
2020 LEVEL: Rookie
MLB ETA: 2023

Given almost $4 million to sign last summer as a 16-year-old outfielder out of the Dominican Republic, Pena has as much potential as any player on this list but is also the rawest. With a chance to hit for both average and power, those who have seen him a lot see an advanced prospect who could move through the system relatively quickly. The lack of a delayed or canceled season could have a significant negative impact on players like Pena, who has yet to officially play pro ball.

 

9. Jonathan Bowlan, RHP

2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

At 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, Bowlan is a huge pitcher with a fastball that has touched 96-97 mph as a starter. He also has a potentially plus-slider but his changeup lags behind the other offerings, which suggests he could end up as a high-leverage reliever — especially given the pitching depth ahead of him. With that said, his ability to throw consistent strikes could allow him to stick as a starter even if he fails to develop a reliable third offering.

 

10. Austin Cox, LHP

2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Cox has shown a lot of improvements as a pro and has the potential to develop into a reliable No. 4 starter with four average-or-better offerings. He also has a big, strong pitcher’s frame and should provide a lot of innings. He threw very well at two A-ball levels in 2019 thanks to his above-average control. He doesn’t miss a ton of bats but limits base runners and keeps the ball in the park.

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