Tag: Kansas City Royals

Prospect Call Up – Kansas City Royals – Richard Lovelady – LHP

Prospect Call Up – Kansas City Royals – Richard Lovelady – LHP

The Royals optioned pitchers Tim Hill and Kevin McCarthy to AAA Omaha today, recalling Heath Fillmyer and calling Richard Lovelady up for his first taste of the big leagues. Only four teams have worse team ERAs than the Royals here early in 2019 so they are hoping Lovelady will bring a fresh arm to help the team ERA currently sitting at 6.15.

Lovelady, who just missed my Royals top 10 to start the season, is a lefty reliever who is especially tough on left handed hitters thanks to his very low, nearing side armed, slot with a fastball that can get up to 97 with good run and late sink. He also possesses an above average slider that attacks in at right handed batters and just runs away from lefties, allowing him to be successful against hitters from both sides of the plate.

He is working on developing a change which has been quite inconsistent, but no matter how “poor” it is on a given day it shows plenty of movement, he just doesn’t have consistent movement as sometimes it cuts while other times it fades.

His career ERA in the minors is an impressive 1.99 and he strikes out nearly four batters for every walk he gives up, although it is more control than command. Despite missing the catcher’s mitt more often than you would ideally want, he makes his misses down in the zone, limiting the damage that can be done as he has given up just four home runs in 167.1 pro innings.

If the change becomes a pitch he can utilize on a nightly basis, he could develop into a very good left-handed reliver late in games. If that never does come around to be a pitch he can lean on, the fastball/slider mix will be enough to carry him to success as a middle reliever. I don’t think Lovelady is safe from being optioned back to AAA at some point this year, but I also don’t think it is far fetched to say he will grab the job and become a reliable piece in a Royals bullpen desperately looking for reliability in the late innings.

2019 Preseason Top 150

Carter Kieboom
Carter Kieboom. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

Before I even got this posted Alex Reyes exhausted his rookie eligibility (needed a single out to do so and pitched an inning on Friday) so I updated my top 150 before it went live. Reyes was at 22 but is now removed making room for Ryan Weathers, giving the Padres two more than any other team with 12 players making the top 150.  15 players on the list open the season in the big leagues, with 14 of those in the top 80 and the Padres and Mariners both starting with two players in the big leagues.

 

Player Position Team Rank
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B Toronto Blue Jays 1
Fernando Tatis Jr. SS San Diego Padres 2
Eloy Jimenez OF Chicago White Sox 3
Forrest Whitley RHP Houston Astros 4
Victor Robles OF Washington Nationals 5
Jo Adell OF Los Angeles Angels 6
Royce Lewis SS Minnesota Twins 7
Wander Franco SS Tampa Bay Rays 8
Nick Senzel 2B/3B Cincinnati Reds 9
Jesus Luzardo LHP Oakland Athletics 10
MacKenzie Gore LHP San Diego Padres 11
Bo Bichette SS/2B Toronto Blue Jays 12
Kyle Tucker OF Houston Astros 13
Taylor Trammell OF Cincinnati Reds 14
Keston Hiura 2B Milwaukee Brewers 15
Brendan Rodgers SS/2B Colorado Rockies 16
Sixto Sanchez RHP Miami Marlins 17
Cristian Pache OF Atlanta Braves 18
Carter Kieboom SS Washington Nationals 19
Luis Urias 2B/SS San Diego Padres 20
Casey Mize RHP Detroit Tigers 21
Joey Bart C San Francisco Giants 22
Austin Riley 3B Atlanta Braves 23
Keibert Ruiz C Los Angeles Dodgers 24
Pete Alonso 1B New York Mets 25
Brendan McKay LHP/1B Tampa Bay Rays 26
Michael Kopech RHP Chicago White Sox 27
Hunter Greene RHP Cincinnati Reds 28
Mitch Keller RHP Pittsburgh Pirates 29
Andres Gimenez SS New York Mets 30
Brent Honeywell RHP Tampa Bay Rays 31
Nick Madrigal 2B/SS Chicago White Sox 32
Jonathan India 3B/SS Cincinnati Reds 33
Sean Murphy C Oakland Athletics 34
Alex Verdugo OF Los Angeles Dodgers 35
A.J. Puk LHP Oakland Athletics 36
Matthew Liberatore LHP Tampa Bay Rays 37
Mike Soroka RHP Atlanta Braves 38
Nolan Gorman 3B St. Louis Cardinals 39
Ian Anderson RHP Atlanta Braves 40
Francisco Mejia C/OF San Diego Padres 41
Luis Robert OF Chicago White Sox 42
Dylan Cease RHP Chicago White Sox 43
Chris Paddack RHP San Diego Padres 44
Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B Pittsburgh Pirates 45
Vidal Brujan 2B Tampa Bay Rays 46
Touki Toussaint RHP Atlanta Braves 47
Brusdar Graterol RHP Minnesota Twins 48
Justus Sheffield LHP Seattle Mariners 49
Kyle Wright RHP Atlanta Braves 50
Yordan Alvarez OF Houston Astros 51
Alex Kirilloff OF Minnesota Twins 52
Jesus Sanchez OF Tampa Bay Rays 53
Yusei Kikuchi LHP Seattle Mariners 54
Yusniel Diaz OF Baltimore Orioles 55
Khalil Lee OF Kansas City Royals 56
Jarred Kelenic OF Seattle Mariners 57
Triston McKenzie RHP Cleveland Indians 58
Danny Jansen C Toronto Blue Jays 59
Jazz Chisholm SS Arizona Diamondbacks 60
Adrian Morejon LHP San Diego Padres 61
Griffin Canning RHP Los Angeles Angels 62
Dustin May RHP Los Angeles Dodgers 63
Luis Patino RHP San Diego Padres 64
Alec Bohm 3B Philadelphia Phillies 65
Estevan Florial OF New York Yankees 66
Jon Duplantier RHP Arizona Diamondbacks 67
DL Hall LHP Baltimore Orioles 68
Nate Pearson RHP Toronto Blue Jays 69
Josh James RHP Houston Astros 70
Drew Waters OF Atlanta Braves 71
Bryse Wilson RHP Atlanta Braves 72
Nolan Jones 3B Cleveland Indians 73
Gavin Lux SS/2B Los Angeles Dodgers 74
Travis Swaggerty OF Pittsburgh Pirates 75
Matt Manning RHP Detroit Tigers 76
Oneil Cruz SS Pittsburgh Pirates 77
Luis Garcia SS/3B Washington Nationals 78
Garrett Hampson 2B/SS Colorado Rockies 79
Adonis Medina RHP Philadelphia Phillies 80
Ryan Mountcastle 3B Baltimore Orioles 81
Kristian Robinson OF Arizona Diamondbacks 82
Brady Singer RHP Kansas City Royals 83
Monte Harrison OF Miami Marlins 84
Logan Allen LHP San Diego Padres 85
Nico Hoerner SS Chicago Cubs 86
Michel Baez RHP San Diego Padres 87
Isaac Paredes SS/2B Detroit Tigers 88
Victor Victor Mesa OF Miami Marlins 89
Trevor Larnach OF Minnesota Twins 90
Brandon Marsh OF Los Angeles Angels 91
Heliot Ramos OF San Francisco Giants 92
Brandon Lowe 2B/OF Tampa Bay Rays 93
Ronny Mauricio SS New York Mets 94
Will Smith C/3B Los Angeles Dodgers 95
MJ Melendez C Kansas City Royals 96
Dane Dunning RHP Chicago White Sox 97
Ronaldo Hernandez C Tampa Bay Rays 98
Hans Crouse RHP Texas Rangers 99
Jonathan Loaisiga RHP New York Yankees 100
Corbin Martin RHP Houston Astros 101
Cole Winn RHP Texas Rangers 102
Luiz Gohara LHP Atlanta Braves 103
Leody Taveras OF Texas Rangers 104
William Contreras C Atlanta Braves 105
Seuly Matias OF Kansas City Royals 106
Lucius Fox SS Tampa Bay Rays 107
Corey Ray OF Milwaukee Brewers 108
Spencer Howard RHP Philadelphia Phillies 109
Jahmai Jones 2B Los Angeles Angels 110
Jordyn Adams OF Los Angeles Angels 111
George Valera OF Cleveland Indians 112
J.B. Bukauskas RHP Houston Astros 113
Justin Dunn RHP Seattle Mariners 114
Michael Chavis 3B Boston Red Sox 115
Mark Vientos 3B New York Mets 116
Daz Cameron OF Detroit Tigers 117
Bubba Thompson OF Texas Rangers
Josh Naylor 1B/OF San Diego Padres 119
Colton Welker 3B Colorado Rockies 120
Daulton Varsho C Arizona Diamondbacks 121
Evan White 1B Seattle Mariners 122
Peter Lambert RHP Colorado Rockies 123
Taylor Widener RHP Arizona Diamondbacks 124
Julio Pablo Martinez OF Texas Rangers 125
Kevin Smith SS/3B Toronto Blue Jays 126
Miguel Amaya C Chicago Cubs 127
Andrew Knizner C St. Louis Cardinals 128
Tyler Nevin 1B Colorado Rockies 129
Hudson Potts 3B/1B San Diego Padres 130
Sandy Alcantara RHP Miami Marlins 131
Shane Baz RHP Tampa Bay Rays 132
Tyler Stephenson C Cincinnati Reds 133
Eric Pardinho RHP Toronto Blue Jays 134
Franklin Perez RHP Detroit Tigers 135
Jordan Groshans 3B/SS Toronto Blue Jays 136
Dakota Hudson RHP St. Louis Cardinals 137
Nate Lowe 1B Tampa Bay Rays 138
Elehuris Montero 3B St. Louis Cardinals 139
Luis Oviedo RHP Cleveland Indians 140
Tony Santillan RHP Cincinnati Reds 141
Triston Casas 1B/3B Boston Red Sox 142
Adbert Alzolay RHP Chicago Cubs 143
Ethan Hankins RHP Cleveland Indians 144
Beau Burrows RHP Detroit Tigers 145
Brice Turang SS Milwaukee Brewers 146
Brent Rooker 1B/OF Minnesota Twins 147
Alex Faedo RHP Detroit Tigers 148
Deivi Garcia RHP New York Yankees 149
Ryan Weathers LHP San Diego Padres 150

 

Kansas City Royals 2019 Preseason Top 10

Khalil Lee
Khalil Lee. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

1)

Player: Khalil Lee
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height:  5’10” Weight: 170 lbs.
Quick Report: Lee has enough of an arm that many teams gave real consideration to drafting him as a pitcher, but the Royals took him as an outfielder in the third round of the 2016 draft. He has primarily played center through his minor league career and is solid there, but projects to fit best in right long term. At the plate, he possesses an all too rare true two strike approach. With less than two strikes, he has a moderate leg kick that does get down early allowing him to adjust to pitches. With two strikes he simply slides his front foot rather than lifts it to be in a hitting position earlier. With both approaches, his bat is very quick and through the zone with a long follow through. He has solid bat-to-ball skills but the ball really jumps off the bat thanks in large part to a very strong lower half.

2)

Player: Brady Singer
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: DNP
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’5” Weight: 210
Quick Report: The 2018 draft was full of surprises that saw several very highly rated prospects slip much further than anticipated and the Royals were the beneficiaries of this, grabbing Singer at 18 overall. Everything about Singers delivery screams high arm slot, but ends up delivering out of a low 3/4 that sees the ball released almost below his glove hand causing surprising deception. Add to that the fact he has a two-seam fastball that dips and runs and a four-seam that cuts some and a truly plus breaking that he can vary between a sharp cutter and a long slider, and he really had four plus pitches disguised as two. His change is well behind his other pitches as he didn’t need to use it much to be effective, even in the highly competitive SEC, but many scouts feel it will develop to be at least big league average. He also manages to show very good command giving him the upside of a genuine ace.

3)

Player: MJ Melendez
Position(s): C Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’1” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: A left-handed power bat that can just happen to be a plus defender behind the dish is definitely something to be fond of. I am usually a huge fan of catchers, although I am admittedly a little lower on Melendez than most of the industry. He has excellent footwork and a plus arm, but I am less than thrilled with his glove when receiving the ball. Despite that, he has shown the ability to command a pitching staff and has thrown out better than 41% of would-be base stealers thus far. At the plate, he has power that could become elite for the position, but the dip in his back shoulder sees him swing under the ball too often. His strikeout rate is high, and he will pop out too often to ever really hit for a solid average without real mechanical adjustments. Still, a power hitting catcher that can control the running game and communicate well with the pitching staff is always a commodity that will be in high demand.

4)

Player: Jackson Kowar
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’5” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: Kowar was the Saturday night starter for Florida, behind number one Royals prospect Brady Singer. Now they team up again with the Royals and could potentially be a 1-2 punch in the big leagues before too long. Kowar already has a plus change and his fastball can run up to 97 and sit in the mid-90s. He has a curve that has been inconsistent, although there are real expectations it will work more to the version with good shape and command in time rather than the one that spun too often. He is long and lean, although there isn’t much expectation he will add a lot to his frame. Some are left with concern with a slight short arm 3/4 delivery, but he has shown plus athleticism on and off the mound that suggest he can work through the minor arm slot concerns and be reliable long term.

5)

Player: Seuly Matias
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: As prototypical a right fielder as they come, Matias is blessed with rare plus arm and power. He played just 94 games last season (his first in full-season ball) and blasted 31 home runs, but also struck out 131 times and put up just a .231 average. His bat is loud, both literally and figuratively, as he is one of those guys who fits the cliché of the ball simply sounding different off his bat. The bat is a little slow to the zone so there is some question as to how he handles elite arms, but there is also projection left in the body that suggests his power will only improve. He should be a future piece in the middle Royals order and part of one of the better trio of outfield prospects in any system (along with Khalil Lee and another who comes in at number nine on this list).

6)

Player: Nicky Lopez
Position(s): SS/2B Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: AAA
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 175 lbs.
Quick Report: This is not one of the flashy or toolsy prospects, but instead is one that is “safe” and productive. Nicky looks like a second baseman as he isn’t all that big in stature, but has plenty of range, glove, and arm to play short. He will never hit for much power (30 XBH in 130 games over two levels last year) but he will contribute plenty of contact and sprays the ball all over the field. He walked more than he struck out a year ago, so he can set the table at the top of the order, or be an elite bat in the nine hole of an AL lineup. Lopez should stay with the big league club deep into the Spring,  but ultimately return to AAA at the start of the season where he will earn himself a big league debut early in the year.

7)

Player: Nick Pratto
Position(s): 1B Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’1” Weight: 195
Quick Report: Pratto is an interesting prospect in the aspect that he doesn’t look or play like a traditional first baseman, but may turn into one of the better ones. He does not possess great size, although there is plenty of projection in his body. He can absolutely pick it at first, and might have the best arm of any first base prospect in the game, although that will rarely be a benefit outside of the ability to back-pick runners as the cutoff man. At the plate he will swing and miss plenty, but he also hits for a solid average. His hands start off low and has a leg kick, but gets the foot back down early and his hands into a good hitting position in plenty of time to do damage. There is a natural loft to his swing and natural power that suggest he will be a 30+ HR guy in time.

 

8)

Player: Daniel Lynch
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 22 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’6” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: The long bodied Lynch has good actions on the mound despite the bit of effort at the very end of his delivery. He has long arms and legs, giving him plenty of extension that is borderline unfair considering he sits in the mid-90s and touches 97 with some regularity. He has a pair of breaking balls to go with an advanced feel for a change, giving him a true four pitch mix that he can throw with command in any count. The arm slot is 3/4 but the fact he is 6’6” still allows him to provide plenty of downhill plane on the fastball. He does not have the upside of the duo of Gators taken ahead of him in the 2018 draft, but he might prove to be the fastest mover of the Royals impressive draft class last June.

9)

Player: Kyle Isbel
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 183 lbs.
Quick Report: In the trio of outfielders in the top ten Royals prospects, Isbel might have the best chance to stick in center. He has solid reads but doesn’t cover a ton of ground. That said, his natural baseball instincts allow him to make plenty of plays in center, and get great jumps while on the bases. There is a ton of movement in his swing, shifting his center of gravity from the middle of his body to his back foot before ending up out on his front foot at the point of contact. This could really cost him in the power department, but his hands still stay well controlled and he has shown a knack to spray the ball all over the field. He struck out a bit more than anticipated when he was promoted to Lexington, but I could see him settling in as a very good two hole hitter in time.

10)

Player: Kris Bubic
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6’3” Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: The fifth 2018 draft pick in the top 10 of my Royals list, Bubic is the one with the widest of possible outcomes. He has a very odd delivery, showing the ball well behind his back, which has a lot of lean to it, before getting back upright and throwing out of a high slot. His bread and butter is the fastball/change combo that results in plenty of swing and miss. He also has a curve, although it is well behind the other two pitches. He demonstrates the ability to pound the zone, so there is plenty of reason to believe he can stick as a starter towards the back of a rotation, but there is also enough strikeout potential and deception to think he could be a sneaky option to turn into a late inning reliever.

Others of Note:

Carlos Hernandez – RHP – 21 – Low A
Yefri Del Rosario – RHP – 19 – Low A
Michael Gigliotti – OF – 23 – Low A
Richard Lovelady – LHP – 23 – AAA
Josh Staumont – RHP – 25 – AAA
Scott Blewett – RHP – 22 – AA
Meibrys Viloria – C – 22 – MLB
Kelvin Gutierrez – 3B – 24 – AA

First Hand Reports: Brett Martin and Sam Selman

Courtesy of Shaun P Kernahan

Friday was a day for me to see two pitchers I have seen flash really well in the past and offered me a chance to reset my opinion on both of them, and some feeling have changed.

Let’s start with Brett Martin of the Texas Rangers. The 6’4” very lanky 190 lbs. lefty who was drafted out of  a Tennessee JC (along with staff-mate at the time Brent Honeywell) and started out as the number two starter for the 2014 AZL club.

His high 3/4 arm slot left little run on his fastball this day, something that I have seen plenty of in previous outings. He worked between 89-92 and it was very flat. His curve was impressive, coming in repetitively at 80 MPH with a 2-8 break and a big bump in the middle of it.  His change sat between 80-82 and showed some late life, but not as much as I have seen in the past.

On the day, Martin did not look like the future number four or five I have seen him flash in the past. It was an intra-squad game in the middle of spring, so the adrenaline wasn’t flowing quite like a live game, but I am not used to seeing him dip below 90 on the gun and has regularly sat 93 with life. I have also seen games where the change dips at the end with the same arm slot as the fastball. On those days, he is a good number four starter potential, on days like Friday, he is a AAA arm. In the end I see him as a fringe-rotation guy but enough stuff to stick.

Another guy I got to see was Royals lefty Sam Selman. Selman was a second round pick out of Vanderbilt  back in 2012 who is heading into his age 27 season. I first saw him as he transitioned from starter to reliever, and he still has a starter’s repertoire, but without the elite reliever stuff. His bent arm 3/4 delivery leaves his arm in a touch to read slot, that allows his fastball to play up. It was coming in between 90-92 with late run back arm side after heavy cross body plane despite a relatively level release point. He mixed in his change at 80-81 where his arm slows just a touch making his early changeups easier to read, but the arm caught up later in the inning. He showed two versions of a breaking ball, one at 79-80 that had a flat plane but darted in at righties late. He also threw one at 87 that had the depth of a full slider and was by far his best pitch of the day, but I only saw it once.

Selman has outgrown real prospect status that he once held, and is really just a 6th or 7th inning guy at best, but he has the chances to be one who does get a taste of big league action this year while likely ending up as one of those relievers that wears out his options and finds himself on the waiver wire many times in his career as he will bounce between AAA and the last man in a bullpen for a number of years.