Lutz Blog

Kansas City Royals prospects have some ups and downs

Bubba Starling, from Gardner-Edgerton, was the Royals’ top draft pick in 2011. Now 22, he’s struggled to advance through Kansas City’s system.
Bubba Starling, from Gardner-Edgerton, was the Royals’ top draft pick in 2011. Now 22, he’s struggled to advance through Kansas City’s system.

The Kansas City Royals are having success in 2014 and much of the credit goes to the team’s farm system. It took some players a while to develop, but eventually they did. And 10 players who were drafted or signed by the Royals and came through the system are playing key roles.

They are: left fielder Alex Gordon, designated hitter/first baseman Billy Butler, first baseman Eric Hosmer (disabled list current), third baseman Mike Moustakas, catcher Salvador Perez and pitchers Danny Duffy, Yordany Ventura, Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and Aarow Crow.

Reserve infielder Christian Colon, Kansas City’s first-round pick in 2010, has made a significant contribution since being recalled from the minor leagues.

For Kansas City to stay in contention on a consistent basis, though, the Royals’ farm system will need to continue to flourish. And judging from the looks of things, reviews are mixed.

I looked at players who the Royals have drafted in the first five rounds since 2010 and will share their statistics for the 2014 season.


1. Christian Colon, INF - Colon batted .311 with eight homers and 47 RBI in 86 games at Omaha and has been a big weapon off the bench for the Royals the past few weeks.

2. Brett Eibner, CF - Eibner, 25, has reached Triple-A Omaha, but is batting only .243 with seven homers and 27 RBI in 73 games with the Storm Chasers.

3. Michael Antonio, 1B - The 22-year-old Antonio has batted .263 with nine homers and 55 RBI in 97 games between Lexington (Low-A) and Wilmington (High-A).

4. Kevin Chapman, RHP - The Royals traded Chapman to Houston in March, 2012, for catcher Humberto Quintero and outfielder Jason Bourgeois. Chapman, 26, is 2-1 in 36 games with the Astros.

5. Jason Adam, RHP - Adam, 23, was traded to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Josh Willingham just a couple of weeks ago. He’s 5-9 in the minors this season with a 4.70 ERA and is currently pitching at Double-A New Britain.


1. Bubba Starling, OF - In 301 minor-league games since being drafted, Darling has batted .239 with 32 homers and 150 RBI. This season, for Wilmington in the Carolina League (High-Class A), Starling is batting .221 with nine homers and 54 RBI.

2. Cam Gallagher, C - Gallagher, 21, is batting .232 with five homers and 34 RBI for Wilmington. He’s played in 89 games and has 16 doubles.

3. Bryan Brickhouse, P - The 22-year-old Brickhouse is 1-2 in nine games for Rookie League Idaho Falls in a season beset with injuries. He’s 8-9 overall with a 4.41 ERA in 31 career minor-league games.

4. Kyle Smith, P - Smith was traded to Houston last season in the deal that brought Justin Maxwell to Kansas City. In 27 games at Lancaster (High-A) and Corpus Christi (Double-A), the 21-year-old Smith is 8-5 this season with a 3.86 ERA.

5. Patrick Leonard, 1B - Leonard was part of the 2012 trade with Tampa Bay that brought James Shields to the Royals and sent uber-prospect Wil Myers to the Rays. Leonard is playing this season with Charlotte in the Class-A Florida State League and is batting .291 with 13 homers and 58 RBI with an OPS of .835.


1. Kyle Zimmer, P - Zimmer, regarded as Kansas City’s top ptiching prospect, hasn’t made made progress this season. An arm injury has limited him to three apperances at Low-A Idaho Falls, where he has pitched only two innings.

2. Sam Selman, P - Selman, 23, has pitched for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha this season. In 32 games, 16 of them starts, he is 4-6 with a 4.33 ERA. That includes four rough appearances at Omaha, where he’s allowed six runs in 2.2 innings.

3. Colin Rodgers, P - Rodgers, a 20-year-old left-hander, has has an injury-plagued season, one that has included only five starts at Burlington in the Appalachian League. He’s 0-4 with a 7.45 ERA in those starts.

4. Kenny Diekroger, 2B - Diekroger has split time this season between Lexington and Wilmington. He’s batting .232 with four homers and 24 RBI.

5. Chad Johnson, C - Johnson is playing at the low Class-A level with Lexington, where he’s batting .234 with four homers and 37 RBI in 100 games.


1. Hunter Dozier, 3B - A high school shortstop, Dozier has moved to third base with the Royals. The 23-year-old has played 66 games at Wilmington and 57 at Northwest Arkansas this season, batting .254 with eight homers and 59 RBI, but just .211 since his promotion to Double-A.

1. (Supplemental) Sean Manaea, P - Drafted out of Indiana State with a concern because of an arm injury, Manaea has had a good season at High-A Wilmington. The 22-year-old has only a 6-8 record, but sports a 3.30 ERA and has struck out 124 in 114.2 innings.

2. Cody Reed, P - Reed, 21, is 3-8 with a 5.65 ERA at Lexington. Opponents are batting .316 against him.

3. Carter Hope, P - Hope’s season has been interrupted by injury. In just nine games at Burlington, the 19-year-old Hope is 1-3 with a 3.99 ERA.

4. Zane Evans, C - In 93 games with Wilmington, the 22-year-old Evans has batted .229 with five homers and 32 RBI.

5. Amalani Fukofuka, OF - Just 18, Fukofuka, drafted out of James Logan High in California, is batting .181 in 46 games with Burlington.


1. Brandon Finnegan, P - The former TCU pitcher has moved quickly. In 11 games between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas, the 21-year-old Finnegan is 0-3 with a 1.46 ERA.

1. Foster Griffin, P - Just 19, Griffin has pitched in nine games with Burlington (Rookie), where he is 0-2 with a 3.68 ERA. He has given up only 14 hits in 22 innings, but has walked 12.

1. (Supplemental) Chase Vallot, C - Vallot, 18, has batted .228 in 171 at-bats at Burlington with seven homers and 26 RBI.

2. Scott Blewett, P - In seven games at Burlington, Blewett, 18, is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA. He has fanned 26 in 23 innings, but issued 14 walks.

3. Eric Skoglund, P - Skoglund has an 0-2 record and 5.09 ERA in nine games with Idaho Falls (Rookie).

4. D.J. Burt, 2B - Just 18, Burt has batted .208 in 45 games with Burlington, with two homers and nine RBI.

5. Corey Ray, P - The former Texas A&M right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.46 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) at Burlington.