Kansas City Royals Top 20 Prospects

Photo Credit: Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images

Photo Credit: Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images

15. Chase Vallot – C

Date of Birth: August 21, 1996

Height/Weight: 6’0”/215

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Acquired: Drafted 1st round (40th overall) in 2014

One of the youngest players in the 2014 draft, Vallot was drafted for his power. His first full season showed that power as he slugged 13 home runs in a pitcher friendly ballpark in Lexington and showed a good eye at the plate, but he also struck out 105 times in 279 at-bats. Vallot has a strong arm and has made progress defensively. With Salvador Perez not going anywhere anytime soon, the Royals can let him develop behind the plate at his own rate. ETA: 2019

14. Elier Hernandez – OF

Date of Birth: November 21, 1994

Height/Weight: 6’3”/197

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Acquired: International free agency in 2011

While Mondesi has become the better prospect, it was Hernandez who was considered to be the top international talent for the July 2011 signing period. The Royals gave the Dominican outfielder $3.05 million. He hit .290 in 290 Low-A ball at bats but struggled in 50 High-A ball games. The 20-year old Hernandez stands at 6’3”, 197 and still has room to grow into his frame. The tools are there for him to develop into an everyday corner outfielder if, like most young hitters, he can cut back on his aggressiveness at the plate. ETA: 2018

13. Marten Gasparini – SS

Date of Birth: May 24, 1997

Height/Weight: 6’0”/165

Bats/Throws: Switch/Right

Acquired: International free agency in 2013

The Royals love those athletic up-the-middle players and they signed Gasparini for $1.3 million in 2013 out if Italy, setting the record for the largest bonus for an amateur to come out of Europe (the Twins signed Max Kepler out of Germany for $800,000 in 2009). Still just 18, the Italian showed signs in the Pioneer League in in 2015. He hit .259/.341/.411 in 197 at bats and stole 26 bases, which was second in the league. But he also struck out 80 times, which was the third most. Gasparini is understandably very raw as a baseball player, but he has good speed and a strong arm. He is still learning the game and there is plenty of time for him to develop his bat and his glove. His ceiling is as high as anybody in the system. ETA: 2020

12. Foster Griffin – LHP

Date of Birth: July 27, 1995

Height/Weight: 6’3”/200

Bats/Throws: Right/Left

Acquired: Drafted 1st round (28th overall) in 2014

Kansas City had two first round picks in 2014 and used both to select left-handed pitchers. Brandon Finnegan starred in the bullpen in the 2014 postseason and was subsequently traded to the Reds in the Johnny Cueto trade. Griffin hails from Orlando and entered the draft as a high school southpaw who had an advanced feel for a changeup to go with a good fastball. Griffin was a two-way player and scouts felt that he would begin to develop rapidly when he began to focus solely on pitching in pro ball. But he gave up more than a hit per inning in the South Atlantic League and posted a 5.44 ERA in his first go at full season ball. Age is still on his side though and he has the potential to become a mid-rotation starter if it all comes together. ETA: 2019

11. Jorge Bonifacio – OF

Date of Birth: June 4, 1993

Height/Weight: 6’1”/195

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Acquired: International free agency in 2009

The younger brother of Emilio, Jorge relies more on his bat than his speed and is not as versatile as his brother. Bonifacio hit for a solid average throughout the minors until he hit .230 and .240 in Double-A over the past two seasons. His power numbers increased this year as he slugged a career high 17 home runs but he sacrificed his average to do so. He fits the right field profile defensively as he has a strong arm but he needs to get his offense back on track. The Royals traded Wil Myers in 2012 knowing that they still had Bonifacio in their system. Still just 22, Bonifacio has time to prove to the Royals that he can be the everyday right fielder. ETA: 2016

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