Royals Minors: Number One No Longer

Just as quickly as the Kansas City Royals’ minor league system was the best in all of baseball, it wasn’t. That sort of ranking isn’t meant to last, and it really isn’t something you can repeat, nor would you want to.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

The farm system sent a treasure trove of talent Kansas City’s way in 2011, but that meant that the number one ranking from Baseball America was just a fleeting alignment of the stars.

This season’s rankings will look night and day different from a year ago. While last season the Royals placed eight players in the top 100 (not counting Jake Odorizzi), this season their prospects will rank considerably lower. With Moustakas, Hosmer and Duffy having matriculated to the big leagues, it’s likely the remaining players ranked last season will drop on this year’s list.

Wil Myers came in at #10 last year. After battling injuries last season, he’ll likely drop in this year’s ranking.

John Lamb was in the #18 spot before blowing out his arm and going under the knife. If he makes it in the top 100 at all, it will be more a vote of confidence in Lamb’s surgeon than in his pitching.

Baseball America has released its ranking of the top 10 for each organization. Last year’s #19 overall, Mike Montgomery, is in the top spot in the Royals’ Top 10 this year. He struggled mightily last year and probably won’t rate that highly this year, even though he’ll be given a shot to make the big league club.

Christian Colon, last year’s #51, won’t continue to get credit for his collegiate accomplishments for much longer. If he’s ranked at all, it will be a surprise.

Odorizzi, who was rated #69, is rated fourth in the Royals franchise this year, and therefore might not move up in the overall list.

Chris Dwyer, after a mediocre season at Double A last year, won’t repeat last year’s #83 ranking.

So with Hosmer, Moustakas and Duffy moving off the list, and everyone else moving down, things are looking bleak. A few newcomers should provide a little bit of silver lining to this otherwise dark cloud, however.

Baseball America ranks Bubba Starling #2 in the organization, even though he’s done nothing right on the field and everything wrong off it so far. He’ll be somewhere in the top half of the list, most likely.

And look for 19-year-old Cheslor Cuthbert to break in somewhere, after two promising seasons at the lowest levels of the farm system.

Here is Baseball America’s ranking of players within the Royals’ organization this winter:

1) Mike Montgomery
2) Bubba Starling
3) Will Myers, outfielder
4) Jake Odorizzi, RHP
5) Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
6) John Lamb, RHP
7) Kelvin Herrera, RHP
8) Jason Adam, RHP
9) Chris Dwyer, LHP
10) Yordano Ventura, RHP

And while we wait for Baseball America to announce it’s top 100 list, announced this week its top 10 at each position. And predictably, Royals prospects, which dominated the lists last season, were few and far between this year.

Compare last year’s Royals entrants to this year’s:

2012 MLB position rankings:

#3 Outfielder (Starling)
#4 Outfielder (Myers)
#7 Left Handed Pitcher (Montgomery)

2011 MLB position rankings:

#1 First Baseman (Hosmer)
#10 Second Baseman (Johnny Giavotella)
#1 Third Baseman (Moustakas)
#2 Catcher (Myer)
#2 Left Handed Pitcher (Montgomery)
#9 Left Handed Pitcher (Lamb)

There are still tons of things to be excited about in the Royals’ developmental program, but a top ranking won’t be one of them.

Nonetheless, the team now has several players that are about one year away from the big leagues – most notably Montgomery, Lamb, Myers and Odorizzi. And for them, this season will be a huge one, ranking or no ranking.

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