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Cooper
06-15-2009, 09:20 AM
This is an older list, but these are the guys we were hot for this spring. Feel free to discuss any or all.


With the 2009 season quickly approaching, MLB.com takes a look at 10 of the Royals' most intriguing prospects that you should keep an eye on.

Daniel Cortes, RHP: The Royals got Cortes from the White Sox as part of the Mike MacDougal deal and it's looking like he's going to be the key to it. He had a terrific season in Double-A last year, finishing sixth in the hitter-friendly Texas League with a 3.78 ERA, seventh in strikeouts and tied for third in wins. He's got a plus fastball that can touch 96 mph and a plus hard spike curve. He's working on developing his changeup and he'll have to commit to throwing it if he wants to be a starter long-term. Being able to be consistent with his mechanics will help him with command, particularly with the breaking ball. He's going to go back to Double-A to start the season so he can work on repeating his delivery and getting ahead of hitters.

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Danny Duffy, LHP: The lefty taken in the third round of the 2007 Draft has had a strong start to his pro career. After striking out 63 in only 37 1/3 Arizona League innings in his summer debut, he started out last year in extended spring training, then headed to Burlington. He proceeded to post a 2.20 ERA and whiff 102 in 81 2/3 IP. He's got a three-pitch mix -- fastball, curve, change -- that he can command well. He's very efficient and showed an ability to get deep into games, despite being on a strict pitch count. He's tweaked some things in his delivery to make it more fluid, which should only help. A terrific competitor who's not afraid to pitch to contact, he still gets his fair share of strikeouts. He should start the year at Wilmington at age 20.

Daniel Gutierrez, RHP: The 2008 season proved to be a real breakout for the 2005 draft-and-follow. He joined the Burlington rotation late, but when he did, he was outstanding, posting a 2.70 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 90 innings. He turned it up a notch in the playoffs with 17 Ks over 12 innings in two starts. He's got the best delivery in the system, which helps him throw a fastball up to 95 mph (sitting at 91-92 mph). His curve has great rotation and spin. The challenge for him this year is to improve his changeup. He only stayed in Burlington so he could experience the playoff run, so he'll move up to Wilmington this year and the Royals won't hesitate to move him up from there if his performance warrants it.

Eric Hosmer, 1B: The Royals didn't really get to see Hosmer in action last summer in the wake of the controversy regarding the signing deadline that mostly concerned the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez. That issue resolved, the Florida high school star went to the instructional league and was the best player the Royals had there. He's got an incredibly advanced approach for his age, with terrific plate discipline. When he gets his pitch, he doesn't miss it. That's what separates him from most teenage hitters. He has power to all fields and has no problem going the other way when that is what's given to him. He's an excellent defender at first base, showing good hands and agility. He even has a plus arm, not that he needs it from there all that often. He'll head to Class A Burlington to start the season.

Tim Melville, RHP: The buzz leading up to the 2008 Draft was that Melville was a first-round high school talent, but his bonus demands were going to push him down and likely send him to the University of North Carolina. Then the Royals swooped in, took him in the fourth round and gave him a first-round bonus to bring him into the fold. The 6-5 right-hander has huge upside as a power pitcher. To go with his above-average heater, he's got the potential to throw a plus curve. The Royals have worked with him to speed up his delivery, particularly his arm. With increased arm speed will come a more consistent breaking pitch. He has a changeup but has never had to throw it much. A pitcher of this size can take some time in making these kinds of mechanical changes, but it's been so far, so good for Melville.

Mike Montgomery, LHP: The Royals had success with taking a high school lefty in 2007 with Danny Duffy, so they went that route again when they took Montgomery in the supplemental first round. At 6-5 and 180 pounds, he's a very projectable lefty with a fastball that sits at 92-93 mph. He can spin a curve and has been trying out different grips to see which one will work best long-term. He's got a feel for a changeup, good arm action and deception in his delivery. He's a good athlete who's only going to get bigger and stronger. He's certainly ready for full-season ball, but the Royals like to start out cautiously with their young arms, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him follow a Duffy-like path, starting in extended spring training, then heading to Burlington when the weather warms up a bit.

Mike Moustakas, 3B: While it might be wonderful for a first-round pick to hit the ground running in his first full year, watching one struggle then adjust can be better. That's what happened with Moustakas, the No. 2 pick in the 2007 Draft. After hitting .228 in the first half, he turned it around by hitting .321 with a .949 OPS in the second. The key was staying gap-to-gap and not getting overly pull-conscious because he does have tremendous power to that side. But he's got power to all fields and the more he thinks that way, the more complete hitter he's going to be. When he can do that, pitchers won't be able to get him out by throwing soft stuff away. Defensively, he's adjusted to playing third base really well and the Royals feel that's the position he's going to play long-term. He'll head to Wilmington to continue his development.

Derrick Robinson, OF: Perhaps the best athlete in the system, the 2006 fourth-round pick has some pretty serious upside. The Royals signed him away from a football commitment to the University of Florida and he's still getting used to the nuances of the game. He's got impact speed on both sides of the ball. He can run down just about any ball in the outfield and stole 62 bases in 2008. He also got caught 17 times, something that will get better as he learns more. He also needs to cut down on his strikeouts and get on base more so he can put that speed to better use. It's clear the repetitions are helping him and he's starting to figure some things out, and he performed well in big league camp. Having pushed him before, the Royals will send him back to Wilmington to let him have some success and gain some confidence.

Carlos Rosa, RHP: A starter throughout his Minor League career, the 24-year-old right-hander made it up to Kansas City and threw a couple of games out of the bullpen, though he finished with a little forearm soreness. After rehabbing during the offseason, he's completely healthy and ready to go. He gets people out with a fastball-slider combination and when he's right, he's a strike-thrower who keeps everything down in the zone. The fastball can get up to 97 mph, sitting at 95 mph in shorter stints. His slider, more of a cut one than a true, hard one, has gotten better. He has an offspeed pitch but doesn't have confidence in it. He may not need it, as the Royals have decided to shorten him up and make him a reliever full-time. He'll work on his new role at Triple-A Omaha to start the season.

Blake Wood, RHP: Since being taken in the third round of the 2006 Draft, Wood has had an up-and-down Minor League career. He missed a bunch of time in 2007 following back surgery and has been inconsistent, performance-wise, when healthy. He's got a power repertoire: a fastball at 93-96 mph with some bore to it, a spike curve and a changeup. All can be plus pitches, but he rarely has them all going at the same time. He'll need to be more consistent to be a starter long-term. He's worked to get more flow to his delivery and to straighten out his lines so he's not throwing across his body. The hope is that if he can make those adjustments, a better delivery will lead to more consistent performances. He'll see how it works out when he returns to Double-A to start the year.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cooper
07-11-2009, 12:21 AM
This list shows that we won't miss Cortes that much!

fightwookies
07-13-2009, 01:54 PM
he was the best of those guys, but our lower levels are supposedly stacked with young pitchers. when crow signs, he'll go up near the top, if not the top of the list.

feeltheheatrays
07-29-2009, 07:49 PM
he was the best of those guys, but our lower levels are supposedly stacked with young pitchers. when crow signs, he'll go up near the top, if not the top of the list.

IF*.....I hope he does but we cant assume draft picks sign

Cooper
07-30-2009, 06:05 PM
We could trade his rights, couldn't we? I don't know that for sure, I'm sure someone will correct me.

feeltheheatrays
08-10-2009, 03:15 PM
if by he you mean Crow, no you cannot not trade draft picks until one year after they signed

mvpgreinke
08-24-2009, 06:08 PM
we need to move duffy up through the system. i think he could be a big contributor to us here in the next few years