A Minor Review of 2015: Kansas City Royals

Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

A Minor Review of 2015: Royals

The Graduate: Paulo Orlando, OF: The Royals didn’t rely on rookies very heavily in 2015 but Orlando had some defensive value to the team in 2015. The 30-year-old outfielder isn’t a typical rookie or prospect because of the time spent honing his skills in the minors as a raw athlete signed out of Brazil. He showed some pop in his bat during his MLB debut but his plate discipline leaves a lot to be desired (five walks in 86 games) and he’ll be limited to a fourth outfielder role.

The Riser: Balbino Fuenmayor, 1B: The Royals didn’t have a high ceiling prospect that made a massive improvement in 2015 so that gives me an excuse to talk about Fuenmayor, a former large-dollar signee out of the international market by the Blue Jays (all the way back in 2006). He washed out miserably before finding his mojo in independent baseball. He had an excellent ’15 season split between Double-A and Triple-A and could develop into a solid bench player at the big league level. He has immense raw power but it doesn’t show up in games as much as it should due to his aggressive nature (12 walks in 89 games).

The Tumbler: Hunter Dozier, 3B: Selected 8th overall in the 2013 draft, many felt Dozier was an overdraft to allow the club to sign another talent player later in the draft. Kansas City, though, insisted that they saw him as a respectable talent in that slot. Dozier’s debut was outstanding but then 2014 was inconsistent and ’15 was downright disappointing. He hit just .213 and struck out 151 times in 128 games at the Double-A level. The infielder has a lot of work to do to polish his offensive game.

The ’15 Draft Pick: Ashe Russell, RHP: The Royals have really focused on drafting, signing and developing pitchers in recent years with a focus on teenagers. Russell, 19, is the latest top arm to be scooped up by the organization and he was selected 21st overall in 2015. He has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation arm and the frame to be an innings-eating starter. Like most young arms, his command needs significant work.

The Lottery Ticket: Marten Gasparini, SS: As we’ve seen above with Orlando and Fuenmayor, the Royals are not shy about signing players from unique places. Gasparini hails from Italy, an unusual place to find a baseball player, but the club has been aggressive with his development. The young shortstop hasn’t hit much and strikes out a lot (80 times in 54 games in ’15) but he possesses a lot of speed and swiped 26 bases with 10 triples last year. Gasparini needs a lot of polish but his athleticism and potential is immense.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

Comments are closed.