Welcome back to my annual off-season series that has a quick-and-dirty review of all 30 minor league systems around baseball. This feature began way back in 2008.
*I’m going to do a little something different with the Royals and look at their fascinating approach for the 2018 draft, which focused on advanced college arms in an effort to infuse some quick value back into a floundering farm system. After all, their focus on drafting prep pitchers was pretty much an unmitigated disaster.
If you were perusing this series last year you would have read:
The Sleeper: Emmanuel Rivera, 3B: Rivera could eventually turn out to be a steal as a former 19th round pick. He has a chance to be a special player on defence at the hot corner and he could develop just enough offensive skill to be an everyday player. He needs to become a little more patient at the plate which could help him hit for a better average and find more balls to drive with authority. The 21-year-old prospect will receive a bigger test as he moves up to high-A ball in 2018.
Now on to the new stuff:
The Draft Pick: Brady Singer, RHP: Singer was a highly-respected amateur and a sure fire 2018 first rounder (not to mention a second rounder out of high school). He didn’t pitch after signing with the Royals but got into game action after the season ended in the fall instructional league. Singer struggles with his fastball command but does a nice job working down in the zone and should generate a healthy number of ground-ball outs. He showed a promising breaking ball in instructs (It’s said to be a slider but I’ve seen some that look more like tight curves) but he needs a reliable third offering. I see more of a mid-rotation starter here than a top guy because hitters look pretty comfortable against him.
The Draft Pick: Daniel Lynch, LHP: Lynch could end up being a real steal. He’s a left-hander with some funk to his delivery. He has a low arm slot and the ball is tough to pick up because of the deception in his delivery. That delivery has some moving parts but Lynch maintains good balance and shows strong athleticism. He’ll likely have above-average command/control and flashes at least three better-than-average offerings with improved fastball velocity. There’s a chance that he ends up being more productive than Singer.
The Draft Pick: Jackson Kowar, RHP: Kowar looks a little bit like a right-handed Daniel Lynch because he’s tall and thin. He works extremely quickly and has a lightning-fast arm. He shows a promising fastball-changeup combo but the breaking ball needs significant work. His low, almost sidearm, delivery looks like it would suit a slider more than a curveball but he currently throws the latter offering. His command is below average right now but he shows enough athleticism to suggest it will be average or better in the future.
The Draft Pick: Kris Bubic, LHP: A big, strong pitcher, Bubic looks like a back-end innings-eater. He has a solid fastball-changeup mix and the heater maybe plays up a bit because of the deception and hesitation in his delivery. That delivery, though, might also lead to continued command issues. His curveball is pretty inconsistent and it looks like he’s trying to guide it in at times.
The Riser: Nick Pratto, 1B: As the 14th overall pick of the 201y draft, Pratto was already highly regarded coming into 2018 but he looked very good — especially in the second half of the year (.655 vs .912 OPS). The young first baseman has a great set-up at the plate. He hits from a strong, well-balanced base and is focused on hit over power. With that said, he has raw power and should be good for 20 homers as he matures. There is work to be done, though. He had a 28% strikeout rate and that’s not going to work at higher levels; he only hit .280 because of his .375 BABIP.
The Fallen: Seuly Matias, OF: Matias entered 2018 with a lot of potential but his approach at the plate was a mess. He possesses massive raw power and has no need to sell out to hit home runs but he did just that — 31 of his 78 hits went over the fence. His BB-K rate of 24-131 was downright ugly. There is no potential here unless he makes a massive overhaul of his approach at the plate.
The 2019 Lottery Ticket: Yefri Del Rosario, RHP: Del Rosario shows an easy delivery and should develop average-or-better command/control when he learns to repeat his delivery more consistently. He has a low-three-quarter arm slot and pounds the lower half of the strike zone when he’s throwing well. Del Rosario shows good velocity on his heater in the mid-90s range and the breaking ball shows promise but needs tightening up. I could see No. 3/4 starter potential here with a lot of additional seasoning.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.