Kansas City Royals Prospects Who Will Help Turn the Team Around for Good

Jeremy SickelContributor IIIJuly 25, 2012

Kansas City Royals Prospects Who Will Help Turn the Team Around for Good

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    The 2012 season was supposed to be different. Instead of flirting with .500 baseball before finally turning the corner into contention next season, the Kansas City Royals are again the same broken record of years past, performing in a less-than-mediocre fashion.

    While there are positive signs going forward—namely Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Sal Perez and the young bullpen—the Royals are more than a stone’s throw away from where everyone in and around the organization expected them to be at this point in the process.

    With much of the roster in place—other than its starting rotation, which is a whole different story—the Royals are actually just a couple of pieces away from competing at a high level in the short and long term.

    While some will certainly come from outside of the organization, here are five players from within that will help turn the team around for good…eventually.

Wil Myers

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    Outfielder Wil Myers is the Kansas City Royals’ top prospect by a mile and his 2012 season (.313/.392/.645 with 29 home runs, 79 runs batted in, 76 runs scored, 23 doubles and five triples), split between Double and Triple-A, has his name planted firmly in the discussion of top prospect in all of Major League Baseball.

    While those numbers scream promotion, general manager Dayton Moore has been hesitant in punching Myers’ ticket to Kansas City. 

    As the trade deadline approaches, right fielder Jeff Francoeur—although pricey and mired in a slump—should garner some interest from other GMs trying to make a postseason push. That will open the door for Myers, who would fit perfectly in right field in Kansas City and in the middle of the Royals lineup.

    Even if Francoeur isn’t dealt, there is nothing left for Myers to do in Triple-A, so a promotion is imminent.

Jake Odorizzi

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    Acquired as part of the trade that sent starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2011 season, Jake Odorizzi is the top pitching prospect in the Kansas City Royals organization.

    While Odorizzi might not feature front-line stuff across the board, he has enough in his arsenal to prove that he belongs in a major league starting rotation, begging the question as to why he hasn’t been given that chance with how injured and inconsistent the Royals starting pitching has been all season?

    Odorizzi should make it to Kansas City sometime this season and a spot in the starting rotation will be his to lose going into spring training next year. He could eventually settle in as a solid No. 3 starter for the Royals, providing a consistent bridge between the back and front ends of the rotation.

Bubba Starling

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    The hometown kid from Gardner, KS, Bubba Starling was taken with the fifth-overall pick in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Kansas City Royals.

    While some say the Royals would have selected high school starting pitcher Dylan Bundy (fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles) had he been available when their turn came up, the Royals definitely made the right move by not letting Starling out of their backyard. We are all familiar with Albert Pujols right?

    Although a few years away from eventually stepping foot in Kauffman Stadium as a player, Starling is finally starting to prove why he was considered the best high school prospect in the 2011 draft. 

    Lorenzo Cain is currently the Royals’ starting center fielder (Starling's projected position) and was also acquired in the Zack Greinke trade, but injuries have hampered his development.

    Once Starling is ready, the Royals should have zero excuses for not allowing the homegrown talent to roam the outfield in Kansas City.

Yordano Ventura

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    After starting the MLB All-Star Futures Game for the International squad in Kansas City on July 8, most Royals fans got their first glimpse of 21-year-old starting pitcher Yordano Ventura.

    Though his slight frame and lack of a track record scares some into thinking he can't handle the normal load of a starting pitcher, Ventura's live arm has intrigued a lot of scouts around Major League Baseball.

    Ventura is now considered the second-best pitching prospect in the Royals organization, once heavy with arms like Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer and John Lamb. Injuries and extremely slow development have opened the door for Ventura to move up and be noticed in the system.

    There is no real timetable for his arrival in Kansas City, but his recent promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas could indicate an arrival sometime in 2013.

Jorge Bonifacio

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    Having not received much attention as an outfield prospect in the Kansas City Royals organization with the likes of Wil Myers and Bubba Starling stealing the spotlight, Jorge Bonifacio is quickly making a name for himself.

    Bonifacio boasts a stat line of .296/.354/.461 with 10 home runs, 56 runs batted in, 53 runs scored, 17 doubles and six triples. These are very impressive for a 19-year-old playing for Single-A Kane County in the Midwest League.

    His age and the fact that the Royals seem to have an abundance of outfield talent across the organization make Bonifacio a prime candidate to potentially land Kansas City a front-line starting pitcher, believed to be the primary factor holding the team back from contending in the American League.

    If dealing Bonifacio were to aid in the Royals’ efforts to eventually improve their big league rotation, he will have indirectly helped turn the team's fortunes around.

     

    Contact Jeremy at jeremy@popflyboys.com, on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy and at popflyboys.com.