It's taken longer than expected, but the Kansas City Royals are finally starting to show that promise their loaded farm system had a few years ago.
The Royals won 86 games in 2013, their first season over .500 since 2003 and most wins since 1989. They traded star prospect Wil Myers to Tampa Bay for James Shields, who led the league with 228.2 innings pitched and provided stability at the top of a volatile rotation.
Eric Hosmer got off to another slow start, but he really turned things on in the second half with a .323/.379/.473 slash line. Catcher Salvador Perez made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove.
The young, dominating bullpen was comprised largely of homegrown talent (Greg Holland, Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow). Yordano Ventura, their 22-year-old right-hander, dazzled after a late-season promotion.
Even more impressive about the Royals heading into 2014 is there's a lot more high-upside talent coming. It's not all going to arrive this season, but the system could take big steps forward thanks to young guys in the lower levels.
A third-place team in 2013, the Royals are poised to take more leaps forward next season thanks to the arrival of Ventura and potential debut of Kyle Zimmer. The future is getting brighter in Kansas City.
Here are the top 10 prospects for the Kansas City Royals heading into the 2014 season.
Note: All stats courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted. All scouting reports/rankings are based on personal evaluations and opinions.