It wasn’t that long ago that the Royals started the trend of tearing everything down and rebuilding with good draft picks and key signings in order to make a championship run. It paid off in 2014 and 2015 with the World Series title in the latter and a trip there in the former. They are back at it now as they are steadily rebuilding the system and filling the roster with talented young players. The next round of talented newcomers is coming up through the system right now and their pitching staff of the future may arrive sooner rather than later.

Org. Rank (100): 20

Division Rank (100): 5th

Top-100 Prospects: 4

Org. Rank (300): 16

Division Rank (300): 4th

Top-300 Prospects: 10




DSL Royals 1 & 2

Rookie Summer League

Dominican Summer League

AZL Royals

Burlington Royals

Idaho Falls Chukars



Arizona League

Appalachian League

Pioneer League

Lexington Legends


South Atlantic League

Wilmington Blue Rocks

Class-A Advanced

Carolina League

Northwest Arkansas Naturals


Texas League

Omaha Storm Chasers


Pacific Coast League

Top Prospects In The System

Bobby Witt Jr.

Pos. - SS  Ht/Wt - 6’1” 190 lbs.  Bats: R Throws: R Age: 19

Level - Rookie  Drafted - 2019 (1.2)  ETA: 2022

Grades: Hit: 55 Power: 60 Run: 60 Arm: 60 Field: 60

Witt was in the conversation for the number one overall spot in last year’s draft but went second to the Royals instead as the best high school player in the draft by far. I wrote for his draft profile “He is a rare five-tool, projectable, shortstop coming out of the high school ranks of Texas who also has an MLB pedigree with a father, Bobby Witt, who played 16 years in the majors. Clearly, high school stats can’t be taken too seriously but they do show his talent as he put up a .506/.569/1.054 slash line in his 51-game career with 17 home runs, 19 doubles, 10 triples, 81 runs, 70 RBI, and 24 steals. The raw skills are there for him to be a future 20-20 shortstop at the highest level while playing a stellar brand of defense at the most important defensive position. His quick hands and speed give him great range and the fact that he can pump in mid-90s fastballs on the pitching rubber indicates he has a very strong arm. At 6’0” and 180 lbs. he has the frame to stick at short but can also move elsewhere given his athletic ability.” That pretty well sums up what Witt should turn into as a professional. Given his pedigree and maturity coming out of high school, he will likely move faster than a typical prep bat does and there’s a chance the power actually gets better as he gets more physically mature.

Brady Singer

Pos. - RHP  Ht/Wt - 6’5” 210 lbs.  Bats: R Throws: R Age: 23

Level - Double-A  Drafted: 2018 (1.18)  ETA: 2020

Grades: Fastball: 55 Slider: 60 Changeup: 50 Control: 55

Singer slipped in the draft in 2018 because of workload concerns after being the most durable starting pitcher in the country over three years at Florida. Coming into the draft he was considered the second-best draft prospect in the country so getting him at 18th was a big win for the Royals. The righty uses an excellent sinker-slider combo as his main weapons on the mound. The sinker sits in the low-90s with great downward bite to it and command to both sides of the plate. The slider plays off that well and he can tinker with the speed and depth of it throughout his starts. The changeup is still developing into a pitch that will be effective against lefties in the upper minors and majors. Over his last nine starts at Double-A he showed what he’s capable of at his best with a 1.96 ERA, .188 BAA, and 9.5 K/9 rate. If he can make gains with his changeup, the tall righty who throws with a lower arm angle than you’d expect, has the ceiling of low-level number two starter or a great number three starter.

Daniel Lynch

Pos. - LHP  Ht/Wt - 6’6” 190 lbs.  Bats: L Throws: L Age: 23

Level - Advanced-A  Drafted - 2018 (1.34)  ETA: 2021

Grades: Fastball: 60 Slider: 60 Curveball: 50 Changeup: 55 Control: 55

There’s potentially no better way to kick start a rebuilding effort than drafting a bunch of college arms and that’s what the Royals did in the 2018 draft. Singer was one of those, as was Lynch; a college lefty out of the University of Virginia. Like a typical lefty, he was mainly an offspeed pitcher in college, but in the pros he has transitioned to a fastball first type and the velocity has increased as well now sitting 94-96 with the pitch. The slider is a plus pitch and was the best one he threw in college, sitting in the mid-80s with great bite and depth to it and is now the go-to out pitch he throws in the pros. The changeup is also a plus pitch at times and is thrown with the same arm speed and angle as the fastball while a looping type curve rounds out the four-pitch arsenal. He has a clean, repeatable delivery but did have minor elbow issues last year that cost him seven weeks.  He posted a 2.99 ERA and 96:29 K:BB ratio in 96.1 innings over a few levels in 2019 and is poised to really take a jump in 2020. Ultimately, he has a ceiling of a number two starter that he likely reaches.

Khalil Lee

Pos. - OF  Ht/Wt - 5’10” 170 lbs.  Bats: L Throws: L Age: 21

Level - Double-A  Drafted - 2016 (3.103)  ETA: 2020

Grades: Hit: 45 Power: 50 Run: 55 Arm: 60 Field: 55

The former prep star in Virginia was a two-way player in high school and garnering the Virginia Player of the Year. A lot of teams liked him for a gig on the mound but the Royals liked the upside of his bat in the outfield and have played him there since drafting him. He’s been a quick riser, making Double-A at age 20, but some questions about his development have arisen over the last year that might decrease his upside just a bit. While he as an all-star in the Texas League in 2019 and he wound up leading the league in steals and walks but finished second in strikeouts. The 28.2-percent K-rate he had is concerning as is the over-patience at the plate as he gets in too many deep counts and has an unwillingness to swing at good pitches early in the count. The OBP of .363 is nice considering the batting average was .264 and shows his ability to draw walks and that helped him put up a whopping 53 steals which was good enough for third-most in all of the minors. There are questions about how high of an average he’ll hit in the majors but the speed and defense play to be certain. He’ll need to work on making more consistent contact with his smooth left-handed stroke before he really makes progress in the average department but there is a lot of promise here for the young outfielder.

Erick Pena

Pos. - OF  Ht/Wt - 6’3” 180 lbs.  Bats: L Throws: R Age: 17

Level - Rookie Ball  Signed - July 2019 ETA: 2024

Grades: Hit: 55 Power: 55 Run: 50 Arm: 50 Field: 55

Pena was considered the number five prospect in the international class for 2019-20 and some compare the skills to a former Royals farmhand, Carlos Beltrán. The power and hit tools play at an above-average level right now with the upside of both turning plus eventually. He has yet to play in rookie ball, though that’s coming in 2020, but his time at instructional league and pre-spring training work and at just 17 he has an advanced approach at the plate. The baseball IQ and plate approach makes the skills play up, but will also allow him to move faster than your typical international signing ordinarily would. While there are no on-field stats to judge him by, it’s a good bet that he’ll be a great hitting, plus-power, right fielder a few years down the road and the comps to the former farmhand likely plays out to be accurate.

Prospects To Watch For

Jackson Kowar

RHP Age: 23 Double-A ETA: 2020

 Kowar was a co-ace on a loaded University of Florida staff and that co-ace was none other than Brady Singer . Both were drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2018 draft and both made it to Double-A in their first full year in pro ball. Kowar uses a fastball-changeup as his main weapons with a heater that sits 93-95 and hits 97 and arm-side life to it. The changeup is the better pitch and is a plus-plus offering in the mid-80s with great fade and tumbling life that makes it a swing-and-miss weapon and one that induces a ton of ground balls. His third pitch is an average curveball that is a change of pace offering at the moment but shows signs of turning into an above-average pitch in the long-run. In 148.1 innings in 2019, he posted a 3.52 ERA with a 144:43 K:BB ratio with significant time coming at Double-A. He is a workhorse type that could move quickly in 2020 and be a mid-rotation starter for the Royals in short order.

Kyle Isbel

OF Age: 23 A-Advanced ETA: 2021

Isbel was taken in the third round out of UNLV in 2018 after having an impressive Junior campaign which followed an All-Star caliber performance in the Cape Cod League. Hitting for a .357 average with 14 homers in the final college season is what caught the Royals’ eye and they’re hoping the power translates to an effective major league career in the outfield. Isbel’s first taste of pro ball was impressive with a .326 average and 24 steals along with 31 XBH and then his 2019 season got off to a rough start when he missed the first fourth months due to a broken hamate bone in his hand and a hamstring injury. The start of the year wasn’t great but he finished well especially in the Arizona Fall League and it likely propels him to Double-A for 2020. He profiles as an everyday left fielder at the highest level who has 15-home run pop and the capability of stealing 25 bags in a year.



Kris Bubic

LHP Age: 22 A-Advanced ETA: 2021

Bubic was the fourth pitcher drafted by the Royals in the 2018 draft and the fourth college arm, this time out of Stanford. Bubic lit the strikeout leaderboard in the minors in 2019 with 185 of them in 149.1 innings across two levels. The fastball-changeup combo is the main way of striking out batters with a low-to-mid-90s fastball that has solid late life to it and a mid-80s changeup that plays up because of his funky delivery and differing arm angles he throws with. The curveball is coming around still and projects as at least an average pitch with good shape and late biting life. The southpaw uses the funky delivery to keep batters on their toes but there are some questions as to how well the stuff will play the higher he climbs in the system as the velocity isn’t there to make mistakes with and so he profiles as a back-end starter but he could be perhaps the first starting pitcher from his class to reach the majors even with the lower ceiling.

Darryl Collins

OF Age: 18 Rookie-AZL ETA: 2024

Collins was signed out of the top Netherlands professional league in 2018 and then started putting on a show in the Arizona Rookie League getting a hit in 23 of 24 of his first games. He slashed .320/.401/.436 in 48 games with 25 RBI, 24 runs, and a steal. There isn’t much power there yet from the lefty-hitting outfielder but the hope is with the projectable 6’2”, 185-pound frame it will develop and show up more when he learns to deal better with inside pitches. Collins has average speed and doesn’t really steal bags yet, but has the speed to at least nab 10 a year. The profile is that of a left fielder who is a hit-first type who doesn’t swing-and-miss much and promising power.



Wilmin Candelario

SS Age: 18 Rookie Ball ETA: 2024

The slight-framed, switch-hitting, shortstop was a member of the 2018 signing class and got his first taste of pro ball in 2019. He played 49 games at rookie ball and slashed .315/.396/.505 and a .450 BABIP and .425 wOBA. Candelario added to the slash line with four homers, 33 runs, 27 RBI, and 11 steals as well. The plus-speed is the best tool right now but let’s not be fooled as there is potential for him to develop into a five-tool player. Candelario will likely see the hit tool drop a bit as he progresses and level out as average, but the others should all be at least above-average with the power growing to plus as he puts more weight and muscle on the frame. His approach and defense needs to be refined as it’s still raw, but that’s to be expected with an 18-year-old international signee and a switch-hitter as well. Candelario is a future starting shortstop who may actually move to second base if the defense doesn’t improve and there is reason to hope that he’ll be able to hit at least .280 with 15-homer pop and 20-steal speed.