The Kansas City Royals have not made the postseason since 2015, however, the club has plenty of prospects waiting in their farm system. In 2020, Kansas City saw several rookies make their Major League debuts in what was a shortened MLB season.
Royals’ Top Prospects: Top Ten
The Minor League season was canceled altogether in 2020, which left prospects spending time on taxi squads, or they reported to the clubs’ training camps. The Royals’ top prospects featured one player who made his MLB debut in 2020, along with two players who were drafted in the 2020 MLB Draft. Now, let us look at the Royals’ top prospects entering 2021.
Number 10: Carlos Hernandez
Carlos Hernandez made his Major League debut during the 2020 regular season. Before making his debut, he spent three years in the Royals’ organization. During those three seasons, from 2017-2019, Hernandez went 10-14, with a 4.56 ERA.
In 2020, Hernandez was called up from the Kansas City Royals’ alternate site and appeared in five games with three starts. He did not see much time during his first big league season but ended the season with a record of 0-1, and a 4.91 ERA. This is a small sample size, but Hernandez is still in contention to be apart of the Royals’ rotation in 2021.
Number 9: Jonathan Bowlan
Bowlan is another right-handed pitcher on the Royals’ top prospects list and he may not be as well known compared to other pitchers on this list. He struggled in rookie ball in 2018, putting up an ERA of 6.94. As the calendar turned to 2019, Bowlan turned his MiLB career around. During the 2019 season, he spent time in Low-A Lexington and High-A Wilmington, and went 11-5, with a 3.14 ERA. His best game so far came in mid-July of 2019, when he threw a no-hitter with nine strikeouts.
Number 8: Khalil Lee
Khalil Lee has been apart of the Kansas City organization since 2016 and has shown progression as well. Lee stole a total of eight bases in rookie-ball while hitting six homers, and 29 RBIs. He struggled in 2017 and saw his batting average dip to .237 while he spent time in Low-A Lexington.
After a struggle in 2017, Lee has increased his numbers. Between the last two minor league seasons, Lee has batted above .260, while collecting over 100 RBIs over two seasons; Lee also stole 69 bases. Kansas City added Lee to their 40-man roster in early December so expect Lee to potentially see time in AAA-Omaha to start 2021 which may lead to his MLB debut later next year.
Number 7: Kyle Isbel
Kyle Isbel spent a short time in rookie-ball in 2018 after batting .381 in 25 games. Overall in 2018, Isbel hit 7 home runs and tacked on 32 RBIs, while batting over .350. Despite the success then, 2019 was a struggle for the young outfielder. Isbel saw his batting average dip to .214 in High-A Wilmington. Isbel saw some playing time during the first half of the spring training in 2020 and impressed with some spectacular plays in the outfield along with lots of base knocks.
Number 6: Nick Loftin
Loftin was drafted in the 2020 MLB Draft with the 32nd pick in the first round out of Baylor. With the Bears, Loftin started out in the outfield as a freshman but made the move to shortstop quickly. Loftin played in over 120 games during his time with Baylor and had a collegiate career batting average of .311. His best season came in 2019 when he hit six home runs with 41 RBIs. In just 14 games before the 2020 season was canceled, Loftin had two homers and 15 RBIs.
Number 5: Erick Pena
Erick Pena may be the most unique of the Royals’ top prospects because he is only 17 years old. The Royals signed Pena in 2019 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Scouts have said his bat and power are his most attractive trait thus far, as well as going on to say he draws a comparison to Carlos Beltran.
Number 4: Jackson Kowar
Kowar was teammates with now Royals’ starting pitcher Brady Singer at Florida while in college. Now, both of them were drafted in 2018 by the Kansas City Royals. As Singer made his MLB debut in 2020, Kowar is not too far behind. In 2018, he went 0-1, with a 3.42 ERA in nine games. In 2019, he was called up to Double-A Northwest-Arkansas and struggled to end the season. Kowar went 2-7, with a 3.51 ERA in AA. Kowar did see some action during the exhibition schedule before the 2020 season and struggled, Kowar may need another year in the minors, but after that, he may be a part of the Royals’ rotation in later years.
Number 3: Daniel Lynch
Along with Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar, Lynch was also drafted in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft. In just two years in the Kansas City organization, Lynch has climbed the Royals’ top prospects list. In 2018, he spent time in rookie ball and Low-A Lexington. In just 12 games in 2018, Lynch went 5-1, with a jawdropping 1.58 ERA, eight walks, and 61 strikeouts.
Lynch did not stop there, and in 2019, made it to High-A and went 6-2 with an ERA below 3.00. Daniel Lynch seems to be one of the best left-handed pitchers in this organization heading into 2021, but another name will claim that title. Without a doubt, Lynch is going to battle for a spot in the Kansas City rotation soon.
Number 2: Asa Lacy
After being drafted fourth overall in the 2020 MLB draft, Asa Lacy is already the Royals’ top pitching prospect. Lacy pitched for the Aggies at Texas A&M and dominated the competition. Lacy went 14-5 during his college career and had a career 2.61 ERA. Before the 2020 college baseball season was canceled, Lacy got to start in four games and was untouchable at times. Lacy went 3-0 during those four games, with 46 strikeouts and just eight walks, while allowing only two runs.
Lacy is a name that all Royals fans will keep an eye on in 2021 for sure, as he spent most of 2020 working at the KC alternate camp.
Number 1: Bobby Witt Jr.
Bobby Witt Jr. is listed at the top of the Royals’ top prospects heading into 2021. Witt Jr. was drafted second overall in 2019 out of high school. Witt Jr. spent 2019 in rookie ball and hit .262, with one homer, and 27 RBIs. After the 2020 MiLB season was canned, a lot of fans wanted to see Witt Jr. make the quick jump to the bigs.
While at the Royals’ spring training 2.0, Witt Jr. impressed the coaching staff while playing in exhibition games against teammates and other MLB teams. Witt Jr. has all the tools to be a franchise player and the Royals are hoping he is just that. He saw some time and shortstop and third base during these exhibition games but with limited time developing his game in the minors, expect him to spend 2021 in the minor leagues. However, keep an eye out for Witt Jr as he takes the top spot on the Royals’ top prospects.
Royals Top Prospects: Final Thoughts
As 2021 quickly approaches, these are the Royals’ top prospects. This list is full of a plethora of young arms who could make an impact when Kansas City is back in contention for an AL Central crown. As for the bats, Bobby Witt Jr. is just twenty-years-old, while Erick Pena is still maturing at age 17. These ten names are going to be the Royals’ top prospects to keep an eye on as the new year goes into full swing.
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