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Hitting: 60. Power: 60. Running: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60. TRACK RECORD: The son of 16-year major league pitcher Bobby Witt, Bobby Jr. has been around the game his entire life. He blossomed into a regular at premier national showcases while at Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High and shined on the national stage when he won the high school home run derby in Washington prior to the 2018 All-Star Game. He won the High School Player of the Year award in 2019 and was drafted second overall by the Royals. He signed for a franchise-record $7.789 million. Witt made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League and was slated to head to full-season ball in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season. He spent the early days of the pandemic working out with major and minor league players near his Texas home, joined the Royals for summer camp in July, spent the remainder of the season at their alternate training site and finished up at instructional league camp at Kauffman Stadium. SCOUTING REPORT: Witt projects as a premier starting shortstop with five impact tools. He struggled a bit in his pro debut and raised concerns about how much he swung and missed, but that’s now a distant memory after he began getting more aggressive in his approach. He showed signs of turning the corner at 2019 instructional league and took a big jump in 2020 while facing more advanced pitchers. Witt’s hit tool is borne through plus bat speed and a short, compact, low-maintenance swing. The swing-and-miss concerns disappeared with his improved approach, and he vastly improved hitting with two strikes. He now projects to be at least an average hitter, and possibly plus. Witt’s plus power has never been in question, and there is now increased confidence he will make enough contact to get to it regularly. Already a plus runner with solid instincts on the bases, Witt worked regularly with Royals coaches to become even better instinctually. There is no doubt about him defensively. He projects to be a solid shortstop with elite hands, a good first step and good body control, rounding out the package with a plus, accurate arm. Witt also saw time at third base during the summer and handled the position well. THE FUTURE: Witt still has to show he can maintain his improved approach and contact skills over a full season, but there is now increased confidence that he will reach his ceiling as an all-star shortstop in the mold of Troy Tulowitzki. Even with the missed season, he made enough progress that a Double-A assignment seems likely at some point in 2021.
Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 50. Control: 55. TRACK RECORD: One of three college pitchers drafted by the Royals in the first round in 2018, Lynch missed time with arm discomfort in his first full season but starred in the Arizona Fall League to finish 2019. He earned an invitation to major league spring training in 2020, continued working with the big leaguers during summer camp and spent the season at the alternate training site. SCOUTING REPORT: Lynch’s velocity jumped between college and pro ball and he continues to maintain that improved velocity. His fastball explodes on hitters at 94-97 mph and touches 99 with life and sinking action out of his long, lanky frame. Lynch’s best secondary pitch is a hard, mid-80s slider with late bite and depth at the bottom of the zone, and he’s worked to gain confidence in his changeup to throw it to both lefties and righties. He rounds out his arsenal with an average curveball he can locate for strikes. At the alternate site, Lynch improved his mechanics to better repeat his delivery. His three-quarters arm slot features a clean motion, granting him above-average control of his potent stuff. THE FUTURE: Lynch should team with Asa Lacy to give the Royals a pair of lefties at the top of their rotation before long. His major league debut is on the horizon in 2021.
Fastball: 70. Slider: 60. Changeup: 60. Curveball: 55. Control: 55. TRACK RECORD: Lacy cemented his status as the top pitcher in the 2020 draft with a 0.75 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 24 innings for Texas A&M before the season shut down. The Royals, ecstatic he was still available, drafted him fourth overall and signed him for $6.67 million. Lacy reported to the alternate training site but missed a couple of weeks due to an eye issue. He returned to participate in the instructional league program at Kauffman Stadium. SCOUTING REPORT: Lacy earned frequent plaudits as the best college lefthander scouts had seen in years. A big, physical southpaw at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he comfortably works 92-96 mph and touches 98 with solid ride on his fastball. Lacy’s slider is his strikeout pitch. It’s an 87-90 mph wipeout offering that neither righthanded nor lefthanded batters can touch. His changeup flashes plus potential and his curveball was even better than expected in camp, flashing plus as well. All of Lacy’s stuff plays up with the deception he generates from a fluid, downhill delivery. His command is more average than plus, but he throws strikes and his stuff overpowers hitters even without precise command. THE FUTURE: Lacy has front-of-the-rotation potential and could move quickly to the majors.
Fastball: 60. Changeup: 70. Curveball: 50. Control: 55. TRACK RECORD: Kowar teamed with Brady Singer to lead Florida to the 2017 College World Series title as the Gators’ top two starters. The Royals drafted both of them in the first round in 2018, Singer with the 18th pick and Kowar with the 33rd. Kansas City kept them together as they ascended to Double-A. Singer jumped to the majors in 2020, but Kowar stayed back at the alternate training site. SCOUTING REPORT: Kowar’s changeup is the gem of his arsenal. It’s a nasty, plus-plus offering at 83-85 mph that confounds hitters with its trapdoor action. It generates swings and misses from both lefthanded and righthanded hitters, and he’s comfortable throwing it in any count. Kowar pairs his changeup with a two-seam fastball that checks in at 93-96 mph with armside sink. He has a tendency to overthrow his fastball, so he worked at the alternate site to keep his delivery more under control and improve his fastball command. Kowar’s mid-70s curveball is a work in progress, but it’s a potentially average pitch he is learning to locate on both sides of the plate. He throws plenty of strikes with at least average control. THE FUTURE: Kowar’s major league debut should come in 2021. He projects to join Singer in the middle of the Royals’ rotation for years to come.
Fastball: 50. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 50. Control: 55. TRACK RECORD: One of five college pitchers taken by the Royals on the first day of the 2018 draft, Bubic led the minors with 185 strikeouts in 2019 and jumped straight from high Class A to the majors in 2020. He made a favorable impression on manager Mike Matheny in spring training with his approach and demeanor and held his own after his callup, logging a 4.32 ERA with a strikeout rate of 8.8 per nine innings over 10 starts despite the massive jump in level. SCOUTING REPORT: Bubic is a polished lefthander who relies on his ability to mix and locate three pitches. His fastball sits 90-92 mph and can touch 94. The pitch itself is unremarkable, but it pairs well with an above-average changeup in the low 80s he’s able to keep down in the zone. Bubic’s curveball is his third pitch, but it was his most effective offering in the majors as an average pitch with 1-to-7 shape and solid bite. Bubic has a strong, durable body and generates some deception by hiding the ball in his delivery. He has the potential for above-average control but did not show it in the majors. THE FUTURE: Bubic has a chance to settle in as a solid, back-end starter as long as he sharpens his command and control. He’s in the mix for a rotation spot in 2021.
Hitting: 50. Power: 40. Running: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 50. TRACK RECORD: Isbel delivered a sensational pro debut after the Royals drafted him in the third round in 2018. He hit .326 with seven home runs and 26 stolen bases in 64 games, spending the majority of his time with low Class A Lexington. But Isbel’s progress was stalled in 2019 by injuries to his hamstring and hamate bone. He finished the year on a high note with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League and spent 2020 at the Royals’ alternate training site. SCOUTING REPORT: When healthy, Isbel shows a solid set of tools across the board to go with fast-twitch athleticism. He consistently puts together good at-bats with a swing naturally geared to hit line drives. Isbel showed emerging power at the alternate site during the summer that gave the Royals hope he could approach 15-20 home runs to go with high batting averages. A second baseman in college, Isbel is still relatively new to the outfield and improved his routes and jumps working with Royals coach Mitch Maier. With plus speed, a quick first step and more experience in the outfield, Isbel projects to be a plus defender with an average arm. He’s a gamer who plays above his tools. THE FUTURE: Isbel is penciled in as the Royals’ center fielder of the future. He should see the upper minors in 2021.
Hitting: 50. Power: 55. Running: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50. TRACK RECORD: Peña was one of the top players in the 2019 international class and signed with the Royals for $3,897,500 on July 2. He was scheduled to make his professional debut in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic limited him to working out at his home in the Dominican Republic. He joined the Royals for instructional camps in Kansas City and Surprise, Ariz. SCOUTING REPORT: Peña is a big, physical hitter with excellent balance, strong hands and a level swing. He shows advanced bat-to-ball skills for his age and has a chance to develop plus power as he fills out his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. Peña’s offensive ceiling is high, but it’s all projection—he will be 18 years old in 2021, has yet to play a professional game and struggled with swings and misses at instructs. Peña’s lower half has thickened up since he signed, cementing his future as a corner outfielder. He showed improvement defensively this summer with a good feel for reading fly balls and an average arm. Peña has a strong work ethic, is mature for his age and already speaks English fluently. THE FUTURE: Peña doesn’t turn 18 until spring training and still has a lot of growth ahead. He has a chance to be the Royals’ right fielder of the future, but it will take time.
Hitting: 55. Power: 40. Running: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 40. TRACK RECORD: Loftin took over as Baylor’s shortstop midway through his freshman year and posted an OPS above .800 in each of his three seasons for the Bears. He showed increased power in 2020 to raise his draft stock before the season shut down, and the Royals drafted him 32nd overall and signed him for $3 million. Loftin spent the summer working out at home in Corpus Christi, Texas, before joining the Royals’ instructional league program in Kansas City. SCOUTING REPORT: Loftin possesses mostly average tools that play up because of his high baseball IQ. He has prototypical leadoff skills as a hitter with a clean, simple swing geared for contact. He has some emerging pull-side power, but doubles and triples are more his game than home runs. Loftin is a solid, instinctual defender who can play both middle-infield positions. He has enough arm strength for shortstop and the athleticism to move around the field. Loftin has just average speed, but his instincts help put him in position to make every play. THE FUTURE: Loftin is the type of player for whom the final product will be greater than the sum of his individual tools. The Royals dream of him developing into another Whit Merrifield, who starred at South Carolina but wasn’t viewed as an impact big league while a prospect.
Hitting: 40. Power: 55. Running: 60. Fielding: 55. Arm: 70. TRACK RECORD: The Royals have pushed Lee aggressively since they drafted him in the third round in 2016, including sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. Lee was set to spend the 2020 season at Triple-A, but he instead spent the summer at the alternate training site and finished up with the instructional program at Kauffman Stadium. SCOUTING REPORT: Lee is an impressive athlete whose biggest need is to reduce his strikeout rate. He struck out 154 times in 129 games in 2019 and has a 34% strikeout rate in his career. He made strides at the alternate training site by hunting specific pitches and staying out of two-strike counts. Lee hasn’t been able to get to his above-average raw power because of his swing-and-miss issues, but he has enough thump to reach double-digit home runs. Lee worked with Royals outfield coach Mitch Maier to improve his instincts and jumps in the outfield and take better advantage of his above-average speed. Even if he can’t stay in center field, his plus arm will be enough for an outfield corner. Lee is an aggressive and instinctive baserunner who stole 53 bases in 65 attempts in his last full season. THE FUTURE: Lee has a chance to become part of the Royals’ outfield, but only if his contact improvements hold.
Fastball: 55. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 60. TRACK RECORD: The Royals drafted the massive, husky Bowlan in the second round in 2018 and signed him for $697,500. They implored him to get in better shape and he responded, slimming down and adding strength each year since being drafted. Bowlan’s career highlight came when he threw a no-hitter at high Class A Wilmington in 2019, and he was a late addition to the Royals’ alternate training site in 2020 before taking part in their instructional league program in Kansas City. SCOUTING REPORT: Bowlan is an intimidating presence at 6-foot-6, 248 pounds and throws a heavy, 93-96 mph fastball that jumps on hitters with the extension he generates out of his delivery. Both of Bowlan’s secondary pitches flash above-average potential. His darting, low-80s slider has late bite and he shows feel for a changeup he will throw to both righthanded and lefthanded hitters. Despite his big body, Bowlan repeats his delivery with a clean arm action and pounds the strike zone. He has above-average life and deception on all of his pitches and goes right after hitters. THE FUTURE: Bowlan projects as a workhorse toward the back of a rotation. With the Royals flush with rotation prospects, he could also thrive in a multi-inning relief role.
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