Four Royals among Top 50 Prospects
Crow and Moustakas will be in big league camp
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' efforts to breathe new life into their Minor League system seem to be paying off. The organization has four players listed in MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects list for 2010.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas is No. 32, catcher Wil Myers is No. 33, pitcher Aaron Crow is No. 41 and pitcher Mike Montgomery is No. 43. The Royals had just two players on last year's list.
The seventh annual ranking was unveiled on MLB Network in a Wednesday night program that featured MLB.com senior writer Jonathan Mayo. The list included only players with rookie status for the upcoming season.
Both Moustakas and Crow will be in the Royals' Major League Spring Training camp. Moustakas is a non-roster invitee and Crow is on the 40-man roster.
Scott Sharp, the Royals' director of Minor League operations, saw Moustakas recently at the Royals' complex in Surprise, Ariz.
"He's in really good shape, he's ready to go, he's extremely excited about his opportunity in Major League camp," Sharp said. "I think Mike is going to have a great year. He's going to be in a little more hitter-friendly league and ballpark."
Moustakas, a left-handed batter, is headed for Double-A Northwest Arkansas after being Class A Wilmington's Player of the Year with 86 RBIs and 16 home runs.
"He's got very good pull power but when he's swinging the bat really well, he starts to hit the ball out to left-center and that's when you know he's really locked in," Sharp said.
Myers, drafted in the third round last year, flourished at the plate with the rookie club at Idaho Falls. In 18 games, he batted .426 (29-for-68) and knocked four homers with 14 RBIs.
"His hitting speaks for itself, statistically," Sharp said. "For me, he's a very mature hitter for a high school kid. He lays off pitches ... he's not afraid to hit with two strikes ... he doesn't panic."
Myers, who moved from position to position in high school, is still learning to catch, but Sharp says he's got the tools, including strong but soft hands and good arm strength.
This will be his first Spring Training. He's likely to play this year at Class A Burlington, Iowa.
The Royals aren't quite certain where Crow, their top choice in last year's Draft, will start the season. Crow signed last September after hardly pitching at all during the summer. He went to the instructional league and also pitched four times in the Arizona Fall League (0-2, 5.87 ERA).
It was a small sample but the Royals liked what they saw from the former University of Missouri right-hander.
"I thought there would be more rust," Sharp said. "You'd expect there to be some rust but when he pitched, he was just locked in. Very competitive, very business-like, great game pace and tempo. Pounds the strike zone. His fastball's got some sink to it, good slider, changeup -- he's pretty impressive to watch."
Montgomery, a left-hander, split last season between two Class A clubs at Burlington and Wilmington and had a combined ERA of just 2.21 with a 6-4 record in 21 starts. He had a good strikeout-to-walk ratio of 98:36 in 110 innings.
"He's tall [6-foot-5] and lanky and he's got a ways to fill out. He's going to be a physical guy, he's got a frame that can carry a lot of weight," Sharp said.
The Royals aren't certain where the 20-year-old Montgomery will be this summer. He has a traditional assortment -- fastball, two curveballs and a changeup.
"He can run it up 92, 94 [mph] so he's got an above-average fastball. He's pretty deceptive. It's good when it's down but he can pitch up in the zone with it, too," Sharp said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.