The regular season ended for most of the Royals' minor-league teams on Monday, but I have some leftover material in the notebook, so I'll be rolling it out this week. I'll start with Class A Lexington.
Before the Royals sent Hunter Dozier back to Idaho Falls, the Legends’ lineup housed names that are familiar to Royals fans.
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Raul Mondesi. Bubba Starling. Dozier.
That’s two former first-round picks and three of the Royals’ top 10 prospects according to MLB.com.
Pitcher Miguel Almonte is also in MLB.com’s top 10 Royals prospects and catcher Cam Gallagher checks in at No. 12. Add in Terrance Gore and his 68 stolen bases and the Legends housed quite a bit of talent.
“I’ve had opposing scouts tell me they are the most impressive team that they’ve seen this year around the diamond,” said J.J. Picollo, the Royals' Assistant General Manager for Scouting and Player Development. “We have prospects basically at every position.
“It’s good to hear. We want more out of them than anybody, but it’s nice to hear, because scouts aren’t necessarily looking at the stats at A-ball, they’re looking at tools and bodies and everything seems to fit there.”
Lexington finished last in the South Atlantic League in runs scored, but had the league’s best ERA.
Still, there was some good news regarding the offensive big-wigs. Starling struggled early, but he hit .322 in August with a .973 OPS.
Dozier, the Royals’ first pick in this year’s draft, hit .327 with six doubles and nine RBIs in 15 games before being sent back to Idaho Falls to get some more games. In his first stint at Idaho Falls, Dozier had 22 doubles in 46 games with the Chukars.
“It’s a tremendous sign, because home run power usually comes late,” said Scott Sharp, the Royals director of player development. “A lot of guys who are successful power hitters in the major leagues were doubles machines in the minors. He’s just got a great approach at the plate. He’s a hard-worker.”
Mondesi is just 18 years old and struggled a bit in August, but that was after batting .290 in June and July.
Despite the abundance of talent, Lexington finished with 68-70 record.
“We tend to feel good, but at some point production becomes part of this game and those guys are getting into that part of their career where production is starting to factor in more,” Picollo said.
**After Picollo returned from a recent visit to the Arizona League, he was asked if any player stood out. He named two.
Samir Dueñez is a 17-year-old who bats left-handed and throws right-handed. He’s batting .294.
Right fielder Brawlun Gomez just turned 21. The native of the Dominican Republic is hitting .277 with seven home runs in 43 games.
“He’s been a little bit of a late bloomer here, but he’s figured out his approach offensively,” Picollo said. “He’s a very aggressive guy with the bat, he’s very strong and could make in my eyes some pretty big strides from one year to the next.”