Here’s why fans will want to keep an eye on this Royals’ Class A affiliate

Royals agree to terms with top pick of 2018 draft, Brady Singer

The Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Brady Singer, their top pick of the 2018 draft.
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The Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Brady Singer, their top pick of the 2018 draft.

It’s opening day on Thursday ... in the minor leagues.

The Royals’ affiliates in Class AAA, Class AA and Class A (both teams) will start their seasons, and fans will be keeping close watch on the franchise’s top minor leaguers this year. Here’s why much of the attention will be placed on the Class A-advanced affiliate in Wilmington, Delaware: six of the Royals’ top seven prospects, per, will be on the Blue Rocks’ roster.

That includes the three pitchers taken in the first round of last year’s draft: right-hander Brady Singer (No. 1 prospect), lefty Daniel Lynch (No. 4) and right-hander Jackson Kowar (No. 7).

Catcher MJ Melendez (No. 3), first baseman Nick Pratto (No. 5) and outfielders Seuly Matias (No. 6) and Kyle Isbel (No. 10) are also on the Blue Rocks roster.

“We’re excited about our season here in Wilmington,” Blue Rocks manager Scott Thorman said at a news conference Tuesday. “We’ve got a very exciting and dynamic young group of players. Some of the organizations brightest prospects and coming off of a very successful 2018 season in Lexington. We’re excited about getting on the field here.”

Thorman managed Class A Lexington last year when the Legends won the South Atlantic League championship. Lynch, Kowar, Melendez, Pratto, Matias and Isbel all played for for that team.

Royals manager Ned Yost talked in spring training about how excited he was about the Legends being crowned league champions.

““It’s important in an organization to have championships,” Yost said. “It’s important to get a group together if you have special players, and now it’s important to continue to keep that kind of group winning championships together at the next level and the next level and the next level.

“Anywhere you win a championship, it’s like winning the World Series. Every championship we’ve ever won in high school and little league, it’s the same feeling. There was no greater feeling because we won the World Series than winning a championship in the minor leagues. It’s the same thing. To win a championship, you’re the best in the league. It’s pretty exciting.”

The Blue Rocks roster also includes outfielders Brewer Hicklen (No. 17 prospect), who played in the postseason with Lexington, and Blake Perkins, the 23rd-ranked prospect who was acquired last year from Washington as part of the Kelvin Herrera trade. Additionally, catcher Sebastian Rivero (No. 27 prospect) is on the roster.

Thorman said Lynch will start Thursday’s game and Singer will make his professional debut Friday. Kowar will be the No. 3 starter, followed by Daniel Tillo (No. 25 prospect) and right-hander Nolan Watson, who was a Royals’ first-round pick in 2015.

“I’m very excited about this core group of players,” Thorman said, “and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.