I've been reading ESPN.com over the last day and there's a ton of Kansas City Royals love going on there. The majority of it stems from Keith Law ranking GM Dayton Moore and the Royals No. 1 in his MLB organizational rankings. Obviously this ranking is as much about potential as anything because, while the Royals farm system has been great, their play at the big leagues has not been.
"From the first day I got here, I said, 'Our goal is to build one of best farm systems in baseball and have two to three players every year competing for spots on our 25-man roster,' '' Moore said. "If we can do that for about four or five years in a row and reach the point where 12 to 15 of our players are homegrown, we have a chance to turn this around and be a consistent, solid, thriving organization.''
We'll see if they're on their way. Law's organizational rankings point to all the prospects, as well as all the value of some of those prospects.
But what truly sets the Royals apart, and not just this year but from prospect lists of years past, is their stable of left-handed pitchers. Southpaws are harder to find and valued very highly by most front offices, meaning the Royals have promising arms for their own use as well as a hoard for future trades if they find themselves in the running for a playoff spot. They've acquired those arms every which way they could -- mostly through shrewd drafting (Mike Montgomery in the sandwich round, Chris Dwyer in the fourth, John Lamb in the fifth), but also through trades and on the international front, where they've become major players since Moore took over.
Will McDonald of Royals Review likes to joke about the praise the Royals farm system -- "it's THAT GOOD" -- and I can understand some of the pessimism. Having a great farm system is nice, but it doesn't mean anything if those players don't actually produce at the major league level, and it's not like the Royals are busting at the seems with big league talent right now.
But goal No. 1 for Dayton Moore -- building a farm system -- has been accomplished. Baseball America rated the Royals the No. 1 farm system and other say they're the best by a long shot. Goal No. 2 will be to translate that farm system talent into not only production at the MLB level but wins.
With this much praise comes high expectations.