KANSAS CITY, MO - Baseball America
, baseball's preeminent authority on minor league prospects, has rated the Naturals' parent Kansas City Royals' farm system as the best in all of baseball in the soon-to-be-released 2011 Prospect Handbook.
"The Royals have one of the deepest and most talented farm systems in recent memory," said Jim Callis, Executive Editor at Baseball America. "It's unusual to see a system with three stud hitters like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Wil Myers, or four quality lefties like John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy and Chris Dwyer, and the Royals have both. To show how highly we regard the Royals system, we ranked it No. 1 before the Zack Greinke trade, which netted more top prospects."
Indeed, in a website Q&A session featured on the Baseball America website in early January, the magazine writers cited flame-throwing right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who is a candidate to crack the Royals' bullpen to start 2011, and right-hander Jake Odirizzi, a talented pitching prospect expected to front the rotation at Advanced Class-A Wilmington, as both being talented enough to crack the Royals' Top Ten.
Seven of the Royals' top 10 prospects will be in Major League Spring Training camp next month in Surprise, Ariz. The group includes first baseman Eric Hosmer (ranked #1), third baseman Mike Moustakas (#3) and left-handed pitcher John Lamb (#4).
For Naturals' fans, there is a possibility that the entire Northwest Arkansas rotation could be comprised from the Royals' current top ten list: Lamb, Montgomery, Duffy, Dwyer, and Aaron Crow. 2010 First-round pick Christian Colon, who is ranked sixth, will have an opportunity to crack the Naturals' roster in spring training at shortstop, and the slugger Myers, ranked second, should be a mainstay in the Northwest Arkansas lineup by mid-season at the latest.
The Texas League Champion Naturals were named by the same publication as 2010's Minor League Team of the Year in December.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. The 2011 season begins on Thursday, April 7th. Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.