The Major League Baseball offseason is in full swing, which means everyone’s thinking about the future. In most cities, this means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You either sell wins or you sell hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports wanted to give as much hope as possible this time of winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.
Of course, this does not mean that every team has an equally good farming system – some, as you will find out during this process, lack in this regard. However, this means that CBS Sports will spend the next few weeks looking at the top three prospects in each organization. We define “outlook” as retaining your rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is out, that’s probably the reason.
These lists and ratings are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts and types of player development. There is also immediate evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that rating players is a difficult task and if you disagree with the rating, that’s fine. These are opinions and have no real bearing on the future..
With that in mind, let’s get down to analyzing the Kansas City royals.
1. Gavin Cross, OF (seasonal age 2023: 22)
The Royals selected Cross with the ninth pick in the draft last July, making him the first Virginia Tech player to enter the top 10 since Johnny Oates in 1967. center field is better than expected. At first glance, his pro debut seemed to go smoothly, hitting .293/.423/.596 in 123 matches against A-ball competition. However, it’s a little troubling that in 25 percent of his trips to the plate, he’s eliminated competitors in which he should have been ahead. We’ll give him some more time to see if his contact issues persist. Until then, Cross is still a starting corner outfielder whose tooling costs consist of a slew of 50s and 55s.
2. Nick Loftin, CF/INF (2023 season age: 24)
Loftin, selected 32nd overall in the 2020 draft, could well make his major league debut this season. The book about him has changed since the draft, although primarily due to a change in position. While he was a Baylor shortstop, Loftin is now a center fielder who still sees action at second and third base. Offensively, he remains a contact-oriented hitter who will walk and provide medium strength. It’s by no means a star profile, but it doesn’t have to be of value.
3. Kayden Wallace, 3B (seasonal age in 2023: 21)
The Royals doubled down on their college bats to start last year’s draft, first taking No. 9 Cross and then No. 49 Wallace. As with Cross, Wallace’s skill set is well developed, even if he lacks a carry tool. (He has a really big hand, for what it’s worth.) Wallace performed well in the SEC and had little trouble pitching as he hit .294/.369/.468 in 27 games. If all goes well, he should get through the system quickly, with an advantage that will allow him to play as a third baseman in the Second Division.