It would be safe to say that things are not going well at the major league level for the Kansas City Royals right now. The team is mired in fourth place in the AL Central, already 6.5 games back, with a record of 11-19. Kansas City's starting rotation is among the worst in baseball, Eric Hosmer is hitting just .181, and the injuries are piling up. It's not a pretty scene at Kauffman Stadium.
But if you're a Royals fan, you can just do what you've often done it bleak times: Turn your gaze toward the farm system. Appreciate the young talent in the minors.
I'd recommend that you begin at Double-A, where 21-year-old outfielder Wil Myers currently leads the Texas League in homers (11), runs (27), total bases (84), batting average (.342), slugging (.718) and OPS (1.123). Myers also ranks third in hits (40), third in RBIs (25) and fifth in OBP (.405). That's dominance, friends.
Myers entered the season ranked No. 28 on Baseball America's prospect board, so it's not as if the expectations were low. It's worth noting, however, that he's repeating this level after a disappointing campaign at Northwest Arkansas in 2011. Myers hit just .254/.353/.393 last season, with only eight homers in 416 plate appearances. This year, he hit his eighth homer on May 5 ... and then he hit his ninth homer on May 6, his tenth on May 7, and his 11th on May 8.
So yeah, he's on a ridiculous tear. The next step for Myers is Triple-A Omaha, and there's at least a chance we'll see him in the bigs in the second half. He's spent time at all three outfield spots this year. As we learned in 2011, the Royals certainly aren't afraid to promote young talent.
Perhaps the biggest open question with Myers is whether he'll continue to be as aggressive at the plate as he's been in the opening weeks this season. Myers has already whiffed 37 times in 131 plate appearances, drawing just 12 walks. Last year at the same level, he finished with 87 Ks and 52 walks. At Single-A in 2010, he fanned 94 times but drew 85 free passes. He's definitely taking a different approach this season, but we can't argue with the results.
• Let's double-down on Royals prospects and mention the impressive recent outings by RHP Jake Odorizzi, one of Myers' teammates at Double-A. The 22-year-old Odorizzi has struck out 11 batters in two of his last three starts, bringing his season total to 40 Ks in just 31.0 innings. This kid had a pair of rocky appearances in April, but he's since lowered his ERA to 3.48 and his WHIP to 0.97. Odorizzi joined KC's system via the Zack Greinke trade, and his debut campaign went well. He struck out 103 batters over 78.1 innings in the Carolina League last year.
• Seattle LHP Danny Hultzen has maintained solid ratios in the Double-A Southern League, posting a 2.35 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over six starts, with 34 Ks in 30.2 innings. His walk total is a bit high (19), but he's only allowed 15 hits. Hultzen was the second overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, selected out of the University of Virginia. He's expected to move quickly through the M's system; don't be surprised if he makes a cameo this season.
• Our coverage of Arizona pitching prospects has tilted heavily in favor of Trevor Bauer, but we need to keep LHP Tyler Skaggs on the fantasy radar, too. Skaggs has already struck out 43 hitters over 32.1 innings at Double-A Mobile, walking only seven. He hasn't given up an earned run since April 25. Skaggs won't turn 21 until July, but he's making a strong case to jump to the next level.
• One last Arizona prospect and then we're finished here: Adam Eaton currently boasts the highest batting average in the PCL (.388), and he's swiped 12 bases in 14 attempts across two levels. (For the record, we're talking about this Adam Eaton, not this Adam Eaton). Last year, in his age-22 season, the 5-foot-9 Eaton stole 34 bags and hit .318/.434/.463.