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Five for Friday: Royal Keepers

It was just one year ago that things looked bleak in the Royals' system. Top prospects like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer were struggling. Well, a year really can make a difference... Let's have a look at five prospects in the system that should be keeper league targets.

Mike Moustakas | 3B: The former No. 1 draft pick had a lackluster '09 season with a triple-slash line of .250/.297/.421 in 492 high-A ball at-bats. After beginning the 2010 season on the DL, Moustakas has returned with a vengeance in double-A and is currently hitting .394/.468/.779 in 104 at-bats. He has 10 homers and 33 RBI in just 27 games. Impressively, he's struck out just 17 times, which is nice to see given his power output increase. Luckily, the third base job in KC just happens to have a vacancy...

Eric Hosmer | 1B: Even though he was just 19 last season, scouts were puzzled when Hosmer struggled. As it turns out, he was having vision problems, which led to the .241/.334/.361 in 377 at-bats between low-A and high-A. After surgery, the improvement in his production has been startling: .384/.457/.570 in 151 high-A at-bats. Although he has just two homers, Hosmer has 16 doubles and impressive raw power that will develop into over-the-fence power as he matures as a hitter. He also has a good eye at the plate with 21 walks and just 12 Ks. A good sized player at 6'4'', 215 lbs, Hosmer has gone 6-for-6 in steals.

Mike Montgomery | LHP: The organization is really reaping the rewards from having a number of very high draft picks in the past few seasons. The club has done an excellent job of scouting and has whiffed on very few players. Montgomery, just 20, has already reached double-A. He began '10 in high-A and gave up just 14 hits and four walks in 24.2 innings. Moved up to double-A, he's struggled a bit with his control and has walked nine batters in 14.2 innings, but his ERA is sound at 2.45. On the year, Montgomery has struck out 45 batters in 39.1 innings and has a 1.60 ERA.

Derrick Robinson | CF: It's taken a little time for Robinson, 22, to turn his raw athleticism into baseball talent but he's making significant strides in '10. Last season, he hit a lackluster .239/.290/.324 but stole 69 bases in 128 games. The speedster is starting to realize that he needs to get on base to take advantage of his main skill. Moved up to double-A for '10, Robinson is hitting .303/.393/.407 in 145 at-bats. He has 22 steals in 27 tries. Most importantly, his walk rate is up and he's taken 22 free passes. His strikeout rate is still high but his game is definitely headed in the right direction.

John Lamb | LHP: The organization has been rather aggressive with its young prospects that have put up good numbers in the low minors. The Royals recently moved Lamb, 19, from low-A to high-A. The lefty had posted a 1.58 ERA at low-A Burlington with just 26 hits and 17 walks in 40.0 innings. He also had 43 Ks. Lamb could stand to induce more ground balls, but he's still young. Impressively, he's holding right-handed batters to a .183 batting average. He's still a ways away from the majors, but stash him away in your deep keeper leagues and you'll be happy that you did.


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