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Royals Top 10 Prospects

By Will Kimmey
December 17, 2002

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Prospect Handbook
Does 10 prospects per team only whet your appetite? How does 30 sound? If you want the more of in-depth information you're finding here on three times as many players, Baseball America's 2003 Prospect Handbook is for you.

1. Zack Greinke, rhp

Age: 19. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 190. Drafted: HS–Apopka, Fla., 2002 (1st round). Signed by: Cliff Pastornicky.

Background: Greinke entered his high school senior season as a projected second- or third-round pick–as both a pitcher and third baseman. He never hit less than .444 in high school, producing 31 homers and 144 RBIs in four seasons. When scouts saw that his strong infield arm provided 96 mph heat from the mound last spring, though, his future was set. Greinke became more committed to pitching and went 9-2, 0.55 with 118 strikeouts and eight walks in 63 innings. He turned down a Clemson scholarship to sign with the Royals for a $2.475 million bonus as the sixth overall pick.

Strengths: Despite his inexperience on the mound, Greinke commands four above-average pitches. His fastball sits between 91 and 93 mph, and he likes to move it in and out on hitters. He also has a slider with good tilt, along with a curveball and changeup. Because he has plenty of athleticism, a compact delivery and easy arm action, Greinke may increase his velocity as he progresses. If that happens, he would profile as a No. 1 starter. Greinke’s infield experience makes him a good fielding pitcher who holds runners well.

Weaknesses: Though he has four pitches, Greinke rarely uses all of them in a given outing. He usually has two working at a time and tends to stick with them. Because he barely pitched after signing, the biggest key for Greinke is to get experience in game situations and continue to build his arm strength. He needs to work on pitching down in the strike zone more. He also needs to improve the command of his secondary pitches.

The Future: The Royals considered Greinke the most polished high school arm in the 2002 draft. Because the Royals had no instructional league, they sent him to pitch in the Puerto Rican League over the winter. Depending on his performance there–and he had pitched well early on–they’ll decide whether to start him in low Class A or high Class A in 2003. While Greinke’s stuff isn’t as overwhelming as 2001 first-rounder Colt Griffin’s, he’s a workaholic who studies hitters and figures to succeed with his intellect and command.

2002 Club (Class)

W

L

ERA

G

GS

CG

SV

IP

H

HR

BB

SO

AVG

Royals (GCL)

0

0

1.93

3

3

0

0

5

3

0

3

4

.200

Spokane (A)

0

0

7.71

2

2

0

0

5

9

0

0

5

.391

Wilmington (A)

0

0

0.00

1

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

.167

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