Winning back-to-back Triple-A championships does not mean that a dynasty of sub major league talent is coagulating in Omaha. All it means, in addition to it being a great achievement, is that the Kansas City Royals have supreme organizational depth. While the Royals are on the brink of a playoff berth, something rare for the major league club, the farm system has been flourishing for years. The Omaha Storm Chasers won another Triple-A Championship last night.
In a game that saw recent Cuban defect Rusney Castillo lead off with a home run on the first pitch, a catcher with years of major league experience, Brett Hayes, won the game on a scoreboard denting 2-run bomb in the seventh. Hayes, who has bounced back and forth from a Major League replacement catcher to a Triple-A stud enjoyed the glory as the ladder last night.
Additionally, Hayes has been asked to nurture and develop a pitching staff loaded with prospects. Christian Binford, the Royals’ 8th overall prospect started the game and only allowed the Castillo home run. Binford participated in the All-Star Futures Game this year, and has moved up the professional ranks to start this game. Binford projects as a back of the rotation starter, while the third pitcher who came in for the Chasers, Kyle Zimmer, projects to be a frontline arm. The Royals’ 2nd overall prospect fanned four over two innings showing elusive movement on a 12-6 hook, and good pop on his heater. In a battle of top prospects, Zimmer fanned Castillo with a deceptively fast high fastball. Another future major leaguer, third basemen Cheslor Cuthbert contributed a solo home run and a sac fly.
On the Pawtucket side, top prospects litter the lineup. Castillo looks ready to contribute at the top level (he debuts tonight for the Red Sox). Garin Cecchini, 3b/OF, sprayed a line drive hit as he does so frequently and will one day do in Beantown. Deven Marrero and Bryce Brentz round at that group and each displayed strong defense and capability at the next level. The Red Sox are poised for a turn around year, and their farm system will be providing many useful pieces to the major league team. (As well as Henry Owens, a personal favorite of The Cleat Sheet.)
The ultimate goal of an organization is to win at the major league level. Therefore, you may be wondering why does it matter that the Triple-A club has been successful? Well, the penultimate goal of every major league franchise is to build a culture of winning. A culture where every rung supports a ladder that can lift a major league team to a World Series Championship. The Kansas City Royals have accomplished one of the above goals. Dayton Moore and his organization have that winning ideology that is now apparent at the major league level. With a Central Division Title and at minimum a playoff berth in their grasp, the Royals whole organization is getting used to winning. Comparatively, The A’s, Nationals, Angels, and Orioles are all very top-heavy organizations. The Royals may not win it all this year, but their organizational strength and depth have them poised for sustainability and continued success. Expect the Royals to be royalty in the near future.