I grew up with the crappy Royals, which means I’m a fan with no “good old days” to reflect warmly on, and my Royals teams have been the butt of baseball jokes for as long as I’ve been alive.
In that time, there have been a number of “youth movements.” They were all disappointing, to say the least. “Youth movement” became euphemistic for cheapness, empty promises, and lack of direction. But THIS “youth movement” has more to it. The players of this movement have promise beyond some hollow minor league numbers or a trumped-up PR campaign by team leadership who hopes desperately that the fans don’t catch on.
This youth movement is different. We know about how our farm system is historically good. But I had never thought about the second, more macro prong of the Royals prospects: they’re not only younger than the Major Leaguers they’re being primed to replace, they’re younger than everyone they’re stomping on throughout the Minors.
This struck me while looking at this fun list from Baseball America. The Royals farm system is not full of guys who are too old for their level. No, the Royals’ elite prospects are also younger than their league-mates, and are still almost universally better than all of them.
Let’s celebrate some of these youth, in pictures:
Tim Collins is the very youngest American League player, and the fourth (I think?) youngest in all of the Majors.
Nate Adcock is the 10th youngest player in the AL.
Eric Hosmer is the youngest of the Storm Chasers, and the fourth-youngest player in the Pacific Coast League. His teammate Mike Montgomery is the 7th-youngest player in the PCL.
Wow, I need more opportunities to photograph prospects, especially John Lamb – who is one of the 10 youngest players in the Texas League. He is joined on that list by teammates Wil Myers and Sal Perez.
It’s encouraging that our players are both better and younger than their peers. It’s just another facet of hope that the Royals can become and remain a powerful baseball team.