Kansas City’s next wave of young talent is now just one step from the majors, as the Royals promoted top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi from Double-A to Triple-A.
Myers struggled at Double-A last season, hitting just .253 with eight homers in 99 games, but the outfielder still ranked 28th on Baseball America‘s annual prospect list coming into this season and annihilated Texas League pitching while repeating the level. He hit .343 with 13 homers and 11 doubles in 35 games, producing an incredible .731 slugging percentage and 1.146 OPS to force the promotion at age 21.
Odorizzi ranked 68th on that same Baseball America list coming into the season and the 22-year-old right-hander made seven starts at Double-A with a 3.32 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 38 innings, showing the promise that made him a first-round pick in 2008.
So far the Royals’ historic prospect collection hasn’t resulted in big-league wins, but Myers and Odorizzi both project as impact players and the major leaguers have shown some signs of life recently by winning six of their last seven games.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: