I was reading the latest issue of Baseball America last night. This issue features the top 10 prospects for teams in the AL Central. I was reading about the Royals' top 10 prospects, and noticed a trend:
1. Billy Butler 3b, "At best, the Royals hope Butler can become an average defender who makes the routine plays. He eventually may have to move to first base."
4. Chris Lubanski of, "He has a below-average arm and several scouts project him as a left-fielder."
5. Justin Huber c, "...his defense lags behind Buck's and may push Huber to first base or left field."
7. Shane Costa of, "Costa's below-average arm relegates him to left field, where he'll need to produce for more power."
8. Mitch Maier 3b, "His likely destination is an outfield corner."
This means that it's more of the same for the Royals. Their 2004 roster features a bevy of first basemen and left fielders (Harvey, Sweeney, Stairs, et. al.).
According to this, the future Royals will still have lots of first basemen/DH-type players.
This is where the small market really shows its ugly face. True, the Royals can't keep players they sign once they hit free agency, but they also can't sign the top tier players. They draft players based on what kind of signing bonus they can afford. These players are usually very skilled in one area, but are not all-around players. This batch of players all have promising bats, but they all lack defesive skills. You can hide one or two of these types of players at first or left field, but not 5 or 6 of them.