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Kansas City Royal Top Predictions for 2023: Nick Loftin May Join Bobby Witt Jr. in MLB Lineup This Year

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Major League Baseball is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, this means next season; Sometimes, that means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. The old adage says you either sell the gains or you sell the hope. We here at CBS Sports want to offer as much hope as we can this time of winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.

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Of course, this doesn’t mean that every team has an equally good farm system – some, as you’ll discover along the way, lack that connection. This does mean, however, that CBS Sports will spend the next few weeks studying the top three prospects in each organization. We define “odds” as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player misses out, that’s probably why.

These rosters and ratings are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There is also direct evaluation and bias in the mix. Keep in mind that rating a player is a difficult task, and it’s okay if you disagree with the ranking. These are opinions, and they have no real impact on the future. You can check out our list of the top 20 winter ones by clicking here.

With that in mind, let’s get to it by dissecting a Kansas City Royals.

1. Gavin Cross, OF (2023 Seasonal Age: 22)

The Royals selected Cross with the ninth pick in the previous July draft, making him the first Virginia Tech player to enter the top 10 since Johnny Oates in 1967. Cross improved his draft stock during the spring by hitting career-best 17 home runs and a game. Center field better than expected. On the face of it, his pro introduction seemed to be going smoothly: He hit .293/.423/.596 in 123 plate games against A-ball competition. It’s a little worrying, however, that he made 25 percent of his trips to the plate against Competition that has to be his leg. We’ll give him more time to see if his connectivity issues persist. Until then, Cross is still serving as a starting cornerback whose kit consists of 50s and 55s.

2. Nick Loftin CF / INF (2023 Seasonal Age: 24)

Loftin, the 32nd pick in the 2020 draft, should be in line to make his big-league debut sometime this season. Writers about him have changed since draft night, though this is mainly due to a change in location. While he was a quick catcher out of Baylor, Loftin is now a center fielder who still sees action at second and third base. Offensively, he remains a contact-oriented hitter who will walk and provide medium power. It’s by no means a star profile, but it doesn’t have to be worth it.

3. Kayden Wallace, 3B (2023 Season Age: 21)

The Royals doubled at college bats to start last year’s draft, taking first No. 9 and then No. 49 Wallace. As with Cross, Wallace’s skill set is well-rounded, even if it lacks a carry. (He’s got a great arm, for whatever that’s worth.) Wallace did well in the SEC, and had little problem pitching the A-ball, hitting .294/.369/.468 in 27 games. If all goes well, he should move through the system quickly, with the upside of him serving as a primary second-tier leader.

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