#21 John Lamb – Kansas City Royals
You may be wondering how we could possibly rank a pitcher in the Royals system ahead of Mike Montgomery. Well, here’s how. Lamb, like Montgomery, is a lefty with experience in an advanced league (Double-A Texas League), a terrific frame (6’3” and 195 lb.), and outstanding numbers to go along with ace potential. At three stops in 2010 as a 19 and 20-year old, Lamb posted a 2.38 ERA in 147.2 innings, striking out 159 hitters and only walking 45.
Lamb’s fastball sits in the 91-92 mph range, but has reached the mid-90’s and probably has a tick or two left to grow. It’s already plus and has an honest chance at more. His changeup comes in about 12-14 mph softer with excellent arm-side and downward action, and Lamb commands it very well. It is the finest changeup in the Royals system today and is easily a plus offering and could end up being double plus.
His curveball is his weakest pitch and is not average yet. It lacks tilt and the rotations to generate much sharpness. However, Lamb is 20, and has time to gain some feel for the pitch. He also has toyed with a cutter, and many scouts think it has enough potential to be a legitimate fourth pitch for the young southpaw. Basically the sky is the limit for Lamb, and he has a chance to be the ace at Kauffman for a long time.
Now that we are finished ranking Royals pitchers, let’s imagine the rotation in Kansas City in 2015. Lamb, Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi, Chris Dwyer, and Danny Duffy (easily one of the top 100 prospects in the game) with Aaron Crow pushing to get in as well. Wow. Fun fact for our friend Sollo, the Royals have three young mashers who we rank ahead of any pitcher in the Royals system.