The Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals) visit the Sky Sox for a four-game season-opening series at Security Service Field beginning Thursday. Here's a look at the top prospects to track on Omaha's roster.
Josh Staumont RHP
Kansas City's top prospect, Staumont is a former second-round pick who has struck out 225 batters over 163 minor-league innings. He has hit 102 mph on his fastball, has held opponents to a .213 batting average as a pro and would be a candidate to help the parent club in the rotation or in the bullpen if there's a need in the near future. Staumont is scheduled to pitch on Saturday.
Ryan O'Hearn, 1B
A slugger who hit .352 with seven home runs in 22 games at High-A last year, prompting a quick promotion to Double-A, Ohearn owns a .501 career slugging percentage. He stands in line to replace Eric Hosmer at first base, should the All-Star Game MVP leave in free agency following this season.
Jorge Bonifacio, OF
The younger brother of veteran big leaguer Emilio Bonifacio, the outfielder will repeat Triple-A after posting a solid .812 OPS with Omaha last year. He hit 19 home runs and drove in 86 runs in the Pacific Coast League a year ago, but must bide his time behind a crowded KC outfield.
Bubba Starling, OF
It took $7.5 million for the Royals to convince Starling to sign as the No. 5 pick in the 2011 draft instead of accept a scholarship to play quarterback at Nebraska. But as players like Gerritt Cole, Sonny Gray and Francisco Lindor have become big-league mainstays from that draft, Starling hit .181 in Triple-A last year and the player who signed the biggest bonus in franchise history may become its biggest bust.