MLB.com’s number nine midseason prospect for the KC Royals was ranked a little higher (number seven) prior to the season. Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert returned to High-A Wilmington to start the 2013 season. In my opinion, it was for him to grow up (he was benched a few times in 2012 by manager Vance Wilson for lack of effort and hustle).
Cuthbert started out slow (just three doubles and a .250 average in 22 April games) in the cold weather. As Delaware heated up, so did Cuthbert. Over half of his May hits went for extra bases (12 doubles and two home runs while hitting .263). He also walked more (13 times).
June was his best month, as he hit .284 combined with the Blue Rocks (11 games) and after his promotion to Double-A (15 games). Cuthbert hit 11 doubles and his only two triples of the season. On the negative side, he only walked seven times compared to 17 strikeouts in 95 at-bats.
Cuthbert struggled with NW Arkansas, hitting just .205 with 21 strikeouts in 22 July games. He got a little better in August, hitting seven doubles and three home runs (22 total hits). He only hit .234, but walked 12 times compared to 16 strikeouts.
However, most of that offense came in one stretch in August (16-25) when he went 10-for-37 with three doubles, two home runs, and eight RBIs. Over his final 39 games, Cuthbert only hit .193 with eight doubles and four homers in 145 at-bats. He struck out 31 times.
On defense, Cuthbert committed a combined 25 errors in 301 chances. That is the same amount of errors he made in 2012.
The now 21 year old (his birthday was on Monday) was sent to the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where none of the eight Royals representatives really excelled. Cuthbert hit just .182 in 13 games. He hit two doubles and a homer while driving in five. He walked four times compared to eight strikeouts in 44 at-bats.
I expect Cuthbert to return to the Naturals in 2014 and it should be interesting to see how he plays back under Wilson. He should be feeling the pressure, as the Royals now have a third baseman in their system who could keep Cuthbert from his big league dreams (Hunter Dozier).