Getty Images

Major League Baseball's offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You're either selling wins or you're selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team's farm system.

Of course, that doesn't mean every team has an equally good farm system -- some, as you'll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define "prospects" as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that's likely why. 

These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There's also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it's fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future. You can check out our winter top 20 list by clicking here.

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

1. Gavin Cross, OF (2023 seasonal age: 22)

The Royals selected Cross with the ninth pick in last July's draft, making him the first Virginia Tech player to go in the top 10 since Johnny Oates in 1967. Cross improved his stock over the spring by launching a personal-best 17 home runs and playing a better center field than expected. At face value, his professional introduction seemed to go swimmingly: he hit .293/.423/.596 in 123 plate appearances against A-ball competition. It is a little concerning, though, that he struck out in 25 percent of his trips to the plate against competition that he should have the leg up on. We'll give him some more time to see if his contact woes persist. Until then, Cross still projects as a starting corner outfielder whose tools outlay consists of a lot 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. The book on him has changed since draft night, though that's primarily due to a positional change. Whereas he was a shortstop coming out of Baylor, Loftin's now a center fielder who still sees action at second and third base. Offensively, he remains a contact-orientated hitter who'll walk and provide fringe-average power. It's not a star profile by any means, but it doesn't have to be for him to have value.

3. Cayden Wallace, 3B (2023 seasonal age: 21)

The Royals doubled-up on college bats to begin last year's draft, first taking Cross at No. 9 and then Wallace at No. 49. As with Cross, Wallace's skill set is well-rounded, even if it lacks a carrying tool. (He does have a big arm, for whatever it's worth.) Wallace performed well in the SEC, and he had little problem with A-ball pitching, as he hit .294/.369/.468 in 27 games. If everything goes well, he should move through the system quickly, with an upside that would see him serving as a second-division third baseman.