Royals Draft Report Card

Analyzing the Royals' 2008 draft class




QUICK TAKE
The Royals spent a record $11,148,000 on this crop, including $8.2 million on Eric Hosmer, Melville and Montgomery. Kansas City replaced scouting director Deric Ladnier in September, though his last draft likely will have been his best.
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: 1B Eric Hosmer (1) ultimately could be more productive than fellow Royals top-five picks Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. 2B Johnny Giavotella (2), who has uncanny bat control, hit .299 and was a catalyst in low Class A Burlington's Midwest League championship.  >>  BEST POWER HITTER: Hosmer generates exceptional power with an easy flick of his wrists and already shows a knack for hitting homers to the opposite field. C Travis Jones (50) has plus power and bested Hosmer in a home run derby at the Connie Mack World Series.  >>  FASTEST RUNNER: OF Alex Llanos (6) runs the 60-yard dash in 6.6 seconds.  >>  BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: J.D. Alfaro (9) plays a solid shortstop and has a strong arm that delivered 91-92 mph fastballs when he closed games for Grayson County (Texas) CC.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: RHP Tim Melville (4), a projected first-rounder who slid because of signability and received a $1.25 million bonus, has the most consistent velocity at 91-95 mph. RHP Tyler Sample (3) has the best high-end velo at 96 mph, while LHP Mike Montgomery (1s) has the best life. Montgomery usually pitches at 90-92 mph and can reach 95.  >>  BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Sample's knuckle-curve has 12-to-6 break and is a true swing-and-miss pitch.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: Montgomery ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League after going 2-1, 1.69 with 34 strikeouts in 43 innings.  >>  BEST ATHLETE: 2B/RHP Malcolm Culver (8) turned down a scholarship to play wide receiver at San Diego State. Kansas City drafted him as a pitcher, but he had a tender arm and thus made his debut as an infielder. Healthy again, he may try shortstop in 2009. Montgomery averaged 20 points a game for his high school basketball team as a senior.  >>  MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Unsigned 1B Beau Brett's (29, now at Southern California) uncle George is the best player in Royals history and the club's vice president of baseball operations. He's also the nephew of former all-star Ken and the son of Spokane Indians owner Bobby. 3B Jake Kuebler (17), who has power and arm strength, is Gordon's cousin. Culver's brother Tyrone is a safety for the NFL's Miami Dolphins. Alfaro's brother Jason got a cup of coffee in the majors.  >>  CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Hosmer should hit his way to Kansas City in short order. If Giavotella can improve his range and first-step quickness, he won't need much seasoning.  >>  BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: RHP Chase Hentges (14) has a clean delivery, a low-90s fastball and a hard breaking ball that he throws for strikes.  >>  THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The Royals liked 3B Jason Esposito's (7) offensive potential enough to offer him a seven-figure bonus, but that couldn't sway him from Vanderbilt.