Royals 2002 Draft Overview
By Jim Callis
Scouting Director: Deric Ladnier (first year: 2001).
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking fourth)
Damon and Dye are long gone, and Kansas City is looking for answers as it heads toward its eighth consecutive season without topping .500.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Royals gambled last year. Scouting director Deric Ladnier, in his first draft since coming over from the Braves organization, used Atlanta's high-risk, high-reward approach for his first two choices: 100 mph righthander Colt Griffin in the first round and athletic outfielder Roscoe Crosby in the second. The two players cost a combined $4.15 million.
If everything works out as Kansas City hopes, Griffin will become its future ace while Crosby will live up to Ken Griffey comparisons. Griffin is still raw, though, and high school righthanders are a dicey demographic to begin with. And Crosby is doubling as a Clemson wide receiver, which is costing him crucial development time and could lead him to the NFL.
Eight of the first nine players Ladnier drafted came from high school, and that approach should continue in 2002. The Royals could start with a prep righthander for the second straight year, and they've been closely following Orlando's Zach Greinke, who has blossomed this spring.
Kansas City also may be looking at a local product whose father was one of the best sluggers in franchise history. Outfielder/first baseman John Mayberry Jr. is more athletic than his dad, who hit 143 homers in six season with the Royals in the mid-1970s. Other teams don't regard John Jr. quite that highly, and it may be tough to buy him away from Stanford.
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