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Royals Draft Report

By Alan Eskew
June 4, 2002

KANSAS CITY--There are a lot of similarities between Zack Greinke, the Royals' first pick and the sixth overall pick in Tuesday's draft, and Colt Griffin, their first-round choice last year.

Both are righthanders out of high school. Both are hard throwers--Greinke touching the mid-90s with his fastball, while Griffin hit 100 with his fastball in high school.

And strangely, neither pitched that much before his senior season. Greinke was a power-hitting shortstop, belting 31 career home runs with 144 RBIs and never hitting less than .444 in four years with Apopka (Fla.) High in suburban Orlando.

He pitched just 67 innings his sophomore season, going 6-2, 0.93 with four saves as a sophomore, then 52 innings with a 0.93 ERA as a junior. As a senior, Greinke moved into the Apopka rotation and went 9-2, 0.55 while striking out 118, walking just eight and allowing just 22 hits in 63 innings. He held opposing hitters to a .107 average.

Royals scouting director Deric Ladnier points out there is one major difference between Griffin and Greinke, though.

"(Griffin) was crude and raw," Ladnier said. "Zack is very polished. We feel like he's a guy who can move quickly through our minor league system and get to the major leagues in a hurry.

"Zack is a very advanced high school pitcher. He's athletic. When he does make a mistake with a pitch, he knows when he makes a mistake and why he makes a mistake. He'll step back off the mound and make an adjustment. I saw him four times, and every time it was lights out.

"This was the best kid on the board. I was sweating it out, hoping he would get to us."

Greinke, who is 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, has a fastball, curve, slider and change and good command of each, Ladnier said.

"I'm starting to calm down now a little bit," Greinke said on a conference call. "But as soon as it happened, everyone over here--including myself--we were like ballistic, jumping around and screaming and stuff. It feels great."

Greinke also has a Clemson scholarship as leverage in the negotiating.

"I am prepared to go to Clemson, but I'm hoping that I do end up going pro ball," Greinke said. "I would enjoy going to college, and I have a great relationship with all the coaches at Clemson, and I just like the program there, but pro ball is where I want to be if it happens."

If the Royals sign Greinke quickly, they would probably start him at short-season Spokane in the Northwest League, a league composed mainly of college players, instead of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Ladnier has already met with Greinke's parents and adviser.

"Any time you take a high school kid, they have opportunities to go to other places," Ladnier said. "But all indications are this kid wants to go out and play. They're excited about the opportunity, and they're going to be proud to be a Royal one day."

The Royals selected another Orlando high school product in the second round, picking catcher Adam Donachie from Timber Creek High.

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