Royals Find Local Gem In Ford

Outfielder put on show at pre-draft workout





KANSAS CITY—Fred Ford flew somewhat under the scouting radar for most of the spring before the Royals nabbed him in the seventh round of the draft.

The Royals knew about Ford, who played at Fort Zumwalt South High in St. Peters, Mo., and then put up impressive numbers at Jefferson (Mo.) JC. He was the Missouri junior college player of the year this season, hitting .432 with 13 home runs and 68 RBIs in 56 games while stealing 32 bases in 35 attempts. At the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., Ford hit four homers and other scouts began to take notice.

The Royals also brought Ford in for a pre-draft workout at Kauffman Stadium.

"He put on a show," Royals veteran scout Art Stewart. "He had that upper-cut swing, a lofty swing. He hit a couple of bombs. He was impressive.- He didn't just show big league power."

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Ford ran a 6.7-second 60-yard dash and demonstrated a big league arm. While he played primarily first base in junior college, the Royals drafted him as an outfielder.

"The comparisons were Jayson Werth and Corey Hart, even somebody said Cory Snyder from years ago, all big guys that could run and throw," assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said.

"We told him we know you can play first base, but the overall value will be greater if you can play the outfield as well. He's done fine. He moves like an athlete. He's a wiry guy, long and lean. He's covering the ground out there. He still has to learn angles and some of the nuances, but catching fly balls and moving left and right he's fine."

Ford, 20, made his pro debut with Rookie-level Burlington, and after batting just .190 in 10 June games, he boosted his overall average to .262/.368/.559 and was tied for second in the Appalachian League with 11 home runs.

"Ford has got bat speed," Picollo said. "There are balls that looks like he's getting beat on, and it's just a flick of the wrist and it's in the gap. He hit a ball in the right-center gap off the wall that I didn't think he was going to swing."

ROYALTIES

• The Royals acquired lefthander Donnie Joseph, 24, and righthander J.C. Sulbaran, 22, from the Reds in a trade for righthander Jonathan Broxton.

• Lefthander John Lamb, who had Tommy John surgery last year, was set back by tendinitis in his left foot and had yet to pitch this season.