Royals Run Sean Manaea Gambit

The Royals made the first surprise pick of the first round, when they selected Stephen F. Austin shortstop Hunter Dozier No. 8 overall.

The pick was an indication the Royals were going to try to shift money around throughout their entire draft class, and they started the competitive balance draft by taking the draft’s biggest wild card, Indiana State lefthander Sean Manaea.

Manaea ranked as the top prospect in the Cape Cod League last summer, but he struggled this spring in terms of his health. BA’s Jim Callis reported today that Manaea had a torn labrum in his hip, which helped drop him out of the first round.

The 6-foot-7, 235-pound lefty didn’t struggle with his performance, going 5-4, 1.47 for the Sycamores with 93 strikeouts in 73 innings, ranking third in Division I in strikeouts per nine innings.

However, Manaea’s stuff was down from last summer, with his fastball velocity sitting 89-94 mph instead of the mid-90s and 98 mph peak from last summer. He left the mound prior to his last scheduled start in the Missouri Valley Conference after three warmup pitches and has not pitched since.