2011 Draft Report Card: Kansas City Royals


The Royals' draft has both depth and potential star power in Starling. They signed more talent late and hope they got what they paid for after ranking third in the game in bonus spending.
Bonus Spending: $14.1 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  SS Jack Lopez (16) is the purest player and hitter in the class. He has excellent instincts with a quick swing and good finish, with surprising power for a 5-foot-10, 170-pounder. BEST POWER HITTER:  OF Bubba Starling (1) resembles Jeff Francoeur physically and has similar raw power. Above-average righthanded power is the best tool for 3B Patrick Leonard (5). FASTEST RUNNER:  The Royals emphasize speed and drafted several players who run faster than Starling, who's a 70 runner on the 20-80 scale. Five-foot-7 OF Terrance Gore may have been the draft's fastest player, turning in 3.7-second times to first base from the right side—while 3.9 seconds is considered 80 speed. OFs Jerrell Allen (11) and Gabe Gray (35) join Starling as 70 runners. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  Starling has shown outstanding aptitude to go with his plus arm and speed, and could be a Gold Glove center fielder.


BEST FASTBALL:  RHP Bryan Brickhouse (3) has the best arm in the class, touching 97 mph and sitting 93-95. His rounded shoulders and 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame elicit physical comparisons to John Wetteland and Jeremy Bonderman. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  RHP Kyle Smith (4) has excellent feel for spinning a breaking ball, a slurvy power curveball. RHP Kellen Moen (7) showed above-average curveballs and changeups out of the bullpen for Oregon.


BEST PRO DEBUT: Former Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC teammates Gore and D'Andre Toney (14) patroled the outfield together in the Rookie-level Arizona League and both hit .340. Toney showed more pop, with five homers and a .587 slugging percentage; Gore drew 15 walks in 35 games and stole 17 bases without being caught. 3B Nick Cuckovich (17) hit .302/.418/.367 with an AZL-leading 24 stolen bases. BEST ATHLETE: The Royals (and most other clubs) considered Starling the best athlete in the entire draft. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Six-foot-8 LHP Stephen Lumpkins (13) averaged more than 13 points and eight rebounds the last two seasons at American, which doesn't have a baseball program. Lopez's father Juan is the Reds' big league bullpen coach. C Cam Gallagher (2) has an older brother, Austin, in the Dodgers system. The father of RHP Ali Williams (36) is a cousin of Hall of Famer Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Williams has touched 96 mph and has a decent slider and could move quickly in the bullpen. Moen has more polish but less fastball. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Lopez, who signed for $750,000. But keep an eye on Gore and the versatile Cuckovich. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The Royals made late runs at three prep righties, signing Jake Junis (29) and Mark Binford (30) but falling short on Nick Piscotty (32). The younger brother of Stanford 3B and 2012 draft prospect Stephen Piscotty, he's headed to Duke.