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Royals Draft Report Card

Best Pro Debut: OF Tim Frend (23), who owns several career records at Davidson, hit .326-2-34 and finished second in the short-season Northwest League in hitting and on-base percentage (.412). LHP Danny Christensen (4) went 2-0, 1.60 in six starts after his promotion to the NWL.

Best Athlete: RHP Zack Greinke (1) went sixth overall as a pitcher and had early-round possibilities as a catcher or third baseman. OF Kenard Springer (8) starred as a football running back and basketball guard in high school.

Best Pure Hitter: SS Don Murphy (5) or 1B David Jensen (3), though neither has the bat of unsigned SS Brandon Jones (6), whom the Royals will pursue as a draft-and-follow next spring.

Best Raw Power: 1B Micah Kaaihue (15), the top-rated prospect from Hawaii last spring. Springer has promising power as well but isn’t polished as a hitter.

Fastest Runner: OF Leon Stephens (32) is a 4.0-second runner from the left side of the plate. He’s also more advanced as a hitter than the Royals expected. He just needs to make more contact to take advantage of his speed.

Best Defensive Player: Cs Adam Donachie (2), Matt Tupman (9) and Rusty Meyer (13) all are defensively gifted backstops who will have to prove they can hit.

Best Fastball: Greinke kept his velocity all year long, hitting 96 mph during the spring and 95 during the high Class A Carolina League playoffs. RHP Jonah Bayliss (7) topped out at 94 in college.

Best Breaking Ball: Greinke’s curveball is better than his slider, and both are quality pitches. So is his changeup, and he commands his entire arsenal well.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned OF J.J. Brown (26) is a cousin of Cubs outfielder Roosevelt Brown, who was originally signed by the Braves and area scout Deric Ladnier–who’s now Kansas City’s scouting director. Unsigned OF Michael Hernandez’ (27) brother Johnny is an outfielder in the Cardinals system.

Closest To The Majors: Greinke will pitch this winter in Puerto Rico, a rare move for a pitcher straight out of high school. He likely will begin next season where he finished this one, in high Class A. Whichever catcher hits the most will move quickly, and right now that’s Tupman.

Best Late-Round Pick: Kaaihue was strongly committed to attending Nebraska before the club wooed him for two days at Kauffman Stadium. As soon as he signed, he asked if he could catch an immediate flight to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Cesar Carillo (33) took his 90-92 mph fastball and tight curveball to the University of Miami.

Assessment: Greinke became arguably the best prospect in the beleaguered Royals system on the day he signed. Kansas City hasn’t had much luck drafting position players recently and needs some of these guys to come through.

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