Ogando Starts Fast, Makes Early Impression

KANSAS CITY Cesar Ogando was the first player the Royals drafted in 2011 who was not a high school player. That, however, is a technicality.

Ogando turned 19 on June 6, the day before the Royals selected him in the sixth round with the 186th overall selection. He was a sophomore at Caribbean JC in Puerto Rico.

The Royals' first six draft picks were all born in 1992. In fact Ogando shares the same birthdate as second-round pick, and potential future batterymate, catcher Cameron Gallagher.

Ogando is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound lefthander from Bayamon who moved up on the team's draft board after hitting 94 mph in the Excellence Games. He works with his fastball at 91-92 mph, and throws a curveball and changeup.

Ogando signed quickly—the highest of the Royals' picks to come to terms in the month after the draft—and was sent to the Rookie-level Arizona League. In his first three starts, Ogando went 0-1, 9.58 with 11 strikeouts and seven walks in 10 innings.

"Ogando had really jumped out," AZL manager Darryl Kennedy said. "He's had good outings, but his stats don't show that."

AZL pitching coach Carlos Martinez said Oganda has the stuff to pitch in the majors. "For him being a lefty is a gift," Martinez said. "The main thing is his confidence. He's got plenty of confidence."

Ogando said he has been pitching for only a year since converting from a righthanded-hitting first baseman and outfielder.

"I've got all the confidence in the world, 100 percent confidence I'll pitch in the big leagues," Ogando said, with Martinez acting as an interpreter.

Ogando says his circle changeup is his out pitch, but Kennedy likes his breaking ball best. "It's tough for righthanders to lay off his breaking ball," Kennedy said.


• Righthander Jake Odorizzi, acquired from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke trade, won his debut with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He was promoted after going 5-4, 2.87 with 103 strikeouts and 22 walks for high Class A Wilmington.

• Catcher Travis Jones, a 50th-round pick in 2008 out of high school in Arizona, moved up from low Class A Kane County to Wilmington. After hitting .086 in 11 April games, Jones hit .320 in June and .353 in his final 10 games before leaving the Cougars with a .245/.316/.364 line.