International Reviews: Kansas City Royals
Top signing: LHP Braulio Nunez, Dominican Republic, $125,000.
Total signings: 30.
The Royals exceeded their bonus pool in 2015-16, so they went through their first of two penalties years in the 2016-17 signing period that began last July 2. The Royals still signed players, though nearly everyone in their class got less than $100,000. They will still be under the penalty in the 2017-18 signing period that opens this year on July 2, but expect them to be spending more this upcoming signing period that they did in 2016-17.
Three players got six-figure deals from the Royals last year, including a pair of pitchability lefties. One was Braulio Nunez, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic who signed in December. He’s 6-foot-1, 180 pounds with solid mechanics and an upper-80s fastball and secondary stuff that’s a work in progress. The other is Angel Zerpa, a 17-year-old from Venezuela who got $100,000 in July after training with John Colon. He’s another pitchability lefty throwing in the mid-to-upper 80s, with Zerpa showing good feel for a changeup that has late diving action.
Reynin Reynoso, a 17-year-old Dominican center fielder, signed for $100,000 in July. He’s a lefty with a line drive, contact-oriented stroke and gap power from his lean frame (5-foot-11, 160 pounds). He’s not a burner in center field, but his average speed plays up in the outfield because he has a quick first step and gets good jumps off the bat. Most of the players in the Royals’ class were lower-dollar signings.
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One name to watch from that group is Kember Nacero, who signed for $30,000 in July. Nacero is a 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop who isn’t that big (5-foot-11, 155 pounds) but is a smart player with a high level of overall game awareness. He’s not a big runner but he’s an instinctive defender at shortstop who fields his position well. Nacero is more defensive-oriented right now but makes steady contact from the right side of the plate.