Kansas City Royals 2019 MLB Draft Report Card
Every year at the conclusion of the regular season, Baseball America revisits each teams' most recent draft class. Each class has its no-doubt, high-profile names to keep an eye on, but our annual draft report cards highlight the best tools, best debuts, late-round steals and more. Here are the names you need to know from every organization's 2019 draft.
Best Pure Hitter: It should come as no surprise that SS Bobby Witt Jr. (1) is the best pure hitter in the Royals' draft class. The No. 2 overall prospect in the BA 500, Witt has the ability to use the entire field with authority and has a solid approach at the plate, although there is still some swing-and-miss in his game.
Best Power Hitter: Listed at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, 1B Vinnie Pasquantino (11) has a big, physical frame and showed good power and ability to tap into that power while healthy at Old Dominion. In his pro debut, Pasquantino hit 14 home runs in 57 games at Rookie-level Burlington.
Fastest Runner: SS Tyler Tolbert (13) racked up 76 stolen bases with an 83.5 percent success rate over three seasons at Alabama-Birmingham. A 70-grade runner, Tolbert’s speed played just fine during his pro debut in the Rookie-level Pioneer and Arizona Leagues, where he combined for 28 steals in 50 games while being caught just once.
Best Defensive Player: Witt Jr. has the hands, range, arm strength, body control and footwork to become a more than reliable shortstop at the big league level. He’s consistent on the routine plays and has enough speed and athleticism to make plenty of highlight-reel plays as well.
Best Athlete: SS Brady McConnell (2) has never lacked for tools and athleticism, dating back to his high school days with Merritt Island (Fla.), and if he’s forced off shortstop in pro ball he should have the athleticism and speed—he's a 60-grade runner—to play centerfield.
Best Fastball: RHP Noah Murdock (7) was touching 94-95 mph as a high schooler before he underwent Tommy John surgery, and he has since re-discovered that velocity. RHPs Alec Marsh (2s) and Grant Gambrell (3) can also get their fastballs into the mid-90s as well.
Best Secondary Pitch: Marsh has impressive control of a deep arsenal of pitches, which includes a pair of breaking balls that he can rely on. He has both a slider and a curveball that could become above-average offerings in the future.
Best Pro Debut: Pasquantino was older than the average hitter in the Rookie-level Appalachian League this summer, but hitting .294/.371/.592 with 14 home runs and 17 doubles isn’t anything to scoff at for a pro debut, regardless of age or level.
Most Intriguing Background: A converted outfielder who spent most of his time in college as a hitter, RHP Josh Broughton (25) was used on the mound exclusively in his pro debut with the Royals. He’s got a big arm and touched 98 mph in the Arizona League, and he has athletic bloodlines, as his father, Curtis Marsh, and brothers, Curtis Marsh Jr. and Cassius Marsh, all played in the NFL.
Closest To The Majors: Marsh’s variety of pitches and advanced feel for throwing strikes and sequencing on the mound should allow him to move quickly. He posted a 9.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his pro debut in the Pioneer League.
Best Late-Round Pick: The Royals signed 2B Jimmy Govern (30) for just $5,000 on Day 3 of the draft after a solid four-year career with Eastern Illinois. Govern isn’t super toolsy, but he has an advanced hitting approach and doesn’t swing-and-miss often. He brings solid leadership qualities to the table as well, and he hit .344/.457/.603 with eight home runs and 19 doubles in three leagues—including a six-game stint in Triple-A—in his pro debut.
The One Who Got Away: C Saul Garza (32) impressed both offensively and defensively during the spring for Louisiana State, but as a draft-eligible sophomore he proved too difficult to sign away from LSU, where he’ll return for his junior season in 2020.