Kansas City Royals MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e., high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Kansas City Royals:
General Manager: Dayton Moore
Scouting Director: Lonnie Goldberg
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $12,781900 (1st)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 18th, 33rd (compensation for Lorenzo Cain), 34th (compensation for Eric Hosmer)
Supplemental 1st Round: 40th
2nd Round: 58th
3rd Round: 94th
4th-40: 18th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2017: Nick Pratto (14th)
2013: Hunter Dozier (8th)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
The Royals haven’t had many big hits in the draft this decade, which helps explain the state of the team’s farm system entering the 2018 season (ranked 29th). However, the team has hit on several late-round players who have added real value at the major league level, including OF Whit Merrifield (ninth round, 2010) and righthander Jakob Junis (29th round, 2011), who is currently a regular contributor in Kansas City’s big league bullpen.
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
Scouting director Lonnie Goldberg—one of the game’s longest tenured SDs—and Kansas City’s scouting department has the chance to kickstart the next generation of Royals talent with the largest bonus pool in the 2018 draft and four picks among the top 40 selections.
With more money to spend on the draft than any team, the Royals can go in a number of different directions this year, and with their first pick coming in the middle of the first round, much of what they do will depend on the teams in front of them. When looking at the team’s recent draft history in the top five rounds there’s not much of a trend that sticks out, as Kansas City is evenly split with 44.8 percent of selections going to high school players and 44.8 percent going to four-year university prospects.
Overall, the team has slightly favored pitchers (58.6 percent arms compared to 41.4 percent hitters), but 10 teams have taken a larger percentage of arms than the Royals.
If you just look at the first round and supplemental first round, however, you will see that the Royals have leaned towards high school players, taking five high school players in the six selections in the first or supplemental first rounds since 2014.
Angel Zerpa Is Hard To Ignore
The Royals added the 21-year-old lefthander to the 40-man roster so as not to risk losing another promising young arm in the Rule 5 draft.
Potential Draft Targets:
SS Brice Turang — An athletic, lefthanded-hitting shortstop with plus speed and great feel for the barrel, Turang is more polished than most preps
3B Nolan Gorman — Gorman is a slugging third baseman with near top-of-the-scale raw power and a strong arm, but he has some questions about his feel to hit
RHP Jackson Kowar — Lean, wiry and with a good frame, Kowar has an above-average fastball and plus changeup
RHP Ethan Hankins — Previously the top prep player in the class thanks to a potential 80-grade fastball, Hankins has been slowed by injury but is trending in the right direction
LHP Ryan Weathers — The son of David Weathers, Ryan is a polished lefty with solid control of a heavy fastball and an improving curveball
RHP Logan Gilbert — Gilbert has a heavy fastball that plays up with elite extension and more projection remaining than other college arms
C Noah Naylor — The younger brother of Josh Naylor, Noah is more hit over power with exceptional barrel awareness and a track record against professional arms
LHP Ryan Rolison — A high-floor college lefthander, Rolison shows a three-pitch mix including a fastball up to 96 mph with good life
RHP Mason Denaburg — An uber-athletic catcher-turned-pitcher, Denaburg has great arm speed and feel to spin a breaking ball
OF Connor Scott — A plus runner with good feel for the barrel, Scott is developing power and has a plus arm with good chance to stick in center field—aka toolsy
RHP Grayson Rodriguez — The Texas pop-up overhauled his body in the offseason and has been up to 97-98 mph with ease out of a big, 6-foot-4 frame
OF Nick Schnell — Few prep players have hit more than Schnell since last fall, as a likely corner outfielder who's a better runner underway with an above-average arm
RHP Cole Wilcox — A projectable, 6-foot-5 Georgia righty with a fastball into the mid-90s and a sharp slider that has gotten sharper this spring
IF Jordan Groshans — A powerful infielder with plus bat speed, Groshans has hit all spring and should continue developing more power that's already plus
IF Xavier Edwards — A small middle infielder, Edwards has feel for the barrel from both sides and top-of-the-scale speed to make up for a lack of power
IF Jeremiah Jackson — An offensive-oriented infielder, Jackson has good bat speed and future power potential as well as a strong arm
OF Jordyn Adams — Perhaps the most athletic player in the 2018 class, Adams is a two-sport start as an elite wide receiver and ultra-projectable center fielder
RHP Lineras Torres Jr. — One of the youngest players in the class, Torres is athletic with a fastball in the upper 90s