The final day of the MLB Draft was today, and the Royals had a very...interesting draft. A few hits, a few potential misses, and a lot of question marks as to filling positions and getting the most out of their high draft spot. I'll go through a few here (though not all as this is a daily blog post, the Royals picked 2o guys, and this not a scouting report) and give my thoughts on them.
Day 1: RF Gavin Cross, 3B Cayden Wallace
The Royals definitely went for power hitting on the first day. Both these guys can crank it, with Gavin Cross having a .340 BA with 28 HRs and 93 RBIs and Cayden Wallace having a .289 BA with 30 HRs and 104 RBIs. Top that with these guys being excellent in the field as well, and they're solid picks. What struck me the wrong way though however, was the fact that the Royals didn't select a pitcher on day 1. Do I agree that Cal Eldred would more than likely ruin any rookie pitcher that went to the organization? Yeah, but unless this organization sees a future with him the Royals are struggling to build a consistently good starting rotation AND bullpen. Does this mean there's a possibility that Eldred stays on because of this decision, or did the Royals just not see any good arms on that first day? I think day 2 gives us our answer...
Day 2: P Mason Barnett, P Steven Zobac, P Hunter Patteson, C Hayden Dunhurst, P Mack Anglin, P Wesley Scott, P Brandon Johnson, OF Levi Usher
Welp, I think they heard the reaction to day 1 loud and clear. The Royals LOADED pitchers on day 2, which is a good sign that they want to improve at said position. Good, I think we got worried there for a second. Among these guys Wesley Scott and Hunter Patteson stood out. Patteson out of UCF had a .667 Win/Loss Percentage, 4.32 Career ERA on 18 games started and 32 games total. UCF is a solid program out of the AAC that played against programs from the Power 5 regularly, so Patteson faced good competition and won his fair share of matchups. I think he has high probability of being a great reliever and even perhaps making his way into the starting rotation within the first 5 years. Scott however is interesting, as he had a .81 Win/Loss Percentage, 3.6 Career ERA on 15 games started and 18 games total. Really, really good stats in terms of pitchers, but Scott is a community college product out of Walters State CC. Will he be able to translate community college success to the pros? If he can develop, I'd say he has every chance as the rest of them, but I think he needs to see big league batters. He may have seen some at Walters State, but he wasn't going up against SEC or Big 12 level bats. The rest of the pitchers should fit in nicely, I have no complaints or key points I want to mention. Hayden Dunhurst is more than likely Salvy's replacement, and Levi Usher was a fantastic outfielder that could easily move positions for Louisville. Day 2 brought the arms, what will day 3 bring?
Day 3: P David Sandlin, SS Jack Pineda, P Ryan Ramsey, P Ben Sears, OF Javier Vaz, P Cooper McKeehan, P Chazz Martinez, OF Milo Rushford, P Tommy Szczepanski, TWP Austin Charles
Well, more pitchers, just more spread out. It seems the Royals want depth at pitching, which means yes the have indeed learned from their mistakes. Sandlin and Martinez were teammates at Oklahoma so it'll be interesting to see if they work their way together into the rotation. They worked well off each other at OU, and generally Big 12 baseball translates well, especially at a powerhouse such as OU. It's also good to see more outfielders get picked, another position that is in dire straits due to depth. No real qualms with this day, all solid picks and they fill depth.
Overall, I think the Royals had a decent draft. I think there are still question marks which is why in the beginning I called it interesting, but the loading of pitchers and bringing on a handful of outfielders helps. Those positions were positions of DIRE need for the team, and I think they did their job in at least filling the gaps. We'll have to see if these guys translate well to the big leagues though however, as Royals scouting has been wrong plenty of times and judging by stats and face value, there's reason for a bit of skepticism. We'd rather not have another Bubba Starling or Asa Lacy, guys...Only time will tell.
Burn Notice: 7/10 is the grade I give this draft, mildly hot with a chance to go ice cold if things go horribly, horribly wrong.