11 June 2007

Farm fresh Royals -- the '07 Royals draft

First, the breakdown:

>>>RHP 21
>>>OF 7
>>>C 6
>>>LHP 4
>>>SS 4
>>>3B 3
>>>2B/1B 5 combined

>>>High schoolers 17
>>>College 23 -- 13 seniors, 9 juniors, 1 sophomore
>>>JuCo 10 -- 5 first-year, 4 second-year, 1 third-year

Here's a link to the Royals list of draft picks (includes links to their scouting videos).

The top 5:

1) #2 overall, SS Mike Moustakas, 6-0, 195, Chatsworth HS (Calif.) senior, bats left, throws right, turns 19 in September

With no clear cut number-2 guy in the draft and high school pitcher Rick Porcello, the highest touted high school player available, allegedly demanding a nearly $10 million bonus, the Royals h
ad options at number 2, including Moustakas, fellow Californian high school 3B Josh Vitters, Georgia Tech C Matt Wieters and Missouri State lefty Ross Detwiler. Moustakas and Vitters were debated as to superiority with Moustakas boasting a plus arm and great bat but questionable ability to stick at the shortstop position with no clear alternative spot. Wieters had the early edge on the #2 spot going into fall 2006 but a lackluster (for him) yet still good season and questions of work ethic along with, like Moustakas, being represented by Scott Boras, lowered his attractiveness. Detwiler was heralded as the second best college lefty in the draft behind consensus #1 guy David Price of Vandy but was questioned as a #2 overall pick. In the end, the Royals rolled the dice with Moustakas with hopes he can stick at shortstop, where he'll be given a chance. Draftniks have theorized that Moustakas may have to move to third, first, outfield or even catcher as a pro. Priority #1 for KC is getting him signed. #2 is finding out how he hits pro pitching and if he can play shortstop. With no clearcut #2 and the Royals not being able to afford taking a chance with Porcello, the Moustakas pick made sense. Here's hoping it pays off. If he spurns the scholarship he has waiting for him at USC and signs, I assume he'll start in the AZL.

2) #66 overall, RHP Sam Runion, 6-4, 220, AC Reynolds HS (NC), turns 19 in November

After taking the position player in round 1, the Royals went with a high school pitcher in round 2. Runion (pictured in his uni from the AFLAC All-American game from 200
6) is a big righty from North Carolina with a low-90s fastball, low-80s slider (with good potential according to his MLB scouting report), a decent changeup and good projection for durability and mound composure. With 34 supplemental first-round picks thinning the pool of round-2-worthy picks, the Royals nabbed Runion, who from what I read seems to be a pretty level-headed player with a fairly high ceiling. The Royals are up against the University of Tennessee for Runion's services, as Runion committed to the Vols. If they get him signed, I assume he'll also go to the AZL. In a story in the Asheville paper regarding his selection, Runion talks like he'll sign.

3) #96 overall, LHP Dan Duffy, 6-2, 185, Cabrillo HS (Calif.), turns 19 in December

The MLB scouting report says he has a high-80s/low- 90s fastball, OK curve, potentially good change, good slider (reportedly his best pitch) and decent command, although I don't know about the command after watching the scouting video MLB offered on their site. He was compared physically to Mark Buehrle/Scott Olsen in terms of durability and build. Supposedly his emotions get the better of him at times on the mound, which could be just being a HS pitcher, but the scouting report says he could potentially be a solid 4-pitch hurler. The Royals are going against Cal-Poly for Duffy's services. This is a pick that sounds all right to me and he's another one likely set for the AZL upon signing.

4) #126 overall, RHP Mitch Hodge, 6-2, 210, Prince of Wales SS (Vancouver, B.C.), turns 18 Friday

Besides Runion, who was rated 109th by BA going into the draft, Hodge may be the Royals' biggest reach of the early going as there were more than a handful of probably capable college pitchers available, and obviously Hodge wasn't as known a commodity as both BA and MLB listed him as Peter Hodge Nielsen initially in their draft trackers. He goes by Mitch Hodge, tho, as his website entails. He has youth on his side as he doesn't turn 18 until Friday and must have some all right stuff for the Royals to risk a 4th rounder on him. He reportedly has a low 90s fastball and a breaking ball in the 80s, as his scouting video on the MLB site showed. He was set to go to college in Canada, but I assume the Royals may be able to get him signed. I assume he'd also start at the AZL if he inks.

5) #156 overall, CF Adrian Ortiz, 6-0, 172, Pepperdine U (Calif.) junior, bats left, throws right, turned 20 in January

Perhaps another signability pick by KC? BA's Kevin Goldstein called Ortiz "Joey Gathright without the walks," which isn't a good thing. He hit .224 in the Cape Cod League last summer. Ortiz's game is speed and defense. KC is rolling the dice that he'll actually hit the ball, if they sign him away from Pepperdine, where he's still got a year of eligibity. Pepperdine is also in Malibu, which many may prefer to the AZL or, likely with Ortiz, Idaho Falls. He was a fifth round pick out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy in '04 and chose to go to college instead. Time will tell if he signs on the dotted line with KC or decides to try and improve his stock for one more season.

Day 2 draftees and some stated intentions

6) #186 overall, SS Fernando Cruz, 6-1, Puerto Rico Advancement College HS, switch hitter, throws right, turned 17 in March

Cruz reportedly was considered by some to be the best Puerto Rican prospect and the Royals getting him in round 6 may have been a steal. I guess they plan on moving him to third, as they like his arm and power at the plate. I was impressed by his MLB scouting video, I have to say. I hope they get him signed and put him at the AZL to see what he can do.

7) #216 overall, LF Hilton Richardson, 6-2, 200, Lake Washington HS (Wash.), bats and throws left, turned 18 in January

Another pick I liked that hopefully the Royals can sign away from his commitment to play baseball at the University of Utah. Athleticism, speed and a good arm are his hallmarks, as he made a name for himself in July 2006 with a good score on training done by the Speed Power Agility Reaction Quickness company at a Stanford camp, including a top score for arm strength and good times in speed events. Richardson hit .321 with a .509 slugging percentage at Lake Washington this season. He's also likely AZL-bound, if he signs.

9) #276 overall, RHP Zach Kenyon, 6-5, 190, Davenport Central HS (Iowa), turns 19 in December

A power pitcher with good height but will need to fill out, as 190 pounds isn't much on a 6-5 guy. The Royals are vying with the University of Iowa for Kenyon's pitching talents. He was 11-2 with a 1.51 ERA and 76 Ks in 74 IP in 2006 and is 3-1 thus far for his high school team this season. Reportedly has a high-80s fastball, which I assume can improve with some added weight, and a 70s curveball. The Perfect Game scouting company reports he has good mechanics and control with definite upside and is also a good student.

11) #336 overall, CF David Lough, 6-0, 185, Mercyhurst College (Penn.) junior, bats and throws left, turned 21 in January

Only the ninth player drafted in the history of Mercyhurst, he led the Lakers in 12 offensive categories this season, including hitting at .404, OPS at 1.266, XBH at 34, and SB at 23. Could be a diamond in the rough if the Royals can sign him. Likely would start at Idaho Falls if so.

14) #426 overall, RHP Matt Mitchell, 6-2, 205, Barstow HS (Calif.), turned 18 in March

Another pick with an MLB scouting video, I thought Mitchell looked better on there as a hitter than a pitcher, despite the weird swing follow-through. He had no commitment to a college and was quoted in the Desert Dispatch newspaper in California as saying he would either sign or go to a JuCo. He also said he would like money to use for college from his contract. His stats weren't bad at all this season as he went 8-3 with 139 Ks and a 0.78 ERA in 80 IP for Barstow (that's almost 2 Ks per inning if you do the math) and hit .394 with 5 HR. The Royals scout quoted in the story says he was drafted as a pitcher. Sounds signable, at least. Let's see what he can do in Arizona.


12th round pick C Sean McCauley (Virginia HS) was quoted in a newspaper article that it would take $300,000 to sign him and he was likely headed to Western Carolina to play on the team that also boasts Bret Saberhagen's son, Drew.

13th round pick RHP Alex Caldera (Calif. JuCo) was quoted in a newspaper article that he was looking to sign. Sounds like he has some nice stuff.

15th round pick C Ryan Eigsti (Bradley U junior) was quoted in a newspaper article that he would like to sign but hadn't made up his mind yet. Eigsti is noted for his defensive reputation and batted .291 with 2 homers this season for Bradley.

16th round pick CF Patrick Norris (Oklahoma City U junior) hasn't been quoted anywhere about his intentions but was another speed pick who learned to switch hit this last year at the NAIA school. He hit .379 with a .963 OPS this season but despite his speed posted an .892 fielding percentage, which means he could be an OF project. After watching his video, I thought he swung better from the right side but didn't think his swing was exactly pretty from either side.

18th round pick RHP Stephen Dodson (UGA junior) has indicated he intends to stay at Georgia for his senior year.

20th rounder RHP Michael Lehmann (Mississippi HS) said here he will either sign or go to JuCo, which means he's likely signable and could end up at AZL. He's had some nice stats the last couple years at Pearl River Central HS in Carriere after moving there as a Hurricane Katrina refugee. Has an MLB scouting video you can check out.

21st rounder RHP Josh Billeaud (LSU-Eunice JuCo) is a Southern Miss signee with an MLB scouting video available. At 6-3, 210 he's got some size and had 81 Ks in 82 IP this year at LSU-Eunice. No indication that I've found of his intentions.

23rd rounder LHP Geoff Brown (Washington HS) has a scholarship to the U of Washington waiting for him if he doesn't sign. From his MLB scouting video, I thought he looked like a potential reliever.

24th rounder RHP Ben Norton (Evansville U) was a senior and had a 2.89 career ERA in 36 games at the Indiana university. He struck out 160 in 196 career IP. As Moore was quoted on the team site, the team was looking for some power pitchers, which I like to see. Since he was a senior, I figure it should be an easier sign, unless he wants to go the independent route. If he signs, I'd say he's Idaho Falls or Burlington (rookie) bound. Likewise, 27th rounder RHP Dane Secott (Minn. St.-Mankato) was a senior and posted 105 Ks in 78 IP this season at the university with a 2.31 ERA. If he chooses to sign, we'll likely see him at Idaho Falls this season.

25th rounder 1B Clint Robinson (Troy U) was also a senior and the 6-5 first baseman led Troy in at least seven categories, including the power categories, this season, plus set some school records. He hit .364 with a 1.110 OPS and .973 fielding percentage at Troy this season. In this article, he said he plans to sign and I expect to see him at Idaho Falls.

28th rounder 2B Fernando Garcia (Manatee CC) was a 32nd round pick of the Royals in 2006 out of Puerto Rico who they obviously kept an eye on this year at Florida's Manatee JuCo, where he was first team all-conference this season and hit .372. No idea how he is defensively or if he's more signable this season. Probably fodder for IF or the B-Royals if signed.

29th rounder SS Kyle Martin (Texas Tech U) has an MLB scouting video as a righty senior at Tech. His numbers weren't overwhelming this season as he hit .279 with a .927 OPS and a .946 fielding percentage at short. Maybe with wood bats his fielding percentage would improve a little as the ball wouldn't come off the bat as fast but his offensive numbers aren't likely to go up. He did hit 13 homers to co-lead the team this season but also easily led the team with 14 errors. He also hit .302 in '06 at Tech. If he signs, he's set for Burlington or IF.

30th rounder 1B Brett Amyx (U Texas-Tyler junior) paced the Patriots to a 37-1 season. No indication that I can find of his intentions. He's 6-6, 230, so he's got the prototypical 1B size and power. He hit .348 with a 1.180 OPS and .997 fielding percentage with 21 walks and 15 Ks in 37 games. I like those numbers and hope he signs. He was also all-academic at UTT. He might be one to throw a little extra cash at to get signed. I'd like to see KC get it done.

31st rounder RHP Keaton Hayenga (Washington HS) was a pick lauded by BA as the Washington State signee has potential at 6-4, 180, with good stuff. He also has an MLB scouting video, which I thought showed he was solid. He was more hyped but tore a labrum in his shoulder sliding into third, which caused his stock to drop. Being drafted this low, he might roll the dice and go to Washington State. If the Royals sign him and he bounces back from the shoulder injury, this could be their steal of the draft.

32nd rounder 1B Jake Lane (Austin Peay U senior) is a former teammate of Rowdy Hardy and another slugging 1B. At 6-3, 230, Lane hit .328 with 8 HR and 40 RBI for the Governors this season. He had a .980 OPS and .576 slugging % and wasn't bad in the field with a .994 fielding percentage. Sight unseen, I'd rather have Amyx but Lane could be just as good, although he K'd more than Amyx -- 42 compared to only 17 walks.

33rd rounder RF Wilson Tucker (Belmont U senior) looks to be a decent pick as the 6-1, 205 lb. senior led the Bruins with a .346 BA and added 9 HR and 42 RBI in 59 games. He had 25 walks with 35 Ks and had a 1.000 fielding percentage and 10 OF assists in right. In '06, he hit .388 with a 1.082 OPS and 53 RBI. He's another one I'm enthusiastic to see signed, if KC can or will get it done.

34th rounder C Tom Hill (U Albany senior) hit only .311 for the Great Danes this season with a .918 OPS and .962 OPS but did draw 26 walks with only 28 Ks. He did throw out 14 of 27 base runners and had a good defensive reputation. Another Burlington/IF candidate if signed.

37th rounder CF Derek Rodriguez (Colorado HS) has a scholarship to Lamar waiting for him but his family says here that he's not sure if he'll go or sign. He's fairly athletic as he won the state title in the long jump in track this season and speed is a strength, which goes along with what the Royals appeared to be looking for in center in the draft.

Both 39th rounder righty Trevor Feeney (N. Illinois U) and 40th rounder righty Clegg Snipes (Troy U) are college pitchers with high ERAs and moderate strikeout rates. Feeney's a junior so may try to better his standing with one more season but Snipes is a senior who had a bad asthma attack in the dugout in summer '06 while pitching in Arizona and had to be revived. At this point, both are probably rotation or bullpen filler in the lower levels if they sign.

41st rounder RHP Tyler Topp (Riverside JuCo) has a scholarship waiting at Long Beach State. I doubt he's taking 41st round bonus money rather than becoming a Dirtbag and pitching a couple years and maybe greatly increasing his stock. He's had decent numbers this season at Riverside but. like I said, I doubt he's turning down Long Beach at this point.

The Royals went local with 42nd rounder RHP Doug Antilla (MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, senior). Antilla hit for more than a 1.200 OPS as the MANU DH besides taking the mound. The 6-3, 215-lb. senior has the size but, if he has the stuff and signs, KC will see what he can do.

44th rounder CF Chris Hopkins (Oregon State U junior) is busy preparing for the College World Series right now and was another speed pick by KC. He has only hit .260 this season for the Beavers with a .700-something OPS and 14 SB, altho he has drawn 31 walks with only 18 Ks. Since he's a junior, I wonder if the Royals are just letting him know they're interested. I'd think he'd like to go higher than the 44th round. We'll see if he signs or keeps playing for one of the top-flight college programs.

My final note is that I demand that the Royals sign 48th rounder 3B Devery Van De Keere (U. Louisiana Lafayette) and 50th rounder C Brandon Van Riper (New Mexico HS) simply because, other than Amyx, they have the best names of the Royals' draft, hands down. Van De Keere hit .322 career with a .366 OBP for the Ragin' Cajuns over two seasons and is a native Canadian. He only hit .254 this season with a .650 OPS and .912 fielding %, which may explain why he was a 48th rounder. Van Riper is quoted here as saying he expected to go as early as the eighth but that didn't happen. I guess he has a low-90s fastball as a pitcher, which likely means he has a great throwing arm as a catcher. He said he plans on going to juco, most likely, unless the Royals can knock him over. The Royals did sign their 50th rounder last season -- OF Jarrod Dyson -- so it's not unprecedented.

1 comment:

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