10 June 2009

Mixed feelings about Crow

My wishlist for yesterday's first 2 Royals picks almost came true. It could have come true, I think it should have, but it didn't. I wanted to see a pure SS and C with potential come off the board in KC's favor. The pure SS could have happened, but the Royals passed in favor of a Hochevar-style college-pitcher-holdout-gone-Fort-Worth-Cat-redraft. But they did get a catcher with potential in round 3 as NC high school prospect Wil Myers slipped to the 91st pick, I assume because teams may not want to pay him the bonus he wants. I assume, as with Melville last year, the Royals will pay it.

Back to pick #12....former Mizzou righty Aaron Crow, who the Nationals picked at #9 last year and didn't sign, was sitting there along with USC SS Grant Green. In my mind, the Royals need a SS of the future -- and Green supposedly is a 5-tool guy, so defense is in the bag -- about 5 times more than they need another pitcher. That's not to bag on Crow's skills, and not to say the Royals can't always use more and better pitchers. I'm just saying the need for a S
S greatly trumps the need for Crow at that pick. Especially the top college SS prospect in the draft. Who was the last good all-around SS the Royals had? Jay Bell (more bat than glove)? Greg Gagne (more glove than bat)? That's a long damn time ago. They had a chance to grab a shortstop -- a premium position -- and passed him up. Did signability issues come into play with the pick? Crow is a relatively local player (went to HS in Topeka), which I like, and maybe the Royals got the vibe from Green that he might want a little extra $$ to don Royal blue. He did have a senior year at USC to hold over their head. But, man, I wish the Royals had drafted him. If Green is winning Gold Gloves and batting titles for Billy Beane in Oakland in 3-5 years, I'm gonna be nauseous. I will be rooting for Crow though. At this point it's already water under the bridge. No going back. The Star story on the pick does say he wants to sign and could be on the fast track, so maybe we got my third choice -- a AA-ready pitcher -- instead of my first choice. Here's a summary of the Royals' first 2 picks yesterday. More on the way today after the draft starts back up at 11 a.m. CT.

Rd 1) #12 overall, RH Aaron Crow, 6-2, 205 lbs., U of Missouri/Fort Worth Cats, turns 23 in November

The Royals have Crow listed at 6-3, 195, so he's somewhere in there. He's a power pitcher, sinking fastball, good slider, changeup that has supposedly improved in his year out of college ball. On the bright side, he's advised by the Hendricks Brothers, not Boras, so maybe KC will get him signed more than 10 minutes before the deadline. Last year, he wanted $4 million from the Nats, they offered $3.5 M, and he passed. The Star surmises the Royals have more leverage this year as Crow doesn't want to sit out anymore. I hope they don't mess around, tho, over $500 K. I know it's not MY $500 K, and if they want to mess around, they will, but in this day and age it seems a small price to haggle over. Why not split the difference at $3.75 M?

The most obvious comparison for Crow, just in terms of the Royals and the situation, is Hochevar. Let's look at their final college-year stats:

Hochevar (2005, UT): 15-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 104 H, 9 HRA, 54 BB/154 K, 3 CG/1 ShO in 19 starts/139 2/3 IP

Crow (2008, Mizzou): 13-0, 2.35 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 85 H, ? HRA, 38 BB/127 K, 4 CG ShO in 15 starts/107 1/3 IP

Pretty similar lines, there....I'd say the edge goes to Crow, better K/BB ratio, slightly higher K rate, but the whole SEC/Big 12 debate could come into play there too. Both conferences are competitive, but some would say the SEC is a little tougher traditionally. Crow pitched more innings combined in his jr/sr years but I wouldn't say he was overused, which is good. One added plus on Crow's side is that he grew up in Topeka, a Royals fan. That wasn't the case with Hochevar, so maybe mentally Crow is ahead of the game coming in signed, if and when the Royals get it done.

Rd 3) #91 overall, C Wil Myers, Wesleyan Christian Academy HS (NC), 6-3, 190, bats right, throws right, turns 19 in December, committed to U of S. Carolina

Myers had been in the Royals' mix for pick #12 according to multiple sources, and was #31 on Baseball America's top 100. My initial feeling is that the Royals are gonna have to duplicate last year's move and open up the checkbook to keep Myers from going to South Carolina to play.

Scouting reports indicate Myers has the skills and potential but needs some work on his hitting mechanics and is kind of a raw catcher, as he played several positions at WCA. The biggest task here may simply be getting him signed. The Royals were one of three teams to have Myers in for a workout. He hit 14 HR in 22 games this season. In a story in the Greensboro News & Record, he sounds willing to sign. All in all a good pick as long as the Royals are willing to pony up the cash, which they were willing to do in '08.

More on today's crop through round 30 later today or tomorrow....

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