Over the next six weeks, MLB-DI will take a look at each teams draft class, breaking down the best — and most questionable — over the past week.
Next up: The Kansas City Royals. The Royals came out of last years draft with my favorite hitting prospect in Bubba Starling. Did they make out like bandits again this year?
To the jump!
The Decision Makers
General Manager: Dayton Moore
Director, Scouting: Lonnie Goldberg
Position Players: 17
Corner infielders: 02
Middle infielders: 02
The First Ten Rounds
Steal: Player was selected several rounds — or in the case of the first-round, several picks — earlier than his value indicated.
Solid: Player was taken later than his value indicated.
Average: Player was selected where his value indicated.
Slight-reach: Player was taken slightly earlier than his value indicated.
Reach: Player was drafted several rounds or picks earlier than his value indicated.
|01.05||Kyle Zimmer||RHP||San Francisco||Average|
|03.100||Colin Rodgers||LHP||Parkview Baptist HS (LA)||Slight-Reach|
|05.163||Chad Johnson||C||Galesburg HS (IL)||Average|
|06.193||Zach Lovvorn||RHP||Oxford HS (AL)||Average|
|07.223||Fred Ford||OF||Jefferson College (MO)||Average|
|08.253||Alfredo Escalara-Maldanado||OF||Pendelton (FL)||Average|
|09.283||Dan Stumpf||LHP||Northwest Nazarine (ID)||Average|
|10.313||Alexis Rivera||LHP||Montverde HS (FL)||Average|
In April, it looked like Zimmer wouldn’t last past the Twins at pick No.2. A few days before the draft, there were rumors that he could slide all the way to 14. At the end of the day, he went about where he should have. The 6-4 right-hander was one of the more consistent performers of the spring, and his mid 90′s fastball and plus curveball and above average changeup should allow him to advance quickly. I’m not sure if he’s an ace — I’m not sure if any starter in this college class has that ability — but he’s a somewhat “safe” play with upside, which is well done at pick five.
Sorry Vanderbilt fans, but as skeptical as I was about Verhagan in the fourth, multiply that by two for Selman going in the second. The fastball sits 91-94 with movement — and the secondary offerings did improve from his sophomore to junior campaign (they really had no where to go but up) — but the slider and change both are below average offerings, and as one scout told me, the left-hander looks “lost” when it comes to making adjustments and feel for pitching.
I was a bit torn on where to rank the Rodgers pick; he didn’t make my final top 100, but he wasn’t too far off, and if the curve shows more consistency, he’s a potential steal. When he’s on, it’s as good a curve as any left-hander not named Smoral or Fried. Too often this year though, the reports would show the pitch as below-average, and without it he’s more than likely a reliever. High reward, but not sure it outweighs the risk.
If you would have told me last year that I would consider Kenny Diekroeger a steal, I would have probably called you a nincompoop. And yet, here we are. No, he’s not the top ten talent that many considered him to be after his freshman campaign, but he is a solid second-baseman with well above-average hand-eye coordination and should be able to provide offensive value for the position. I don’t think there’s any chance he sticks at shortstop, but I believe Diekroeger will be an everyday player in the big leagues, and you don’t necessarily get a lot of those in the fourth round.
I’m not sure what to make of this class, to be completely honest. I think Zimmer was the right choice at the end of the day, and I do think Diekroeger was great value at pick 133. If Selman figures out how to pitch and Rodgers shows the plus-plus breaking ball he showed at times, this could be a great class. If they are the pitchers we saw for most of the year, however, they were each selected a round or two too early, and that will greatly devalue the “grade” of the Royals draft.