This is the first installment of our draft review series. This one covers rounds 1 and 2.
1.14 – 1B Nick Pratto
School: Huntington Beach High School (CA)
The Royals received mix reviews with their first selection. I personally, liked the pick. Heading into the draft, I though Pratto had one of the better swings out of any player available in this year’s draft. I wasn’t alone too. People rave about Pratto’s swing. There’s a lot to love about it. Elite bat speed, clean mechanics. There are no holes in his swing. This projects well for him at the plate. Expect him to show good discipline with some power that develops along the way.
He profiles a well at first base. Good arm, decent speed, nice overall feel for the position.
The question with Pratto is his power. There have been questions on if it will develop. If it doesn’t, the Royals might of ended up drafted a light-hitting first baseman in the first round. Not what you want. But, if the power does show, the Royals might of found themselves a tier-one first baseman.
2.52 – C M.J. Melendez
School: Westminister Christian High School (FL)
The Royals got themselves one very athletic catcher in the second round. The son of a baseball coach, Melendez is very sound behind the plate. His defensive aptitude comes from his overall quickness and strong arm.
His swing looks like it needs work. It lacks overall soundness and is not very consistent. But he has the some enticing tools to work with. Like Pratto, Melendez owns some quick hands, showing off some elite bat speed. He possesses enough strength to develop some power in the future.
2.73 – LHP Evan Steele
School: Chipola JC (FL)
After being ruled ineligible at Vanderbilt, Evan Steele went to go pitch at Chipola JC, where he completely dominated. Steele posted a 2.01 ERA in 40.1 innings, striking out 58, walking 16. His funky 3/4 arm slot made him very hard to hit, allowing opponents to a .208 batting average.
A tall, big lefty, Steele has a fastball that can reach the mid-90s, along with a slider and a changeup. The slider is beautiful. It has some breaking action on it that can make hitters look silly. He can even got some horizontal action on it occasionally. The changeup has question marks, but could become an above average offering.
The Royals will have to take it easy with Steele. He recently had a playoff game in which he threw a 143 pitches.