Perfect Game released their first Mock Draft of the spring on Friday last week. I wrote a short article on the projected Royals draft strategy here. Revisiting that mock draft, I redrafted for the Royals based on who PG had available at each pick.
The pick at 18 was tough. PG mocked 3B Jonathon India to the Royals. He is having a tremendous year and I’ve recently started to shift my thought process to best bat available with a team’s first pick. This pick would also give the Royals a little more financial flexibility later in the draft to spend on HS guys who are dropping due to signability. However, with RHP Kumar Rocker sitting there and available, I could not pass up the chance to sign a potential future ace. Rocker throws mid-90s with a hard downhill tilt. He throws what PG calls a plus breaking ball. And he throws a lot of strikes. So give me the potential high school ace instead of the developed college third baseman.
I really liked PG’s pick of SS Johnny Eierman at 33 and decided to stick with it. Eierman should be able to stay at SS and offers a combination of speed and power that is elite at the position. I considered taking him at 34 just to have a little more slot money for the pick I would make at 33 because he is a HS guy. I considered OF Steele Walker at this pick as well but felt that Eierman has more upside and is safer in the long run.
At pick 34 PG mocked us speedy OF Alek Thomas. Thomas is a prototypical CF who runs an easy 6.6 and has a smooth left handed swing. I do like the player but I wanted to go with someone who might have an impact on our rotation. I chose to go with RHP Cole Wilcox from high school in Georgia. Wilcox is a mid-90s arm with stuff that has been called electric. He throws a slider that has improved this season and should continue to get better. The Royals will have to throw a little money his way but that should be okay because we have it in the draft budget this year.
Pick 40 was OF Tristen Pompey from the University of Kentucky. I considered 3B Jordan Groshans from Texas here as well as the arms from Stanford. Overall I decided that having two prep arms to develop should push me towards the best position player in this spot. I thought about taking Pompey because I think we could save a little bit here with him and he has a solid track record with power that should move quick. Pompey could end up with Eierman in the wave of talent that is in Lexington and Wilmington. I ended up taking Groshans here because he can already hit upper level pitching with wood and has proved that over the showcase circuit the last year.
Now, with that all being said, I did not follow any specific draft strategy for the Royals and basically took what I thought would be the best player available at each spot. PG followed a strategy that the Royals may use. If I was to take into consideration the wave ahead of these guys I probably would have taken several college arms that would move quick and another college bat to go with Eierman to move quickly. I would probably try to get all four picks to Lexington quickly and promote the guys in front of them quickly to make room. I also did not factor in the Royals last two high school pitcher selections. You can’t be scared to make mistakes. Just go for it. Make sure you take a look at our Draft content as we’ll continue to ramp that up as we get closer to the draft.