2018 Draft Class – Position Players

Take a look and see how our position players did in their professional debut.  The Royals spent their first 5 picks on pitchers but ended up taking 17 position guys compared to 26 pitchers.  The focus of this draft class was obviously pitching but the Royals hope to get a few big leaguers from the position players as well.  I’ve looked into the 2018 Draft Class Pitchers as well and you can read that here.

Pick Name P Notes
3.94 Kyle Isbel OF Listed at second base on draft day, Isbel only spent time in the outfield for the Royals. Isbel had 45 starts in CF and 11 in LF. It’s pretty safe to say the Royals drafted him to play CF unless they want him to follow the mold of Whit Merrifield… Wherever he plays, it seems like his bat is for real. Isbel’s slash line for the 2018 season was .326/.389/.504. He stole 24 bases in 30 attempts while hitting 7 home runs and 22 doubles. Perhaps the only thing to nitpick on was his 26:60 BB:K ratio which resulted in a strikeout 20.5% of his plate appearances. Isbel put up .229 ISO in Idaho Falls before his promotion to Lexington where he put up an ISO of .145. In his Lexington, he also had a 123 wRC+. He was described as a “Royals type of player.” Isbel will probably start next year in Lexington before moving up to Wilmington. The heavy evening breeze of Delaware’s Atlantic Ocean creates a tougher hitting environment at Frawley Stadium than any other Royal affiliate has to deal with. This will be a big test for Isbel’s abilities next season.
4.122 Eric Cole OF Cole played mostly CF for the Burlington Royals although he did start a few games in RF. When I saw him play this summer he was a solid bat who had the ability to hit to all fields. He hit .281/.353/.389 this season. He was 6 for 6 stealing bases. His wRC+ came in at exactly 100 which is exactly average for the league. Cole does need to get his bat going for next season because the Royals want some more power out of his bat.
8.242 Jackson Lueck OF Lueck is a switch-hitting corner outfielder. He has good contact skills although when he tries to hit for power he loses that contact. Lueck spent time at three levels for the Royals but spent most of his time in Burlington. He has some pop hitting 5 home runs and 9 doubles in 43 games for Burlington. Some people feel that if he keeps trying to hit for power the contact will continue to get better because he can do that when he doesn’t try to hit for power. Time will tell for Lueck what approach at the plate will be best for him in pro ball.
9.272 Kevon Jackson OF Jackson is very raw but possesses 80 grade speed and a strong arm. He spent the season in Arizona where he got 98 ABs and just 18 hits and 46 strikeouts. Contact is a big concern early for him but he has plenty of time to make adjustments. He did have 20 walks and stole 6 bases in 9 attempts.
11.332 Michael Emodi C Emodi has a strong arm graded by some at a 60. He spent most of his season at Burlington hitting .206 with 40 strikeouts in 97 at bats. One of the concerns was swings and misses. Emodi did nothing to make those concerns go away but he does have some power and could end up in the big leagues because of his defense.
15.452 Milan Walla OF Did not sign.
19.572 Hunter Wolfe SS Did not sign.
21.632 Nathan Eaton C Eaton was a super utility guy for the Idaho Falls Chukars this season with 20 starts at 2B, 20 starts at 3B, 11 starts in RF, and 10 starts in CF. This is perfect for Eaton as he spent the whole season on fire hitting .354/.427/.581. Eaton stole 19 bases and walked 33 times but did strike out 60 times in 260 at bats. Eaton put up 20 doubles, 12 triples (!), and 5 home runs. Eaton could move through the system as the super utility player or he could settle into a position full time. Whatever it is, we are looking forward to seeing if his bat can continue a .300/.400/.500 slash line next year.
24.722 Gage Hughes SS Hughes is another switch-hitter drafted by the Royals. He spent the summer in Arizona adjusting to pro pitching. Hughes is a very good athlete who had over 2,000 points in his high school basketball career but picked baseball and was committed to Cincinnati. Hughes hit just .204 in 93 at bats and struck out 25 times. He will go back to rookie ball next spring and will probably start his season in Arizona again.
25.752 Hunter Strong OF Strong spent most of his time in LF for the three rookie ball affiliates. He spent most of his time in Idaho Falls and enjoyed the most success there hitting .336 there in 32 games. He walked 16 times there and struck out 18 times. Over the summer he walked 22 times and struck out 32 times. Strong got on base 35.4% of the time on the season.
28.842 Rhett Aplin 1B Aplin lead Florida State with 18 doubles this year but that didn’t quite translate to pro ball yet. Aplin isn’t a big time power threat but he does have solid contact skills and hit .303 between Arizona and Burlington. His slash was .303/.391/.360 for the season. Aplin was exclusively a first baseman or DH this summer. The Royals hope he can add some home run power and find his knack for doubles again next season.
30.902 Kyle Kasser 2B Kasser spent the summer at Idaho Falls mostly playing second base although he played SS about 25% of the time. Kasser didn’t hit for much power but did hit .357/.400/.409. He walked 13 times and struck out just 17 times in 171 at bats. Kasser’s glove was very good putting up a fielding percentage of 97.6% between SS and 2B.
31.932 William Hancock C Hancock spent most of the season in Arizona but finished the season in Lexington. Overall, he hit just .219/.304/.333 with 34 strikeouts to 9 walks.
32.962 Brhet Bewley 3B Bewley played most of the season in Burlington. He finished the season with .291/.413/.394. Bewley did walk 33 times compared to 39 strike outs. He didn’t hit for a lot of power but did get on base at a decent clip.
35.1052 Kody Hoese 3B Did not sign.
37.1112 David Hollie OF Signed for $125,000. Played 38 games for the Arizona Royals and hit .225 with 2 HR, 2 3B, and 6 2B. Struck out 42 times and drew just 12 walks. Hollie has some talent but needs some time to adjust to the pro game.
39.1172 Adam Hackenberg C Did not sign.

Photo by Zak Krill, UNLV Athletics.

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