Top 5 Options for Royals in 2020 Draft

It’s that time of the year, Major League Baseball’s annual draft. This year may be different as there may not be any baseball played before the picks are in, but that doesn’t change our hype around the draft. As Royals fans, we have been looking forward to the last few drafts in particular because of the current Royals’ play on the field. We look to the future in the same way we did in 2011 and 2012 hoping to find the next homegrown guys like Hosmer and Moose.

In this post, I wanted to show a scout’s point of view of a prospect and the type of language that is used when describing a next level talent. Every player is ranked on a 20-80 scale with 20 being the lowest and 80 being the highest. I will also show their current grade and how I think they will project in the future.

For hitters, I’ll be showing their:

  • Hitting ability
  • Fielding ability
  • How well the run
  • Strengths/Weaknesses

For pitchers, I will be showing their:

  • Velocity, movement, and control of different pitches
  • Strengths/Weaknesses

NAME   Spencer Torkelson

School: Arizona State                                                                             Position: 1B

Academic Class: Junior                                                                                 

Height: 6’1                        Weight: 220                      Bat: R    Throw: R

Hit Style: Power hitter                  Hit Mechanics: Smooth powerful swing in any part of the zone

Hit Ability 70 70 Great hitting ability and bat control. A major league bat playing college baseball
-Discipline 75 75 Has an incredible eye, walked 41 times in 57 games last year. This year in 17 games he walked an astounding 31 times
Hit Power 75 80 Top grades like this don’t come often. Has major power to all fields. Isn’t just a home-run hitter, has gap-to-gap power as well
Arm Strength 50 50 Average arm strength
Arm Accuracy 50 50 Average arm accuracy, can throw accurately when needed
Fielding Ability 55 60 Above average fielder. Had a fielding percentage of .992 last year and this year. Not getting drafted for his glove
Run 30 30 Below average speed. Speed not needed at position

Physical Description: Major league body already who may get even stronger.

Strengths: ++ power to all fields with quick hands as well. Power comes with ease. Most powerful to his pull-side. Has a great approach at the plate and knows what he wants to do to go along with great plate discipline.

Weaknesses: Average fielding which will improve with practice. Below average speed.

Injuries: No concerns.

Summary: The best power bat in the draft, he has potential to put up Pete Alonzo type numbers in his rookie season. He should shoot up through a farm system because of his advanced hitting approach at the plate. One of the favorites at #1. If the Royals get him there should be no passing up.

NAME   Emerson Hancock

School:  University of Georgia                                                                              Position: RHP

Academic Class: Junior                                                                                         

Height:  6’4                       Weight: 213                      Bat: R             Throw: R

Windup: Yes                     Arm Angle: High 3/4      

FB 70 70 94-96 Tops 99 ++ velo probably not too much more room to grow in velocity
-Mvmt 50 50  Decent movement with arm side run when throwing inside to right-handed hitters. Ball has slight cut when throwing inside to left-handed hitters. Movement not a huge issue with good control and + velo
-Control 70 70  Likes to throw the ball inside and outside. Could probably use elevated fastball to his advantage more. Can also spot up lower In the zone as well.
CB 60 70 83-85 Hard curveball but hasn’t used it a ton in college
-Mvmt 65 65  Hard breaking CB
-Control 55 70  One reason for lack of use is + slider. Once he uses CB more his control will go up
CH 55 70 85-87 Changeup is good pitch but like CB doesn’t throw it a ton. Has potential to be most useful pitch that he can throw in any count
-Mvmt 50 60  Occasionally has ++ movement but not all the time. Doesn’t need ++ movement because of great change in speed from fastball.
-Control 50 65  Average control right now, mostly because of lack of constant use. Once he learns to use it constantly it will be a great equalizer
SL 65 70 84-86 Hard slider, best of his off-speed pitches
-Mvmt 70 70  Late movement on slider, gets a lot of swing and misses outside of zone
-Control 55 65  Really good at throwing slider outside of zone to get swings and misses but could do a better job at throwing it in 0-0 counts

Physical Description: Tall and big bodied with still some room to grow.

Strengths: His plus fastball with decent life will jam RH hitters and LH hitters will roll over if they aren’t able to take it to opposite field. Has great command, only walked 18 in 90.1 inning sophomore year and only walked 3 in 24 innings this year. Has ++ off speed that will only get better with improved command.

Weaknesses: Slight injury risk but nothing to shy away from, just needs to get stronger. Needs to develop more usage and control on CB and CH.

Injuries: Had a lat injury his sophomore year that took him out of play for a couple weeks. When he returned, he wasn’t quite as dominant but still good.

Summary: Has an impressive pitching loadout and has ace potential stuff. As long as he stays healthy, he will be front-line starter. Reminds me of Max Scherzer because of similar arm slot, + fastball, and ++ off speed. May not last till Royals #4 pick, could even go #1.

NAME   Zac Veen

School: Spruce Creek HS (FL)                                    Position: OF

Academic Class: Senior (HS)                                                                                                     

Height: 6’5                        Weight: 200                      Bat: L      Throw: R

Hit Style: Gap-to-gap        Hit Mechanics: Smooth lefty swing. Barrel sits in zone through whole swing, doesn’t pull off.

Hit Ability 60 70 Beautiful swing. Already a good hitter with good hand-eye coordination. Very projectable bat.
-Discipline 55 65 Hard to scout discipline in HS. Makes a lot of contact and doesn’t strike out a lot. Need to see more against elite competition.
Hit Power 55 70 Above average power with plenty more to come. Has fast hips that will help generate power.
Arm Strength 55 65 Has an above average arm with smooth throwing delivery. More strength will come in the future.
Arm Accuracy 55 65 Above average arm accuracy which will improve with more practice.
Fielding Ability 50 60 Average fielder. Doesn’t have the range to play center and will most likely be a corner outfielder.
Run 50 50 Average runner not likely to get any better with more focus on gaining weight and hitting for power.

Physical Description: Long and lanky. Long arms. Has a lot of room to grow on 6’5 frame.

Strengths: Very projectable player with a good bat that will only get better. Ton of power potential once he puts on weight. Has fast hips, that can’t be taught, to help generate power. Smart.

Weaknesses: Average runner with not enough range to play center. Has had some issues against elite competition.

Injuries: No concern.

Summary: Zac is one of the top hitting prospects in this draft, and he has a high ceiling. He drives the ball well to all fields and has major power potential. He is an athletic prospect who needs to work on his defense to become elite. My comparison is Christian Yelich, great hitter, above average outfielder.

NAME   Asa Lacy

School: Texas A&M                                                                                               Position: LHP

Academic Class: Junior                                                                                                   

Height: 6’4                        Weight: 215                      Bat: L      Throw: L

Windup: Yes                     Arm Action: Deceptive arm action with loose and whippy arm.                         

Arm Angle: Over the top             

FB 65 70 92-94 Tops at 97 Power fastball that is “sneaky fast”. Fastball velocity maintains at 92-94 through whole game with not much drop off.
-Mvmt 55 60  Has some cut on his fastball which can be manipulated more to form a true cutter. Has natural downward action on ball because of arm angle.
-Control 60 65  He is a strike thrower, however, he still needs to improve on his command with fastball. Sometimes balls leak over heart of plate but he gets away with it because of velocity.
CB 60 60 77-80 Big breaking loopy curveball. He doesn’t throw it a lot but when it’s on it’s a plus pitch.
-Mvmt 65 65  Big CB, reminds me on Rich Hills. Has a lot of break not necessarily late break. Great pitch to catch someone off guard 0-0
-Control 55 65  Since he doesn’t throw it a lot he doesn’t have great control for it now but with practice he should be able to throw it in any count
CH 55 65 86-88 Hard changeup. Needs more consistency with this pitch like CB. Pitch has potential to be + and a good equalizer to his FB.
-Mvmt 50 55  Average movement on his changeup. Definitely has some downward action but not a ton. Mostly just a good mix for those sitting fastball.
-Control 50 60  Threw changeup quite a bit this year but only had average strike numbers. When it hits the strike zone it’s a great pitch when it doesn’t its not competitive. Should get better with more practice.
SL 70 70 84-86 One of the best breaking balls in the draft. Righties struggled with it just as much as lefties.
-Mvmt 70 70  Hard breaking slider with late life. Lots of swings and misses. Most swings on it are thrown in the dirt.
-Control 65 70  Has good control on slider and can throw it in any count. Not the best pitch on an 0-0 count because its mostly a swing and miss pitch and can actually break too much out of zone.

Physical Description: Tall athletic build with room to grow. Long legs help him get down the mound and increases velocity.

Strengths: Has a power fastball that he can blow by hitters with downward action that gets ground balls. Can get swing and misses on all four pitches. Has performed well against top competition. He throws his FB, SL, and CH a lot and mixes them well.

Weaknesses: Needs to control changeup more if he is going to throw it often. Can sometimes let pitches get away from him and lose command for a batter.

Injuries: No concern.

Summary: Lacy has ace potential. It’s not often you find a lefty with a power fastball with three other + pitches to go along with it. Once he gets more consistency with his off speed pitches, he will be deadly. Compares well to Blake Snell. If Lacy falls to Royals at #4, they may need to decide if they want him or Hancock. Both pitchers would be a good choice, and I don’t think you can go wrong with either.

NAME   Nick Gonzales

School: New Mexico State                                                                     Position: 2B

Academic Class: Junior                                                                                         

Height: 5’10                      Weight: 190                      Bat: R     Throw: R

Hit Style: Contact hitter with power to his pull-side          Hit Mechanics: Short to the ball with quick hands

Hit Ability 65 75 Great hitter. Can hit ball to all fields. Hit .432 in 2019 and .448 in this abbreviated season. Also hit .351 in Cape Cod League last summer. One of the best pure hitters in the draft.
-Discipline 55 65 Good discipline. Doesn’t strike out a lot. Walked 45 times in 55 games last year and 21 times in only 16 games this year.
Hit Power 60 65 Showed really good power in college. Hit 16 HR last year and 12 HR this year. Not completely convinced on power translating to MLB. Played in high elevation in an average conference. Will most likely have above average power for 2B.
Arm Strength 55 60 Above average arm strength, not the biggest factor at 2B though.
Arm Accuracy 50 50 Average arm accuracy for 2B
Fielding Ability 45 55 Below average fielder. Glove has gotten better each year and I expect this trend will continue with more reps.
Run 50 50 Never was a huge base stealer in college. Speed not needed with great bat.

Physical Description: Short and stocky with great infielder build. Still has room to fill out especially if he wants to be a power hitting second basemen.

 Strengths: One of the best pure hitters in the draft. He is great at driving in runs. Has gap-to-gap power with HR power to his pull side. Also has good plate discipline.

Weaknesses: Needs to work on his glove if he wants to be an elite player.

Injuries: No concerns

Summary: The third best bat in this draft, Gonzales put up absurd numbers in his time at New Mexico State. Will need to see more against better competition, however, has hit well when he has played good competition, just hasn’t put up as good power numbers. Has an elite bat, but will need to work on his glove to become an elite overall player. Compares to Keston Hiura, great hitter at 2B, but average with the glove. Would be a solid pick for the Royals if Torkelson is off the board and they want a college bat.

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Options for Royals in 2020 Draft

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