With the MLB Draft approaching, it’s time to start looking at some potential picks the Royals could end up making. I’ll profile one player every day excluding Sunday leading up until the draft assuming it happens June 10 like the rumors have reported. Some of these players will not be available to the Royals, but players drop and players move up when the picks actually start happening.
MLB had announced that the Draft would take place in Omaha coinciding with the College World Series Opening weekend this year. This was the first Draft that fans would actually be attending and Alex and I had a hotel room booked overlooking the stadium and planned to be in the thick of the action. However, we all know how plans have changed with the devestation the Coronavirus pandemic has unleashed on the globe. In response, the NCAA canceled their season, the CWS, and MLB moved the draft to a virtual format.
Asa Lacy is the best left-handed pitcher in the country. There is talk of him being a potential ace if he can stay healthy and reach his full potential. There is also some quiet conversation about number one overall. Let’s learn more about him.
Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M
Lacy is everything you want in a college pitcher. He throws from the left side, stands 6’4”, weighs in at 215, and throws four potentially plus pitches. It’s hard to explain how dominant Lacy was in the short college season in the spring of 2020. Let’s put it this way. Lacy struck out 46 batters in 81 at bats. That’s 56.8 percent of hitters! Breaking it down even more, Lacy walked an average of 2.0 per start for a total of 8 free passes on the year. He did hit four batters. Lacy didn’t give up any sacrifices in his 4 starts and faced 93 total hitters on the season. Lacy struck out 49.5 percent of the batters that stepped into the batter’s box. That is incredible.
Lacy uses a simple windup lifting his leg just above his waist. His hands work up and down together with his leg before he explodes to the plate. Lacy also shakes his glove as he gets his grip giving hitters no chance to pick what pitch is coming. He has short arm action and a strong lower half. Lacy has a grinder mentality and is not afraid to bounce a pitch if he feels it will get a hitter to chase.
Lacy also has some intangibles that coaches crave. For starters, Lacy is the most prepared pitcher on his staff every game. Coaches have commented that he will outwork the next hardest worker and thrives in a competitive environment.
Lacy’s fastball works between 92 and 96 often sitting 94. When Lacy throws the pitch up, hitters have a really hard time getting on plane. Just ask New Mexico State stud Nick Gonzales who didn’t touch Lacy when they faced off in College Station. When Lacy throws it into a right-handed hitter, sometimes that hitter will freeze while the pitch finds the inside corner running back to the plate. Lacy often can locate this pitch on the edges of the strike zone which makes him even harder to hit.
Lacy throws a late-breaking curve that can eat up right-handed hitters. This pitch usually has 1 to 7 movement on a clock from the catcher’s perspective. Lacy can throw this pitch for a backdoor strike to a righty, freeze a lefty for a strike, or throw a chase pitch for any type of hitter to chase. This pitch is about 20 to 24 miles per hour less than his fastball and has crazy movement. The most amazing thing about this pitch is how Lacy likes to start it high and away above the strike zone breaking into the upper inside quadrant to a right-handed hitter. They have almost no chance to hit this pitch.
Lacy also throws a mid-80’s slider that has more horizontal break than his curve. The pitch is hard and dives into the back foot of righties. This is a very different type of breaking ball than his curve but still gets the same swing and miss results sending hitters walking back to the dugout shaking their heads.
The change up is a weapon as well. Lacy throws it against both types of hitters with equal success. The pitch has armside movement and darts late on it’s approach to the plate. The velocity difference between his fastball and changeup is almost perfect making this pitch extremely hard to see. The pitch also has a quick drop close to the plate avoiding bats with ease.
Lacy has an average pickoff move but does a good job controlling the running game. It’s so hard for an opponent to get a runner on base they are often afraid to lose that runner by being dangerous on the bath paths.
There is a small group of evaluators out there who think Lacy won’t cut it as a starter. They refer back to a myriad of college left-handed pitchers who went high in the draft but didn’t materialize into the player people wanted them to become. I believe Lacy has the character traits to defy all those who don’t believe in him. The work ethic, competitive drive, and desire to be successful are powerful motivators for Lacy. If Lacy isn’t successful in the majors, it will be a surprise.
Lacy is a top of the rotation left-handed pitcher. He could easily develop into an MLB ace and should fly through the lower levels of the minors. Lacy is a tremendous talent who will immediately be in the top echelon of any team’s minor league pitching staff.
If the Royals are able to select Lacy, there will be many excited people in the front office and fanbase. A potential future rotation of Keller, Singer, Kowar, Lynch, and Lacy sounds really good. Lacy could end up being the ace of that group and would slot in as the top pitching prospect in the system immediately. The Royals have emphasized pitching recently so this is a potential fit for the Royals if he is available. However, both Baseball America and Perfect Game mocked Lacy to the Marlins at number three in their latest mock drafts.
Image from The Eagle taken by Laura McKenzie.