Well, I should be introducing our 2020 draft day coverage with a brief update on how some of Kansas City’s top prospects are performing. We should be excited about the fact that Jackson Kowar has a 0.57 ERA for the Omaha Storm Chasers. We ought to be marveling at the fact that Bobby Witt Jr. has already hit his way to Wilmington in his first full professional season.
Instead, I’m going to do my best to quickly fill you in on a handful of players that could wind up in a Royals uniform over the next 36 hours even though they haven’t put on a uniform of any kind in the last couple of months. Please note that, as we previously mentioned on Twitter, scouting has been a tremendously difficult effort on our end this spring. Last year we were able to watch 7-8 starts on all the college arms, watch Bobby Witt Jr. play all the way through the Texas High School State Championship, and had an entire spring worth of data to go off of for the draft-eligible class. This spring we got a dozen games, an hour or so worth of film, and a handful of swings/pitches of Trackman data.
Luckily for us, we won’t be investing millions of dollars into any of these kids today. The Royals, on the other hand, will be, and will have to make dang sure they did enough scouting to invest that kind of money into the right players. Our only job involves giving you guys our opinions and somewhat educated guesses as to what this draft class could look like for KC by the end of the week.
Due to the aforementioned lack of scouting that our staff was able to get out and physically do on our own, I’m going to refer you to a beautiful sheet that Shaun Newkirk of Royals Review put together for an aggregate draft board ranking:
Personally, I have this for my top 10:
- Austin Martin
- Spencer Torkelson
- Zac Veen
- Emerson Hancock
- Asa Lacy
- Nick Gonzales
- Mick Abel
- Jared Kelley
- Max Meyer
- Ed Howard
I think that the 2020 crop of prep talent is being wildly over looked. There’s a lot of raw, untapped potential there, especially in Abel/Kelley/Howard, that I think is going to give some team Christmas in June later in the first round. There’s a small chance that all three of those kids are available for the Royals second pick at #32 overall, and depending on how they decide to draft at #4, they could afford them as well.
The Current State of the Farm
As most of you reading this already know, the Royals completely overhauled the pitching in their system during the 2018 MLB Draft. They added all four of their top pitching prospects in the first round, drafting Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, and Kris Bubic before you could even blink. If you look over at the position players, the Royals have a couple of studs in Bobby Witt Jr. and Erick Pena in the lower minors. They also have Khalil Lee, Kyle Isbel, and Nick Heath all creeping up in the upper minors.
The Royals are probably going to take a hitter with the #4 overall pick later today, but there have been questions about which hitter that might be. If they choose to go with the college bat in Nick Gonzales, they’ll be getting a MIF that will soar through the lower minors and may not be far behind the 2018 crop of pitchers to the big leagues. If they choose to go with the prep bat in Zac Veen, they’d be adding the best prep bat in this draft class to a system that already has the aforementioned Pena and Witt Jr. in it. That trio of Pena, Witt Jr., and Veen would give KC one of the best young hitting trios in all of baseball.
I have maintained for months now that, no matter which way the Royals choose to go with the #4 pick tonight, they will still be in great shape for the rest of the draft. This draft is much deeper than it is top heavy, giving the Royals a lot of great options later on. (I want to add in the caveat here that if Austin Martin is available at #4 for some reason, the Royals should not hesitate to abandon their prior plans and draft him at once.)
Should the Royals go with Zac Veen tonight with the 4th pick, I think they’ll take advantage of a super deep college crop at #32 and #41. In a mock draft I did over at Prospects Live, I was able to grab Slade Cecconi, a RHP from Miami, and Aaron Sabato, a 1B from UNC, with picks #32 and #41. I feel that both of these players are wildly under appreciated by the mainstream media sites right now. Cecconi is a top 10 arm in this draft and Sabato has absolutely raked since stepping foot on campus at UNC. Carmen Mlodzinski from South Carolina, Cole Wilcox of Georgia, Bryce Jarvis of Duke, JT Ginn of Mississippi State, Bobby Miller of Louisville, are all fantastic college arms that could legitimately still be available with the 32nd pick.
Should the Royals go with Nick Gonzales or Austin Martin at #4, as I stated earlier, I think this prep class is being criminally under rated. Masyn Winn, a SS/RHP out of Texas, is one of the most athletic players in this entire draft class. He’s a two-way Arkansas commit that also happens to be friends with Robert Moore, GMDM’s son. Jared Kelley, a RHP out of Texas, is my second favorite prep arm in this draft. Both players figure to be available at some point later on in the first round for KC.
I don’t think the draft will get as crazy as some outlets have suggested. Austin Martin falling to KC at #4 would be a freaking dream come true, but I think Baltimore is smarter than that. They’re doing their best to lower his price, which is fine, but I really think the Royals pick comes down to Zac Veen or Nick Gonzales. I’m going to guess that Zac Veen has a 75% chance of becoming the newest member of the Royals organization later today unless something crazy does happen.
After the pick at #4, I’d guess there’s a 90% chance that the Royals take college players for the rest of the draft. There simply wasn’t enough time to scout all of the prep talent this spring before the COVID-19 shut down. Much like the 2019 draft, I’d expect KC to take the best prep bat available early, and then college for much of the remainder of the draft. Should KC drift back into the prep ranks, look for Jared Kelley and Masyn Winn as potentially huge additions to the farm system.
Thank you all so much for your continued support. I know we’ve been relatively quiet this spring, but many of our lives have been turned upside down due to the pandemic. Rest assured, when normalcy sets back in, we’ll be here bringing you as much coverage of the Royals MiLB system as possible.