So far, the Royals have signed six players to free agent contracts following the 2020 MLB Draft. Players are allowed to sign for up to $20,000. There will be more signings to come for the Royals. These guys all ranked high enough to basically be extra draft picks for the Royals. They all have some upside and potential to be solid players in the system. It seems like the Royals targeted some guys who had some 2019 injuries and were working to prove themselves in 2020.
AJ Block, LHP, Washington State
Block is a 6’5″ LHP. Block was a 17th round pick last year but went back to school for his senior season. He was tearing up the PAC-12 leading the conference with 27.2 innings pitched and was second in the conference with 34 strikeouts. Block posted double-digit strikeouts in his final three collegiate starts. He was also named as Washington State’s Top Senior Student Athlete for his work in the classroom, community, and on the field. Block throws four pitches and pounds the strike zone.
Tucker Bradley, OF, Georgia
Bradley was ranked 317 on Baseball America’s draft rankings. Bradley was hitting .397/.513/.730 before the shutdown. Bradley has some speed and some pop hitting 3 doubles, 6 home runs, stealing 8 of 9, and walked 13 times compared to just 4 strikeouts this spring. Bradley was a consistent performer for Georgia starting in 115 games for the Bulldogs in his career. He hits left-handed.
Kale Emshoff, C, Arkansas-Little Rock
Emshoff was ranked 174 in the Baseball America draft rankings. He is a right-handed hitting catcher who was destroying the baseball when the season was shutdown. His triple slash was .417/.527/.800. He is what you think of when you think pro catcher. He has a big, strong frame that produces power at the plate and solid defensive skills. The Sun Belt Hitter of the Week for the week of February 25 finished the season with a 13-game hitting streak. Emshoff hit 7 homes runs and walked 14 times compared to 11 strikeouts this spring.
Saul Garza, C, LSU
Garza was drafted by the Royals last year but choose to go back to school. This year, he choose to sign with the Royals. Garza has spent time at first base as well as behind the plate. He is rated as a fringe average defender behind the plate so he will have to hit. Garza is 6’3″ with a big 225 lbs. frame. Garza was a team leader at LSU and also an excellent student. He was also drafted by the Cardinals two years ago.
John McMillon, RHP, Texas Tech
McMillon was a big piece of the Texas Tech bullpen regularly hitting 100 mph on the radar gun. The 6’3″ righty had 20 strikeouts in just 9.1 innings this spring. The issue McMillon has is the walk bug. In 145.1 collegiate innings, he walked 110 and struck out 189. If the Royals can work out the command, he could be a steal. He was ranked 357 on the Baseball America draft rankings. McMillon was an 11th round pick last year for the Tigers.
Chase Wallace, RHP, Tennessee
Wallace throws from a lower arm slot and will probably work in relief in the pro game. Last summer in the Cape, he posted a 2.74 ERA while striking out more than a batter per inning. Wallace was working as a starter for the Vols this spring working up to 92 with his fastball. He also throws a slider and change up. The junior was having a decent start to his season after missing much of 2019 due to injury. Wallace was Baseball America’s 440th ranked player in the 2020 draft.
Image of Kale Emshoff from the UALR roster page and taken by Mark Wagner.