Day 1 of the draft is now in the books, as is my first attempt at live blogging. I set it up at the 11th hour with little notice, but it was a good exercise for me if nothing else. Here are some thoughts on the Royals 1st day performance as well as some quick thoughts on the MLB Network’s coverage of the draft.
The Royals selected former Missouri Tiger RHP-Aaron Crow with their 1st round pick (12th overall). Crow was drafted last year by the Washington Nationals with the 9th overall pick, but could not agree to a contract. Crow was pitching with the Fort Worth Cats in the American Association. In 17.0 innings with the Cats, Crow was 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA, 5 BB, and 17 SO. Many fans will immediately connect the signing of Crow to that of Luke Hochevar, but the circumstances are very different. Many questioned the Royals selecting Hochevar 1st overall in 2006, but there is no question that Crow was excellent value at the 12th pick. As an added bonus Crow is a local kid who grew up in Kansas and went to Missouri. While I still would have drafted Texas HS RHP-Shelby Miller with the pick, I’m very happy with the selection of Crow. I was very worried they were going to reach on a position player like SS-Grant Green or C-Max Stassi. Miller ended up going 19th to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For Aaron Crow’s MLB.com enhanced scouting report click here
The Royals did not have a 2nd round pick, because they signed Juan Cruz this past offseason. At the time I thought the move was an excellent one, but in hindsight I am a little disappointed they didn’t have the 60th pick. Cruz has not been anywhere close to the Juan Cruz I thought the Royals were getting when they signed him, and I was also very surprised at how the draft unfolded. If the Royals had retained the pick, instead of signing Cruz, they could have selected another local product, RHP-Garrett Gould out of Maize HS in Kansas. Gould was projected to be selected toward the end of the 1st round, but lasted until the Dodgers selected him with the 65th pick. With the 60th pick, the Arizona Diamondbacks ended up selecting University of Rhode Island RHP-Eric Smith.
With their 3rd round pick (91st overall) the Royals selected North Carolina HS C-William Myers out of Wesleyan Christian Academy. The “honks” at ESPN had the Royals selecting Myers with their 1st round pick and Baseball America had Myers tabbed as a 1st round talent. So the Royals getting him in the 3rd round is a huge coup and I fully support the selection of Myers. I was afraid the Royals were going to draft either Tony Sanchez or Max Stassi. They never had a chance at Sanchez since the Pirates selected him 4th overall, but Stassi was still available when the Royals selected Myers. In fact Max Stassi is still on the board. They will need to pay Myers well above slot value to get him to sign. However, based on their willingness in 2008 to pay 1st round money to 4th round pick Tim Melville who signed and 7th round pick Jason Esposito who didn’t sign, I have no doubt that Myers will be under contract by the end of the signing period.
For William Myers’ MLB.com enhanced scouting report click here
Click here to read Dick Kaegel’s MLB.com entry on the Royals picks
I thought the draft coverage on MLB Network was decent, but they need to make some changes. First and foremost, they need to move the draft more into prime time. I gather the early start, 5:15 CST, was planned to get through round 1 and then let fans switch over to their local team’s games or continue watching MLB Network’s nightly coverage. The easy solution is to move the draft to Monday. Then give all the teams a day off or play the scheduled games on that day in the afternoon instead of at night. This would allow MLB to show the draft in true prime time and make it more of a watchable event. I’d also like to see all of rounds 1-3 remain on TV instead of having to switch over to MLB.com to watch the supplemental through the 3rd round. MLB Network also needs to get more of a scouting presence into their coverage by having former GMs and MLB scouts on their panels to give more unfiltered assessments of the picks and players. They were too nice in their assessments last night. Every pick was either a good or excellent pick and there was no criticism present in their assessments of the players. This needs to change if the draft is going to grow into a true event. John Hart is a wonderful presence at MLB Network, but he is still tied into the MLB circle and isn’t going to criticize the moves of any of the organizations. What MLB Network needs in their draft coverage is basically a baseball version of Charles Barkley.