Every MLB organization attempts to sign a majority of its draft picks but they achieve very different levels of success in those attempts. If you are reading this you are probably a Royals fan, or a KoK fan (i.e. a member of my circle of friends and family), and are therefore probably aware of the Royals 2009 draft. However, since I typically strive to keep things in perspective, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the Royals did, when it comes to signing their draft picks in comparison to the other MLB teams. Naturally, this topic does not address the quality of talent signed or future ML returns on investment, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
Speaking of pointing things out, I want to shift gears for just a moment.
These are busy days in the “fish pond” and those of you who are frequent/loyal readers have probably noticed that my posts have generally been shorter than normal over the last two weeks or so. Around the end of August I was assigned a huge project at work that also came with a very agressive deadline. Sadly that project has cut into my baseball writing time, since my non-baseball related job is the one that pays the “big bucks.” Thus far I have managed to juggle both things relatively well, but as my deadline approaches you will probably notice a decline in the frequency, length, and substance of my posts. After October 1st comes and goes things should normalize once again. I can’t wait for October 2nd to come. Right now, I have too many ideas for articles in my head, and not enough time to write even a third of them.
To add to the fun, last night the co-ed KC Hamfighters had the dreaded 9:30 pm start time for our softball game. That left me about 1 hour and 15 minutes from the time my wife and I got our boys to bed to the time that I had to leave for the game. Needless to say, it wasn’t enough time for me to write and post my article for the day. Oh, in case you care, the Hamfighters lost 12-5 as the heavy fog rolled in. We are now 2-4 on the season.
With all that out of the way, let’s get back to the 2009 draft, unsigned picks, and some other financial draft-related points worth noting.
Below you will find the number of unsigned picks in parenthesis, as well as the round, position, and name of the highest unsigned pick for each of the organizations. I also noted whether the unsigned player played in high school (HS), college (C), community college (CC), or junior college (JC) prior to being drafted. I gathered my numbers from the September 7-20 issue of Baseball America, and I humbly apologize in advance if I miscounted on any of the below.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (18): 25th round, SS-Taylor Wrenn (CC)
- Atlanta Braves (25): 6th round, RHP-Ryan Woolley (C)
- Baltimore Orioles (21): 8th round, OF-Devin Harris (C)
- Boston Red Sox (24): 6th round, RHP-Branden Kline (HS)
- Chicago Cubs (22): 13th round, SS-Chad Taylor (HS)
- Chicago White Sox (12): 3rd round, LHP-Brayan Morgado (C)
- Cincinnati Reds (18): 13th round, RHP-Nick Christiani (C)
- Cleveland Indians (22): 21st round, OF-Jeff Rowland (C)
- Colorado Rockies (12): 29th round, OF-Corey Dickerson (CC)
- Detroit Tigers (25): 8th round, RHP-Craig Fritsch (C)
- Florida Marlins (15): 13th round, RHP-Tyler Curtis (JC)
- Houston Astros (16): 12th round, RHP-Geoff Thomas (HS)
- Kansas City Royals (17*): 24th round, RHP-Zach Jones (HS)* … Both are based on the assumption that the team signs 1st round pick, RHP-Aaron Crow, at some point
- Los Angeles Angels (21): 3rd round, LHP-Josh Spence (C)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (20): 11th round, 1B-Connor Powers (C)
- Milwaukee Brewers (21): 21st round, SS-Brian Vigo-Suarez (HS)
- Minnesota Twins (29): 10th round, OF-Blake Dean (C)
- New York Mets (14): 5th round, RHP-Damien Magnifico (HS)
- New York Yankees (22): 10th round, LHP-Tyler Lyons (C)
- Oakland Athletics (20): 10th round, RHP-Sam Dyson (C)
- Philadelphia Phillies (15): 14th round, OF-Jake Stewart (HS)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (28): 14th round, RHP-Marcos Reyna (JC)
- San Diego Padres (12): 11th round, RHP-Drew Madrigal (JC)
- San Francisco Giants (15): 18th round, OF-Jonathan Walsh (HS)
- Seattle Mariners (17): 14th round, 3B-Adam Nelubowich (HS)
- St. Louis Cardinals (6): 16th round, LHP-Daniel Bibona (C)
- Tampa Bay Rays (18): 1st round, 2B-LeVon Washington (HS) … Also failed to sign 2nd round pick, SS-Kenny Diekroeger (HS)
- Texas Rangers (26): 1st round, LHP-Matt Purke (HS) … Supplemental pick, RHP-Tanner Scheppers, remains unsigned but the team has until a week before next year’s draft to sign him
- Toronto Blue Jays (18): Supplemental pick, LHP-James Paxton (C) … Also failed to sign 2nd round pick, LHP-Jake Eliopoulos, and 3rd round pick, RHP-Jake Barrett
- Washington Nationals (21): 5th round, LHP-Miguel Pena (HS)
The Cardinals led the league by signing all but 6 of their selections. The White Sox, Rockies, and Padres get honorable mention for signing all but 12 of their picks. On the other end of the spectrum, the Twins were the worst of the league by failing to sign 29 of their 2009 picks. The Pirates (28), Rangers (26), Tigers (25), and Braves (25) joined the Twins at the back of the pack. By signing all but 17 of their picks, again assuming they eventually sign Crow, the Royals are tied for 10th out of 30 franchises.
In terms of bonus money spent in 2009, on the top 10 rounds, the Royals have commited $4.1 million which ranks them 18th out of 30 teams. If they sign Aaron Crow and give him a bonus of between $3 and $4 million they will shoot up to somewhere between 9th and 6th on the list.
There is no doubt that Dayton Moore and his staff are trying to turn this organization around. If you don’t want to take my word for it, consider that the $6 million bonus they gave last year’s 1st round pick, 1B-Eric Hosmer was in the ballpark of the bonus money they paid out for the first 10 rounds of the 2007 ($6.6 million), 2006 ($6.7 million), 2005 ($6.0 million), or 2004 ($5.8 million) draft classes. Including Hosmer’s bonus, the Royals set a draft record by spending $11.148 million last year. Thanks to Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals have since broken that record by spending $11.194 million on the 1st 10 rounds of their 2009 class.
If not for the curious decisions being made at the ML level, we could all be legitimately excited about the future of this franchise. Here’s hoping Dayton has a busy and productive offseason, and better ML seasons are on the horizon.