Recently, Kings of Kauffman has profiled several of the top available High School and College prospects that will be selected in the first round of Monday’s MLB Draft. With the Royals picking fifth overall, then not again until the second round (after the supplemental round), they are sure to only have one crack at the guys we have spent time looking at.
I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the local talent that Royals have to choose from.
In past years, the Royals have not shyed away from picking up local talent. Rookie, and newly minted closer Aaron Crow was born in Topeka, KS and went to the University of Missouri. Alex Gordon grew up in Lincoln, NE and was a star at Nebraska. The Royals 74th overall pick in the 1981 draft was a kid from Kansas City named David Cone.
Players from the midwest face an uphill battle when it comes to being drafted into such a summer sport. Typically, when you look at a Major League Roster, you see guys from states along our southern border and the Caribbean. High School or College players in the midwest or northern states have to battle the cold weather and rain half of the year, and are forced to build their skills indoors. Then, when it’s time to play outside, they face a condensed schedule – a lot of games in a short period of time. That can sometimes lead to arm fatigue in pitchers and an overall lack of interest or commitment.
I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s a lot more difficult than living in South Miami and being able to play baseball outdoors 365 days a year. I’m looking at you Eric Hosmer.
If you start in the local college ranks, which would be a more likely choice for the Royals, we first look to the Big XII conference. Perhaps the biggest no-brainer choice for local talent would be the son of the current hitting coach and former Royals infielder Kevin Seitzer.
Cameron Seitzer – 6’4″ 225 lbs – 1B – Junior – University of Oklahoma
Seitzer is a big, left-handed hitting, smooth fielding first baseman who the Royals are no doubt familiar with. Cam has hit over .300 all three years at OU, putting up a .363 average with 41 RBI this season. He’s projected to go sometime in the top 10 rounds, so the Royals could have several cracks at him. It’s easy to imagine father and son being reunited in blue.
James Allen – 6’0″ 197 lbs – RHP – Junior – Kansas State University
With the Royals recent bullpen woes, they might want to take a look down I-70 to the K-State Wildcat closer. Allen is one of the top closers in the country, appearing in 29 games this year for the Cats and nailing down 17 saves (2nd most in NCAA). He also holds a 1.35 ERA and opponents are hitting just .179 against him.
Other Big XII prospects:
Jason King – 6’0″ 213 lbs – INF – Junior – Kansas State University
Jimmy Waters – 6’0″ 200 lbs – OF – Senior – University of Kansas
Jonah Schmidt – 6’3″ 213 lbs – OF/DH Senior – University of Missouri
So what about some local High School talent?
In Missouri, one High School player stands out above the rest. This speedy, scrappy player has been named as one of the top 10 High School draft prospects in the country (Bubba Starling was #5).
Johnny Eierman – 2B/OF – 6’1″ 195 lbs – Warsaw High School, Warsaw, MO
Warsaw is about two hours Southeast of Kauffman Stadium, so if he has any regional loyalties, he’s a Royals fan and not a Cardinals fan. Although he’s committed to attend LSU in the fall, a call from the Royals and a nice signing bonus might be enough to change his mind. The scouting report on Eierman is that he’s a solid defensive player (more likely as an outfielder) with outstanding speed (6.41 60 yard dash). At the plate, the righty possesses raw power, but has some work to do to become more consistent.
The path to the big leagues would be a longer one for a player like Eierman, but Dayton Moore said recently that the sooner they could get a player into their system, the better. Eierman could go to LSU & be coached there for the next 3-4 years or go directly into a minor league system and be coached directly to the Royals style of play.
In Kansas, Bubba Starling is obviously everybody’s object of desire, but this year’s Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year is a dual threat prospect.
Connor Knight – 5’10″ 180 lbs – RHP – Maize High School, Maize, KS
Maize is located just outside of Wichita, KS and the Wichita State Shockers have signed Connor Knight to play for them starting in the fall. Knight let the Maize baseball team to a perfect 25-0 record and the Kansas 6A State Championship this past spring. As for Knight, he hit .529 with 32 RBI and was also 5-0 with a 2.24 ERA. He is a bit undersized, so time at a big-time baseball school like WSU could definitely move him up a draft board in three years.
OK, now I feel like I’ve covered just about everything. Who’s ready for Monday?