The amateur draft, in any sport, is an inexact science. There may be players that are felt to have a better chance at producing in the majors than others, but no one can guarantee that any prospect will reach his potential. After all, if scouts truly knew what players could be, Mike Piazza never would have lasted until the 62nd round. There would not be such draft busts as Steve Chilcott or a scenario where Tim Beckham is drafted ahead of Buster Posey. Even all the scouting possible cannot be correct every time – it is just not possible.
That is what makes the later rounds of the draft that much more important. Being able to find a player that can make an impact upon the future of the franchise later in the draft is of utmost importance. That may be what the Royals were able to do with Andrew Edwards.
Edwards was a 19th round selection by the Royals in the 2013 Amateur Draft out of Western Kentucky University, a 6’5″ 260 lb right handed pitcher who was the Hilltoppers top starter during the 2013 season. Upon being drafted, the Royals converted him to relief, and the early returns appear to be promising.
In 23.1 innings split across two levels, Edwards put together a 1.16 ERA with nine saves. Although his walk rate was high for the Burlington Royals, as Edwards walked eleven batters in 17.1 innings, he improved upon that number with his time in Wilmington. Edwards also did not strike out as many batters as one would think with his size, striking out seventeen in those 23.1 innings of work.
Yet, the low strikeout rates may not matter. The opposition just could not hit Edwards, with only thirteen hits against, with only two doubles for the only extra base hits Where Edwards truly excelled was in generating ground balls, as 60.3% of all balls in play ended up as a grounder against Edwards.
Is Andrew Edwards going to be a superstar? It seems highly unlikely. Even if he can cut down on the walk rate, he just does not seem to miss enough bats to be able to be a dominant late inning option. However, there is always a place in a major league bullpen for a reliever that can generate ground ball after ground ball.
If Andrew Edwards continues to develop, he could end up with a spot in the Royals bullpen in the next few years. Getting someone that could be a viable major league option in the 19th round? That is a solid job by the scouting department.