Royals Finish Draft By Stocking Up on Pitching
Dayton Moore calls pitching the currency of baseball and the team stood behind that by selecting 24 (out of 40 picks) of them over three days of the MLB amateur draft.
At the top of the list is Kyle Zimmer, their first round pick out of San Francisco. The 20-year-old is said to be fairly close to coming to a deal with the Royals on a signing bonus and could be assigned to a minor league affiliate soon, according to Bob Dutton.
The Royals have already signed a few picks from day two: Colin Rodgers, Fred Ford, Alfredo Escalana-Maldonado, Parker Morin and Dylan Sons. Three of those came out of the Royals top ten picks so their bonus amounts will count towards the draft pool allotment established by Major League Baseball.
Here’s the breakdown of the Royals 40 selections:
- Left-handed pitchers: 10
- Right-handed pitchers: 14
- Catchers: 3
- First basemen: 2
- Second basemen: 1
- Shortstops: 1 (though Kenny Diekroeger is likely to move to second base rather than stay at shortstop)
- Third basemen: 0
- Outfielders: 9
- High school players: 17
- College/Junior College: 23
- College seniors: 2
I specify the college seniors because a trend started to develop yesterday where many teams were taking college seniors (who don’t have as much leverage in bonus negotiations) earlier than some prospects who were projected to go higher as a way to manipulate some of the bonuses handed out. The Royals didn’t get on that train, it seems, though they did lean college-heavy overall.
One particular selection is interesting in what it symbolizes. Austin Fairchild was the 16th round pick by the Royals. He’s a left-hander out of St. Thomas High School in Texas and stands six feet tall and weighs about 170 pounds. What’s so special about that? Fairchild is a long-toss pitcher, meaning a large part of his training in the offseason and between starts involves playing catch at distances up to 300 feet. Many training programs established by teams limit that distance to 120 feet or so. In the past, the Royals have been resistant to these types of programs despite drafting adherents like Mike Montgomery and John Lamb.
With the hiring of Rick Knapp as their minor league pitching coordinator and the drafting of Fairchild, it seems that the Royals are opening up to the idea of utilizing long-toss as part of their development or at the very least, embracing the idea that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to pitching development. (You can hear more about such long-toss programs in our interview with Alan Jaeger of Jaeger Sports on the Royalman Report.)
Now that the draft is over, it’s time to sign the picks. The Royals have five out of the way now, and with an earlier deadline than in years past, they’re working quickly on locking up Zimmer and the rest. The sooner they get a signature, the sooner these players can be assigned to minor league teams or start work in Surprise at the Royals training facility.
All picks from the 2012 draft are tracked on MLB.com and can be filtered by team.
The Royals also picked Hayden Edwards, a 6’7″ right-handed pitcher out of Blue Valley High School in Stillwell, Kansas (31st round) and Ashton Goudeau a 6’6″ righty from Maple Woods Community College (27th round).