LHP, Evan Steele, competitive balance round, pick No. 73, Chipola JC (Florida)
The path for Evan Steele to become a supplemental pick in the 2017 draft by the Kansas City Royals is a winding one to be sure. Coming out of Marietta (Georgia) High School in 2015, Steele chose to attend Vanderbilt. However, academic issues forced him out of one of the premier baseball programs in the country. He wound up at Chipola Junior College in Florida. All he did there was help lead the team to a national title, earning MVP honors along the way.
Steele measures out at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, giving him excellent size, particularly for a left-hander. Thanks in part to that, he currently ranks 22nd based on MLB.com’s rankings for the Royals farm system. Signs point to him eventually moving to the bullpen, but for now, he remains a starting pitcher. MLB.com projects Steele will reach the majors by 2020.
His 2017 season left plenty to be desired. Steele started just five games in the Arizona League. He lasted only eight combined innings and allowed 11 hits, including a pair of home runs. The most encouraging sign came from his 16 strikeouts and just two walks. To average two strikeouts per inning, even in such a small sample, shows some potential.