The Kansas City Royals are in the middle of a heated race this year. If this series goes the way we all hope, the Royals can actually win the biggest prize.
The Kansas City Royals are in a heated race right now? Yes, they are. And it is with the Baltimore Orioles. And yes, it’s for the worst season of the 2018 year to get the No. 1 pick.
Let’s not sugarcoat this. The Orioles and Royals have been awful all year. Whether it be a collapse of the bullpen, lack of offense, or starting rotation not being able to go deep into games. Both teams have been bad.
As it currently stands, the Royals are projected to lose 111 games this year, which the original record was 106 games back in 2005. Somehow though, 111 loses could equal the No. 2 pick due to the Orioles being projected to lose 114 games.
Unless the Royals and or Orioles go through a dramatic winning streak in September, these two teams are secure in the No. 1 and No. 2 picks.
Which leads to the question. Does it really matter when it comes to having the No. 1 pick verse the No. 2 pick?
In the eyes of some scouts and execs, yes.
While it may not have as much of a significant meaning for the Orioles whether they have the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick, for the Royals it does.
The reason is due to the top end talent. The 2019 Draft is considered to be significantly weaker than the 2018 Draft due to the pitching talent and college/high school talent overall. However, the Royals are lucky in the fact that in a weak draft, there are some players who are thought to be “generational type” players.
Which is where the Royals are impacted. One player is high school shortstop, Bobby Witt Jr. If you haven’t looked up anything or heard of him, do yourself a favor and go watch. Witt is considered to be the best shortstop prospect in the country, high school and college, with plus-plus speed and great power.
**If you have The Athletic, I highly recommend looking at Rustin Dodd’s piece.**
The other player that is considered to be a potential No. 1 overall pick is Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. Many execs are very high on the College World Series-winning catcher and believe that the Orioles could take him No. 1 if they have the pick.
So why does this matter for the Royals?
This matters because the Royals don’t need a catcher. As it stands, the Royals have 19-year-old catcher MJ Melendez who recently set the record for most home runs by a teenager in a single season.
While he is only hitting .252/.321/.500 he is showing tremendous growth at the plate and is phenomenal behind the plate defensively.
Therefore, it doesn’t seem that the Royals really need another catcher within the system. Yes, having a fallback would be nice, but if Melendez continues to develop like he has, the only thing to do is move one to another position, which would be hard to do because of current depth, or trade one. Neither seems all that enticing for a Top-2 pick.
Which leave us with Witt. Although he plays shortstop, the Royals could do what other teams have done in the past and move him one position over. Moving Witt to third base would eliminate nearly every question of “who is the future at the position?”
Whether you put Whit Merrifield, or temporary placement players like Hunter Dozier, Ryan O’Hearn, or Frank Schwindel, maybe even projected front-runner Nick Pratto at first base in the future, the infield could have solid pop, speed, and defensive prowess.
So the real question that comes to mind is whether or not the Royals can get Witt at No. 2 or if the only way to get him would be drafting No. 1 overall.
Dodd hinted at the fact that many execs are still up in the air about whether Witt or Rutschman are the better players. The Orioles don’t have a catcher within their system, making Rutschman the more interesting pick for him.
Which is another reason why this series with the Orioles is so interesting. We are about to watch two of the worst teams in baseball fight it out for the No. 1 pick after watching these two teams fight it out in the ALCS just four years ago.
As painful as it might be to watch, it might be worth your time. So here is to hoping for a sweep and the No. 1 overall pick!
What do you think about the whole situation?