To their immense credit, the KC Royals continued to add possible contributors even in the late rounds of 2017.
Holden Capps was chosen by the KC Royals with the 240th overall pick in 2017. He has pitched 168 innings and struck out 169 batters. His walks per 9 are well under 3. He has given up almost no homeruns. He will already be 25 this season and only has 12 innings of AA ball under his belt. But he has the makings of a possible bullpen piece.
J.C. Cloney was chosen thirty picks after Capps. He does not have overwhelming stuff. But he throws strikes and gets guys out. He has made it through 101 innings of AA ball without giving up the longballs or issuing walks. And he works the zone enough to strike out more than 7 per 9 innings.
The KC Royals chose Marlin Willis in the 18th round of the 2017 draft out of high school in Georgia. He has now thrown more than 109 innings of rookie ball. Each season his strikeout totals have risen. He still walks too many but he has multiple pitches that may develop as big-league plus pitches and he is not even 22 years old yet.
Travis Jones was around until the 29th round in 2017. I would like to see Jones continue to walk a little more and strike out a little less. But this is a young utility player that has hit the ball and hit the ball hard at every level. He is going to be 24 this season so it is time to see what he can do in AA. But, I really like his chances. And, I absolutely love what he has shown as the 29th round pick.
The 2017 draft was far from perfect. But, it is a perfect example of how you may miss on some of your top picks but can still put together a very nice draft. Tillo and Zuber are going to be big league pitchers, at some point. I believe Steele will, as well. If a Capps or a Cloney also makes it to the bigs, that is some good work filling out a bullpen with draft picks. And, if a Hicklen or Gigliotti actually becomes a big-league contributor, this becomes a very good draft.
It is early enough that most questions about the 2017 draft cannot yet be answered. It is fair, though, to give the KC Royals credit for their mid and late-round picks. Even if guys like Travis Jones and Marlin Willis become nothing but AAA pieces, those were good draft picks. And if Charlie Neuweiler can fulfill his potential or one of either Pratto or Melendez can turn it around and begin hitting again, this could quickly become an excellent draft overall.