As we get closer to the 2020 MLB Draft, one site has the KC Royals going with a second baseman that boasts an MLB-caliber bat.
We are merely weeks away from the (abbreviated and virtual) 2020 MLB Draft. On June 10 and June 11, teams will choose players for just five rounds, providing them with opportunities to sign undrafted players for $20,000 each later on. The KC Royals hold the fourth overall pick this year, and Dayton Moore could go several different routes there.
Moore, with fewer picks to work with, is under a bit more pressure to hit on all of his selections. It all starts at the top, where there’s tons of talent from both the high school and collegiate levels. Asa Lacy, Nick Gonzales, Emerson Hancock and others have all been talked about as potential options for the Royals at pick No. 4. At the end of April, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo had the franchise picking Hancock as a future piece in the starting rotation. This time around, he’s changed his mind.
Mayo’s updated mock draft projects Gonzales will join the KC Royals organization next month. The New Mexico State second baseman has been a popular name around Royals circles and is without a doubt one of the top players available in the draft. Here’s what Mayo had to say about why he slotted Gonzales to KC:
"“The Royals could add to their impressive stable of arms by taking Georgia’s Emerson Hancock here, but there’s been talk of them looking at high school outfielder Zac Veen and Gonzales here. This week, I’m going with them taking the more advanced bat in Gonzales, who could reach Kansas City and join those pitchers quickly.”"
Gonzales is a former Cape Cod Baseball League MVP, hitting .351 with seven home runs in 42 games last summer. He was putting together arguably the best season in the country before sports fell off the face of the earth this year, posting a .448/.610/1.155 line with 12 home runs in 16 games. Yes, you read that right: 12 home runs in 16 games. Gonzales hit .432 and went yard 16 times with New Mexico State in 2019, so the track record is there to believe he’s as good as advertised.
Some scouts believe Gonzales could transition to shortstop, but his lack of elite athleticism and arm strength will likely limit him to being a second baseman in the MLB. He’s a high-floor player, although it remains to be seen what his true ceiling is. Standing just 5-foot-10, he won’t hit the cover off the ball at the next level. Some of his home runs may very well turn into doubles. With that said, his bat is almost MLB-ready and if he can handle the jump in competition, he should accelerate through the minor league system quickly.
The infield picture for the KC Royals is a bit murky in regards to the next few years, but it’s not a bad thing. There’s just a lot of talent competing for a finite amount of spots around the diamond. The bats may be what separates these youngsters from one another, and Gonzales is arguably the most complete hitter in the 2020 MLB Draft.