The KC Royals’ 2011 and 2012 drafts were supposed to go a lot better than they actually did.
Cumulative WAR: 1.7; 8 of 50 picks have reached majors.
Good news: Kansas City’s first two selections — Starling (-0.8) and Cam Gallagher (0.2) — remain with the team and have the potential to contribute some at the MLB level over the next few years. So far, Junis’ selection in the 29th round has been the Royals’ highlight. And while he never emerged as an everyday player, Royals fans will always hold a special place in their heart for 20th-round pick Terrance Gore (0.1), who stole four bases as a pinch-runner during Kansas City’s playoff runs in 2014 and 2015.
Bad news: No matter what Starling achieves from this point forward, it will be impossible to justify selecting the Gardner-Edgerton High School star over the likes of Rendon, Lindor, and Springer. It’s probably not realistic to foresee Gallagher as anything more than a backup catcher, which isn’t great value for the 65th overall pick.
Bottom line: While securing a piece for your starting rotation in the 29th round with Junis is a win, this draft will always be remembered most for the players the KC Royals didn’t select.
Cumulative WAR: 4.9; 8 of 40 picks have reached majors
Good news: Like in 2011, the Royals found some decent pitching in the later rounds. This time, Kansas City grabbed lefty Matt Strahm in the 21st round and right-hander Alec Mills in the 22nd. Righty Jake Newberry (0.5) also was good value for the 37th round. Finally past his injury problems, there remains a little bit of hope Zimmer will finally find some success.
Bad news: While it’s probably not fair to expect the Royals to predict Zimmer’s injury problems after being drafted, you can’t ignore that the team took the pitcher out of San Francisco ahead of several successful big leaguers. Strahm and Mills were good finds in the later rounds, but neither player remains in a Royals uniform. Kansas City made a pair of bad moves, dealing Strahm in a package to the Padres for Ryan Buchter, Trevor Cahill, and Brandon Mauer, and Mills to the Cubs for minor league outfielder Donnie Dewees, who is no longer in the KC Royals organization.
Bottom line: Even though the 2012 draft yielded a couple of decent MLB players, Zimmer and Newberry are the only big leaguers who are still in the organization.