MLB Draft 2020: KOK staff makes predictions for pick No. 4

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 10: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during the 2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings on December 10, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 10: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during the 2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings on December 10, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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As the 2020 MLB Draft approaches, the Kings of Kauffman staff makes its predictions for who the KC Royals will take with pick No. 4.

Almost there! The 2020 MLB Draft’s first round begins tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST (6:00 Kauffman Stadium Time). The KC Royals hold the fourth overall pick this year, which leaves them with plenty of options to choose from. We have breakdowns on Nick Gonzales, Zac Veen, Emerson Hancock, Asa Lacy and Max Meyer ready to go. Before the draft starts, the staff here at Kings of Kauffman has put together its predictions for who Kansas City will take.

Jordan Foote predicts the Royals will go with Gonzales:

To be clear, the player on the top of my wishlist is Meyer. His ability to simply blow his fastball by hitters and then follow it up with a lethal slider is second to none (or close to it). The inexperience is a minor concern and his frame doesn’t make for a prototypical MLB starter, but the potential with that pick would be sky-high. It’s a fun selection but then again, the KC Royals don’t have the best history with potential-based picks. No further comment needed.

Lacy would be nice if he slid outside the top three, but I doubt that happens. Gonzales is my prediction. His ability to defend and run the bases is merely average, but he may be the best pure hitter in this year’s class. If not, he’s in the top two or three. How he fits into the club’s future plans position-wise is worth questioning, but teams simply find ways to make room for bats like Gonzales’.

His power potential is likely getting overhyped at this point and he doesn’t have superstar potential, but Gonzales is one of the safest picks the Royals could make. If they want to ensure they get a productive player that should tear through the minors quickly, he’s the guy to go with.

To read more of Jordan’s work before the MLB Draft, click here.

Mike Gillespie hopes the KC Royals follow through on his earlier plan:

Although grabbing the “best athlete available” is popular, KC needs to take a long look at its short-to-medium term needs. The club needs starters but Brady Singer and his crew are close to being ready; an outfielder or two wouldn’t hurt, but some young guns are close there, too. I wrote a story last week suggesting the Royals should consider selecting a catcher in the first round –Salvador Perez is getting to the point where he needs more time off and isn’t going to play forever, and KC’s best minor league catcher, MJ Melendez, had a troubling 2019.

I highlighted North Carolina State’s Patrick Bailey in my story and believe he’s the guy the Royals should take their first-round chances on. He’s a switch-hitter with power, has an excellent steal-killing arm, blocks well and calls his own game (which is pretty rare in the college game). I know Nick Gonzales tops a lot of lists, but KC isn’t in urgent need of another infielder considering it won’t take long for Bobby Witt Jr. to get to Kauffman Stadium and Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez are already there. So Bailey would be my pick. But I’d say the Royals will go with Gonzales instead.

To read more of Mike’s recent content before the MLB Draft, click here.

Shawn Bauman sends an impressive college bat to the KC Royals:

The Royals need outfield help in the very near future.  They also have a tendency to draft guys below the slot and then can pay them less of a signing bonus than allocated for that pick.  Therefore, my choice is Heston Kjerstad of the University of Arkansas. I also do not think that Kansas City is reaching in selecting him either.

I wrote an article about potential KC Royals draft crushes recently and go into more detail about Kjerstad.  To summarize, he helped Arkansas reach back-to-back College World Series’, broke the Razorbacks freshman home run record, hit another 17 his sophomore year, and was off to video game stats for 2020 before the season was shut down.

Emerson Hancock and Nick Gonzales are tempting picks but a wealth of arms will soon debut in Kansas City. Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez set in the infield, plus Bobby Witt, Jr. is primed to take over middle infield if either of them falters. I would prefer to have a big college bat that dominated the SEC and can fill in at right field, which is sorely needed. Zac Veen would be a great player to slowly develop, but a left-hander with pop that could reach majors in a short time should be what vaults Kjerstad above him.

To read more of Shawn’s recent content before the MLB Draft, click here.

Tyler Dierking, like Jordan, is also on the Gonzales bandwagon:

If I had to pick who the Royals go with at No. 4 (assuming Spencer Torkelson, Austin Martin, and Asa Lacy are gone), my choice would still be Nick Gonzales. While Zac Veen has made the choice more difficult with the amount of hype and information coming out (who wouldn’t want the next Cody Bellinger), and the thought of having Max Meyer join the pitching wave is just as enticing, I’m still holding firm on my original pick.

Gonzales ended people reservations about his offensive success in the Cape Cod League in 2019, hitting .351/.451/.630 over 42 games and winning MVP honors. He followed that up with an impressive start to the 2020 season where he won National Player of the Year honors after hitting .448/.610/1.155 over 16 games. The individual accolades, paired with being one of the best, if not the best, college hitters in this draft, makes it hard to pass on him.

He’s put together a career .384/.487/.713 slash between 173 college and summer league games, and we’ve watched as his power continues to develop each year. While he won’t hit 30-plus home runs a year, he will be a doubles machine, with 15-20 home runs a year-type player. Pairing that with the speed the Royals have on offense is a perfect recipe. Defensively, he played shortstop and second base, but second base might be the position he has the most success with.

However, with Nicky Lopez manning second, Gonzales might find himself in right field instead. Gonzales fits perfectly when it comes to the type of player the Royals like and with the amount of success he’s had since his freshman year, it’s hard to imagine him not rising through the Royals’ system quickly. More importantly, keeping pace with the 2018 pitchers too, providing a massive wave of talent coming to Kansas City sooner, rather than later.

To read more of Tyler’s work before the MLB Draft, click here.

David Scharff is on board with drafting Hancock:

Spencer Torkelson would likely be my dream pick, as the Royals need some added depth at first base, but with the likeness of him being off the board in the first three picks, I have to go with Emerson Hancock. Hancock is everything the Royals need and don’t need all in one. He has the potential to be a quality front-of-the-rotation starter, with plenty of secondary pitches that all rate high. The Royals also have a crop of young arms coming up through the system and are ready to burst onto the scene in Kansas City.

Picking Hancock could easily fall into the category of picking the best available player, which is common, but my thought for him is different. The Royals have seen success in their college arms so far, and it’s easy to think they would be hungry for more. Quality pitching is something that has hindered the Royals for years. If they have a chance to add more arms to a system with the possibility of producing quality pitching for years to come, it would be a good idea. On the other hand, with a large pool of quality pitchers in the minors, if the Royals would need to find a position player to contend down the road, young promising pitching arms go a long way in trade talks.

To read more of David’s work before the MLB Draft, click here.

Next. Royals draft primer: Everything you need to know. dark

Be sure to follow along with Kings of Kauffman on Twitter (@KingsOfKauffman) all night for all of your KC Royals-related needs. Who do you have the Royals taking this evening? Let us know in the comments below.