After Asa Lacy was gift-wrapped and dropped into their lap with the fourth pick, the KC Royals had one more selection to make on the first night.
Back in 2013 Major League Baseball developed the Competitive Balance picks in an attempt to assist small market teams like the KC Royals. MLB looks at the ten lowest revenue teams and teams from the 10 smallest markets.
"Under the 2017-21 CBA, six clubs will be awarded picks in Round A based on a formula that considers winning percentage and revenue. Those six teams will pick in Round A in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The remaining teams — estimated to be between six and eight — will pick in Round B in those years. The groups of teams, which will not change for the duration of the 2017-21 CBA, will switch picking in Round A and B in alternating years based on their initial assignment of round in 2017. –mlb.com"
For 2020 the Royals were the third team in Round A, which slotted them to pick another player with the 32nd pick. With that extra selection, Nick Loftin from Baylor was chosen. He was primarily a shortstop the last two seasons of college but did start 21 games in left field his freshman year.
Some reports even suggest that Dayton Moore would have been happy picking him fourth overall if Asa Lacy or Austin Martin were not available. That is extremely high praise and could just be lip service to build confidence, but a stunning comment nonetheless.
After batting over .300 his first two seasons, Loftin fell just short of that mark in 14 games this season, hitting .298. His slugging did improve each year jumping from .441 to .502 and finally .544. He is not a big home run hitter, but did display gap power with 34 doubles and 5 triples while with the Bears.
Loftin’s glovework was a question mark coming into 2020 after committing 24 total errors in his freshman and sophomore years leading to fielding percentages of .934 and .944 respectively. He did cut down to just one error and a .983 FLD% in the shortened spring. He is not a big stolen base threat having only swiped 11 at Baylor, which could mean he would be a bottom third of the lineup guy if he is not able to provide the pop needed for the middle of the order.
Where he fits in with the Royals remains to be seen. With young stars Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez already on the big league squad and No. 1 prospect Bobby Witt, Jr. drafted last year, the middle infield positions appear to have a log jam. If Loftin can play in the outfield, that would seem to be the way to go.
Loftin was the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year choice as voted on by coaches leading you to believe those closest to the game saw a lot of talent in him. His numbers this spring may have caused a drop in draft position, but the KC Royals are banking on him to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.