MLB Draft 2021: What KC Royals fans need to know

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

With the MLB amateur draft just days away, what should KC Royals fans know?

Major League Baseball’s draft, the game’s annual talent fest where all 30 teams, including the KC Royals, take aim at the best amateur ballplayers in the county, and only the team holding the first pick doesn’t hope against hope that the players it covets most won’t be gone when they go on the clock, is close at hand.

While the event’s format hasn’t changed, this year’s version will be longer than last season’s, but far shorter than drafts of the past. Here are some key draft basics.

When and where is the 2021 draft, and how can KC Royals fans follow it?

One major change in the draft process is timing—usually held in June, this year’s event coincides with the several-day All-Star extravaganza and begins this Sunday, two days before the American and National Leagues meet in the All-Star Game. It lasts three days and concludes Tuesday.

The first round, carried live on television by MLB Network and ESPN, starts at 7 p.m. ET Sunday. Only the first round occurs that evening, with subsequent rounds starting at 1 p.m. ET Monday and Noon ET Tuesday. Days 2 and 3 will be streamed on

The draft will be headquartered in Denver, the home of the Colorado Rockies and Coors Field, which are the hosts and site of the 2021 All-Star contest.

How many rounds will this year’s Major League Baseball draft last?

Traditionally, the draft encompassed 40 rounds, an appropriate length considering the sheer number of minor league teams each big league organization had. Baseball held only five rounds last year, a drastic reduction and one of many adjustments the game made during the pandemic.

The draft won’t return to 40 rounds this year and, owing to minor league contraction, probably never will. There will be 20 rounds instead.

Which first round selection do the KC Royals have in the 2021 MLB draft?

How teams fared in the previous season determines each year’s draft sequence, but in inverse order. That means the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had baseball’s worst 2020 record, have the first overall pick.

Kansas City has the seventh overall selection after the Pirates, Texas, Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, and Arizona.

There is an oddity to this draft, though. As penalties for its cheating scandal, Houston has no first or second round picks. The Astros must wait to choose until the third round when they get the 87th overall pick.

Who will the KC Royals select with their first round pick this year?

That’s the question every KC fan wants answered, but there’s no way to identify the pick until it’s made. By now, the club’s draft brain trust certainly knows who it wants to choose first, but whether that player is available when it’s the Royals’ turn depends entirely on who the six teams ahead of them pick.

A good guess might be Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt’s star righthanded starting pitcher who seems to pop up regularly in draft discussions and as Kansas City’s first round choice in many of the mock drafts populating the Internet and traditional media.

Because the 2021 draft is 20 rounds long, do the KC Royals have 20 picks?

Actually, Kansas City has 21 selections this year. That’s because the club gets a pick—the 66th overall—in Competitive Balance Round B, which is held between draft Rounds 2 and 3. Franchises eligible for Competitive Balance selections—generally those rated as being among the 10 smallest markets or clubs among those with the 10 smallest revenues—get either a Competitive Balance Round A (between the first and second rounds) or B pick.

Besides their first round and Competitive Balance picks, the Royals have the 43rd, 78th, and 108th overall selections (second, third, and fourth rounds, respectively), and then have the seventh choice in each of Rounds 5-20.

Will Kings of Kauffman have any coverage of the MLB draft?

Yes, and it will be pretty timely. We’ve already been at it, with previous stories about an outfielder the Royals need to strongly consider, a Kansas State pitcher who merits Kansas City’s attention, a Vanderbilt pitcher who ranks highly (see link above), and a position KC really doesn’t need to draft for.

And we’ll have more between now and Sunday’s first round.

Look for us Sunday night, too—we’ll have coverage focusing on the Royals’ first pick and a look at what the second round might bring to the club. And Kings of Kauffman plans same-day coverage Monday and Tuesday.

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Kansas City has the seventh pick in the annual MLB draft. Who they’ll choose in the first and subsequent rounds will be interesting to see.