For 30 major league teams, including the KC Royals, draft analysis is a complicated, often inexact science based on tool ratings, statistics, spin, pop and barrel rates, launch angles, a myriad of other metrics, in-person and video scouting, background investigations, interviews, and gut instinct.
Some things, though, don’t figure into the equation. Names are one. No club makes draft decisions based even in small part on player names, which serve only to identify, track, and distinguish one prospect from another.
But if names did matter, the Royals may have hit the jackpot in Tuesday’s 15th round of the 2021 draft. And if there was such a thing as the “Top Name Pick,” it likely came when Kansas City used its 15th round choice, and the 439th overall selection, on a promising outfielder from Dallas Baptist University.
Yes, River Town, owner of perhaps the most eye-catching name in the draft. Unlike Joey Gallo and Joey Votto, or Kyle Seager and Corey Seager, no one will confuse River Town with any other player, at least not by name.
There is much more than a catchy name, however, to River Town.
Just what kind of ballplayer is the KC Royals’ 15th-round draft selection?
Town, 22, played his first season this year for Dallas Baptist University after putting in two campaigns at Louisiana State-Eunice. His .326/.436/.519 slash proves he can hit, and he displayed decent power and production with 10 home runs and 51 RBIs in 59 games. Town also stole 20 bases.
Town, who hits lefthanded, is also appropriately selective at the plate—he struck out 12.46% and walked 11.39 % of the time this season. And the two errors he made suggest his glove is good.
The 5-feet-11, 181-pound Town was also an offensive force at LSU-Eunice, slashing .339/.535/.624 with nine homers in 55 games as a freshman, then .508/.663/.869 with four home runs and 28 RBIs in 20 games before the pandemic ended the 2020 season.
Town, then, should offer the KC Royals a good bat and a decent glove.
Oh, and by the way, it looks like Kansas City may have already signed Town.
River Town has an unforgettable name. Hopefully, he’ll be an unforgettable Royal.