MLB Draft: 4 hitters the KC Royals should consider

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The short draft season kicked off early for the KC Royals Monday when they pulled off a rare draft pick trade. Regular picks can’t be dealt, but Competitive Balance picks can, and the Royals just happened to have one. Kansas City traded it to Atlanta for three minor league prospects.

Had the club kept that selection—the 35th overall pick—it would have had three picks on the draft’s first day (more on that momentarily). Instead of holding out to see what talent is available at Pick 35, Kansas City traded the selection for prospects closer to reaching the majors.

Even with the deal, plenty of draft action awaits the Royals. The 20-round affair kicks off Sunday with Rounds 1 and 2, and KC will pick 20 players before it winds up Tuesday.

Which picks will the KC Royals have on Day 1 of the upcoming draft?

The Royals will pick twice on Day 1. They have the ninth choice in the first round and the 49th overall selection, which will be in the second round.  Their bonus pool—that amount they can spend on signings without incurring penalties—comes in at $9,466,200 this year.

The slot value for the ninth overall pick is $5.2 million and Pick 49 carries a $1.58 million value. Will the Royals look to land under slot value in the first round like they did last season with first-rounder Frank Mozzicato? Or will they simply draft the best overall player as they did when they drafted Bobby Witt Jr. second overall in 2019?

Either strategy might pay off, but expect the Royals to take the best player available in the first round as pressure mounts for them to be more competitive. And that player should be one of four good hitters.