Saturday, July 9, 2011

2011 Kansas City Royals Draft Review

The Royals have the deepest minor league system in recent memory, if not ever. They did nothing to move away from the pattern of drafting that allowed them to accumulate this wealth of talent.

They led the draft off with local talent, and superb athlete Bubba Starling. He is a star Quarterback and a Nebraska recruit along with being one of the best, if not the best high school player in the draft. He has the arm to pitch but he has a shot at being a 5 tool center fielder. This spring I called Starling a better version of Drew Stubbs, and I'll stick with that comparison. That's a pretty solid player. If you look at the success rates of 1st round outfielders out of high school, he has about a 2% chance of being an all-time great, 22% of being a superstar and 48% of never making it to the majors. He has some mechanical problems in his swing, but he has the athletic ability and the tools to overcome them to be a star.

Cameron Gallagher, at 6'3, 220, is a huge high school catcher that has a chance to stick at catcher. Although he is very big and physically mature, he has good defensive ability. His power is his best asset and that bodes well for him if he has to move to 1B. I think that is a likely destination and we'll just have to see how the bat fares. If he can keep his K's down and hit for the power he projects, he could be a middle of the lineup bat.

Bryan Brickhouse teamed with #2 overall pick Jameson Taillon last season, but doesn't have quite that kind of upside. He does have a good breaking ball and a low 90's fastball that can get up to 94. He is a North Carolina commit and will need a good bonus to steer away from NC. He is very athletic and could be a Jake Odorizzi kind of prospect. He won't be a top of the staff kind of guy, but could be a solid #3.

Kyle Smith is another athletic prep righty to follow Brickhouse. He's 6', 180 and has a low 90's fastball. He has more in short bursts but I think he will have to rely on control to reach his ceiling. If he grows more and adds velocity, he could be a pitcher to watch.

Patrick Leonard is currently a shortstop but will likely be a corner infielder at some point, likely a 1B. He has a long swing with an uppercut but but that causes holes in his swing. He is a Georgia commit and will likely head there without a decent sized bonus. I think he'll head to Georgia and either learn to hit good breaking balls and velocity or be drafted much later in 3 years.

Dean Espy isn't a typical 1B. He doesn't have a lot of power but he makes good contact. He will have to make it on line drives and defense.

Adrian Morales isn't a top prospect but he knows how to play the game. He is a solid defender and is an excellent 49th round pick. He isn't likely to be a prospect, but he can hit enough to hold his own in pro ball and could be an excellent organizational guy who knows how to win, with two national championships under his belt.

Kash Kalkowski hasn't played as much at Nebraska as he could have due to an arm injury, but he batted cleanup for the Huskers frequently this spring and held his own. He wasn't as good as Cody Asche, the #3 hitter in the lineup, but he played very good defense in RF and looked good at the plate. I love this pick to end their draft.

Patrick Corbett and Jakob Junis are the only late round players that I see that could be expected to receive an over-slot deal. Corbett is a 6'5 right handed pitcher that has a lot of projection left. Junis is a very athletic RHP that only sits in the upper 80's but has a nice curveball and has a nice easy delivery. He could see improvement once hr just focuses on pitching as well as just focusing on baseball instead of basketball as well.

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