The Astros once again held the #1 pick for 2013 and went for Stanford pitcher Mark Appel. The Chicago Cubs held the #2 slot and selected Kris Bryant. The 2013 draft was a strange one for Kansas City. They held the #8 pick and selected Stephen F. Austin infielder Hunter Dozier, who was a star in college. They passed on Austin Meadows, Tim Anderson, Aaron Judge, and Corey Knebel to take Dozier. Later in the first, Kansas City selected pitcher Sean Manaea with pick #34.
Cody Bellinger was the mid-round steal, going to the Dodgers in the 4th. Jeff McNeil went to the Mets in the 12th. Eleven of the Royals forty-one picks have made the majors, including Ryan McBroom, their 36th Cheap Kansas City Royals Jerseys round selection, who did not sign. The Royals later acquired him from the Yankees. Other selections were Kevin McCarthy (16th), Frank Schwindel (18th) and Glenn Sparkman (20th). Two of the Royals picks in this draft, Manaea and Cody Reed (2nd/46) were later swapped to Oakland (Manaea and Aaron Brooks for Ben Zobrist) and Cincinnati (Reed, Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb for Johnny Cueto). Cueto and Zobrist were instrumental in helping secure the Royals World Series title in 2015, so there’s that.
The Royals were finding some players, just not any who would make a big impact. This draft has produced 10.7 WAR with 8.8 of that coming from Manaea.
For the third year in a row, Houston held the #1 pick and in the 2014 draft used it on Brady Aiken, a high school pitcher from San Diego. Kansas City held the 17th pick and selected TCU pitcher Brandon Finnegan. The best first-round selection was Matt Chapman, who went to Oakland with pick #25. Jack Flaherty went to the Cardinals with pick #34 and has shown flashes of becoming a solid pitcher. Kansas City also held pick #28 and selected pitcher Foster Griffin, who is no longer in the organization.
Eight of their forty-two picks have made the majors, including Scott Blewett (2nd), Eric Skoglund (3rd), and Ryan O’Hearn (8th). The Royals’ best late-round selection was pitcher Tim Hill in the 32nd. Hill is now with the Padres, who are something of Kansas City Royals West, what with all the ex-Royals they have.
Kansas City’s biggest mid-round miss would have been pitcher John Means, who played high school ball at nearby Gardner-Edgerton High School, the same school that produced Bubba Starling. Means made the American League All-Star team in 2019. Baltimore got him in the 11th round. In the 37th round the Detroit Tigers selected Whitehouse Texas high school pitcher Patrick Mahomes. Fortunately, Mahomes elected to play football.
Other than missing on Chapman and Means, it’s hard to say what the Royals could have done differently in this draft, which was light on impact players. The draft has produced -.1 WAR for the Royals.
The Arizona Diamondbacks held the #1 pick in the 2015 draft and used it on Dansby Swanson. Houston had the second and fifth picks in the first round, with the second being compensation for failing to sign Brady Aiken the year before. The Astros did well by selecting Alex Bregman at #2. The Royals had the 21st pick and selected Indiana high school pitcher Ashe Russell. Russell was Indiana’s Gatorade High School player of the year but ran into personal issues and was not ready to make the leap to professional baseball. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019 and remains part of the Royals organization.
Three picks later, the Dodgers selected Vanderbilt pitcher Walker Buehler, who looks like he’s going to be a star. The Royals had a second first-round pick at #33 and plucked another pitcher out of the Indiana high school waters, Nolan Watson. Watson was last seen marooned at Wilmington, no closer to the big leagues than the day he left Lawrence North High School.
Kansas City Royals v Cincinnati Reds
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Aside from five or six players early in the first round, this draft has been one of the weaker in recent memory. The Royals scored a huge hit with their second-round selection, fireballer Josh Staumont. Nick Dini, a scrappy catcher selected in the 14th round is their only other player to appear in a big-league game. Unless Russell grows into the maturity needed to be a professional athlete, Staumont will be the only one of the Royals’ 41 picks to make an impact. Brandon Lowe and Harrison Bader were both excellent 3rd round picks. The Cardinals scored again with Paul DeJong in the 4th. Jake Cronenworth was a nice 7th round pick by Tampa. Nick Madrigal was a solid find in the 17th by the Indians, but they were unable to sign him. The highlight of draft analysis for me is seeing players like Daniel Zamora, picked in the 40th round, pick #1207, eight picks from the end of the draft, make it to the bigs. Zamora has appeared in 33 games in his young career with the Mets. Well done Mr. Zamora.
Grade: D (could end higher depending on Staumont’s career)
The Philadelphia Phillies held the #1 pick in the 2016 draft and selected California high school outfielder Mickey Moniak, who made his debut in 2020 as a 22-year-old. Kansas City did not have a first-round selection due to signing free agent Ian Kennedy. With their first pick, #67 of the 2nd round, they selected Pepperdine pitcher A.J. Puckett. Puckett was part of a trade package to division rival Chicago White Sox to bring Melky Cabrera back to Kansas City for 58 games in 2017. What a waste that was. Now the draft analysis is becoming more difficult. The Royals took Khalil Lee in the 3rd, and he could still develop into something. Nicky Lopez was their 5th round choice and we’ve possibly seen his upside. Richard Lovelady was a 10th round choice and one of my personal favorites, Nick Heath, was selected in the 16th. Four of their thirty-nine picks have made the majors with Lopez being the WAR leader at this point.
There were a few early ascenders: Pete Alonso to the Mets with the 64th pick in the 2nd round. Shane Bieber went to the Indians in the 4th. Cavan Biggio went to the Blue Jays in the 5th. Tony Gonsolin is looking like a decent pick for the Dodgers in the 9th. Zach Plesac was another Cleveland find in the 12th.