Digging a bit deeper into Royals draft history, I went through the 2005 Kansas City draft. After three plus years of professional baseball we can get an okay read on these picks now. The haul was pretty poor, but actually a bit better than I expected. Gordon was the top pick and we all know about him. There are a couple of other players from that draft who I rate at about C+ (Nicoll and Dickerson) and four more at C (Bianchi, Thibault, Penn & Kniginyzky). So I would rate the 2005 draft as below average but not horrible at this point.
Just as a note. After three years even high school players should be up to AA if they are really hot prospects. If a player is doing well at High or Low-A after three years they still have a shot at living the dream, but it is very unlikely at this point they they will ever be an impact player. Dickerson, Bianchi, Penn and Kniginyzky still might play major league baseball but more likely as roster filler types. The only player I got excited about while doing this report was Chris Nicoll.
1st Round – Alex Gordon – We all know about him.
2nd Round – Jeff Bianchi – High School Shortstop. Made it into High-A Wilmington this year. OPSing .687. He hit very well in 40 games as an Arizona Royals but struggled badly last year in Low-A Burlington (.247/.296/.315). This year he continues to swing and miss a lot but is showing some power (.414 Slugging). If he can stay at shortstop he remains a prospect. How is his work in the field?
3rd Round - Chris Nicoll – Starting Pitcher. Three year starter at Cal-Irvine. He has made it up to AA this year. He is looking good. In almost 300 innings of minor league work he has over a K per 9 and is giving up only 6.6 hits per nine. Seems like a real prospect.
Joe Dickerson – 4th Round – High school outfielder. He is up to High-A Wilmington now and having a good year (.297/.376/.442). This is a big improvement over what he did last year in Low-A so there is hope for him. He also seems to be learning how to steal bases a bit better. His first year he was 9 for 21. So far in ’08 he is 24 for 38. So he looks like a toolsy player who is developing.
Shawn Hayes – 5th round – Drafted out of Franklin Pierce University (?). He was at SS but now at 3B I think. He missed all of 2007. Injury? He is at Low-A this year and is not hitting (.232/.362/.321). He hit very poorly for two years at Idaho Falls as well.
Ryan Dipietro – 6th Round – Starting Pitcher from Eastern Connecticut State. He seems to be gone. He had a poor ’07 in Low A Burlington and is not playing this year.
Brett Fisher – 7th Round – High school pitcher. He pitched well in ’05 and ’06 at the Rookie level but was roughed up in Low-A in ’07. He seems to be on a rehab assignment now with the Arizona Royals.
Nicholas Doscher – 8th Round – High school catcher. Spent three years in Rookie ball. Finally up to Low-A this year. Has never hit.
Kiel Thibault – 9th Round – Catcher out of Gonzaga. He is up to AA now. His hitting is very inconsistent. His overall MiLB numbers (.262/.333/.384). Last year at High-A he OPSed .675 and this year he is off to a very slow start at AA.
Jeff Howell – 10th Round – Community College Catcher. He is up to High-A this year. His hitting is not impressive (.254/.321/.383).
Michael Penn – 11th Round – Starting Pitcher out of the University of Michigan. The Royals prospect in black jeans. Penn finally made it up to High-A this year and is doing okay. 4.04 ERA in 62.1 Innings. Very low BB/9 totals (1.73) but nothing else about him is impressive. A 25 year old pitcher at High-A. Unless he makes a move his time will have passed soon.
Cody Harkcom – 12 Round – Jr. College pitcher. He washed out of the organization after the 2006 season. Poor control without offsetting power.
Andrew Larsen – 13th Round – Outfielder out of Stony Brook University. He washed out of the organization after the ’07 season. Never hit.
Anton Sabatini – 14th Round – Outfielder out of Louisiana Tech. He washed out of the organization after the ’06 season. Never hit.
Brady Everett – 15th Round – Outfielder out of Clemson. Washed out of the organization after the ’07 season. Never hit.
Mario Santiago – 16th Round – Community College pitcher. He is up to High-A now and pitching ehhh. 3.94 ERA is good, K/9 rate (5.1) and H/9 rate (10.4) not so good. Still has a shot.
Miguel Vasquez – 17th round – Community College infielder. Did not sign with Royals. Was taken in the 32nd round by the Brewers last year and is still in Rookie ball.
Paul Raglione – 18th Round – High school pitcher. He has been bad. He missed ’07. Injury? He just made the jump to Low-A this year and is not off to a good start, but he seems to have hung on.
Zane Chavez – 19th Round. Did not sign. Has never played professional baseball.
Bryan Casey – 20th Round – Pitcher out of Arizona Western College (?). Pitched poorly at Idaho Falls in ’06, missed ’07, and is now pitching well in a return engagement at Idaho Falls. Maybe some hope here?
Matt Kniginyzky – 22nd round - NCAA Pitcher out of High Point. He is up to High-A and has really been pretty good in the minor leagues. This year he has a 3.74 ERA and a nice BB/K ratio in 89 Innings of work (34/72). He gives up almost exactly a hit an inning. Nice pick.
I think Kniginyzky is the only pick after the top twenty that is still in the organization.