Draft Stuff: What kind of player can the Royals expect at #12?

Here we are three weeks before the draft.  The talent is beginning to come into focus.  We still haven't heard anything from the Royals camp about who they are interested in.  I don't expect them to drop names but they normally telegraph whether they are looking pitching or hitting.

What kind of player can the Royals expect drafting 12th overall?  Below is a list of the players drafted in slots #12-16 to give us an idea of what kind of talent is available. 

2000 1 12 FrRnd 12 WhiteSox Joe Borchard OF

2000 1 13 FrRnd 13 Cardinals Shaun Boyd OF  

2000 1 14 FrRnd 14 Orioles Beau Hale RHP 

2000 1 15 FrRnd 15 Phillies Chase Utley 2B

2000 1 16 FrRnd 16 Mets via Mariners *Billy Traber LHP

2001 1 12 FrRnd 12 Brewers Mike Jones RHP  

2001 1 13 FrRnd 13 Angels Casey Kotchman 1B

2001 1 14 FrRnd 14 Padres Jake Gautreau 3B  

2001 1 15 FrRnd 15 Blue Jays Gabe Gross OF

2001 1 16 FrRnd 16 WhiteSox via Marlins *Kris Honel RHP

2002 1 12 FrRnd 12 Angels Joe Saunders LHP

2002 1 13 FrRnd 13 Padres Khalil Greene SS

2002 1 14 FrRnd 14 Blue Jays Russ Adams SS

2002 1 15 FrRnd 15 Mets Scott Kazmir LHP

2002 1 16 FrRnd 16 Athletics via RedSox *Nick Swisher 1B

2003 1 12 FrRnd 12 Mets Lastings Milledge OF

2003 1 13 FrRnd 13 Blue Jays Aaron Hill SS

2003 1 14 FrRnd 14 Reds Ryan Wagner RHP

2003 1 15 FrRnd 15 WhiteSox Brian N. Anderson OF

2003 1 16 Marlins Jeffrey Allison RHP

2004 1 12 FrRnd 12 Angels Jered Weaver RHP

2004 1 13 FrRnd 13 Nationals Bill Bray LHP

2004 1 14 FrRnd 14 Royals Billy Butler 3B

2004 1 15 FrRnd 15 D'backs Stephen Drew SS

2004 1 16 FrRnd 16 Blue Jays David Purcey LHP

2005 1 12 FrRnd 12 Reds Jay Bruce OF

2005 1 13 FrRnd 13 Orioles Brandon Snyder C

2005 1 14 FrRnd 14 Indians Trevor Crowe OF

2005 1 15 FrRnd 15 WhiteSox Lance Broadway RHP

2005 1 16 FrRnd 16 Marlins Christopher Volstad RHP

2006 1 12 FrRnd 12 Rangers Kasey Kiker LHP

2006 1 13 FrRnd 13 Cubs Tyler Colvin OF

2006 1 14 FrRnd 14 Blue Jays Travis Snider OF

2006 1 15 FrRnd 15 Nationals Christopher Marrero OF

2006 1 16 FrRnd 16 Brewers Jeremy Jeffress RHP

2007 1 12 FrRnd 12 Marlins Matt Dominguez 3B 

2007 1 13 FrRnd 13 Indians Beau Mills 1B

2007 1 14 FrRnd 14 Braves Jason Heyward OF

2007 1 15 FrRnd 15 Reds Devin Mesoraco C

2007 1 16 FrRnd 16 Blue Jays via Rangers *Kevin Ahrens 3B

2008 1 12 FrRnd 12 Athletics Jemile Weeks 2B

2008 1 13 FrRnd 13 Cardinals Brett Wallace 1B

2008 1 14 FrRnd 14 Twins Aaron Hicks OF

2008 1 15 FrRnd 15 Dodgers Ethan Martin RHP

2008 1 16 FrRnd 16 Brewers Brett Lawrie 3B

What players do you find in these slots: 

The Masher:  this slot has been a good place to find bats:  Utley, Butler, Drew, Bruce, Snider, Dominguez, Heyward, Wallace, Lawrie all look to be somewhere between good and great bats.  The problem is that this draft is exceptionally weak when it comes to bats. 

The Slider:  it is around this slot that occasionally a guy slides to that was expected to be a top 5 pick.  Jason Heyward slid to the Braves and is one of the best prospects in baseball.  Last year, many of us wanted Justin Smoak and he slid to #11 and is tearing up AA.  Lastings Milledge was expected to go higher in 2003.  The Marlins thought they had a steal in 2003 with Jeff Allison-until drug addiction ruined his career. 

The Riser:  We also see players who fly up draft boards at the end:  Brett Lawrie last year.  Devin Mesoraco the year before.  Tyler Colvin to the Cubs in 2006 and perhaps Butler fits the category for us back in 04.  Butler and Lawrie look like good picks but Mesoraco and Colvin have not done well.

One last thing: not many of the pitchers have distinguished themselves.  Chris Volstad looks like he will be pretty good and David Purcey still has some potential.  Ethan Martin and Jeremy Jeffress are still good to decent prospects.  Perhaps the most successful pitchers so far are a couple of Angels: Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders. 

Rankings:

Almost every year, there is a very good player/prospect drafted between #12-16.  After Strasburg and Ackley and a handful of college pichers-I wouldn't be shocked to see any other player available.  Grant Green could be that player that drops...but we'll see (and there are still some question marks with him). 

My draft board at this point:

  1. Stephen Strasburg
  2. Dustin Ackley
  3. Tyler Matzek
  4. Kyle Gibson
  5. Aaron Crow
  6. Alex White
  7. Grant Green
  8. Mike Leake
  9. Shelby Miller
  10. Matt Purke
  11. Donovan Tate
  12. Tanner Scheppers
  13. Zack Wheeler
  14. Jacob Turner

I feel fairly confident that our draft pick is somewhere on the list above.  The biggest mover is Grant Green dropping.  He's had a good but not great junior season and there have been questions about his defense.  All that together with his ‘advisor' (Boras) could cause him to drop.  SS is definitely a place where the Royals could use some prospects.  If he's available (still a bit of a longshot) and the Royals believe he can stat at SS, he would help at a position of need in the Royals system-he's hit well with wood bats (Cape Cod Summer League).

I know many like Mike Leake (I do too) but he is pitching so well he may not be available when we pick.  If you want the Royals to draft him, you might be rooting for him to have some bad outings in the next 3 weeks. 

 I continue to like the HS pitching in this draft.  I've seen Matzek, Miller, Purke, Wheeler, and Turner ranked all over the place-some folks have Matzek first, some have Turner-and just about everything in between.  I don't think Matzek falls to us, so I would pick between Miller and Purke. 

And there are still the wildcards of Crow/Scheppers.  I remember reading that Crow is a big Royals fan and would love to play for us-for whatever that is worth.  Mechanics gurus are worried about Crows delivery.  Also there are some questions if he will end up in the bullpen-but I think he might be flying a little under the radar.  But I trust whoever Dayton Moore and crew wants when it comes to pitching.

Prediction:

I'm torn between Miller and Purke.  Purke is left handed-which is a plus.  He's got big upside, has the "fiery/competitive" label that the Royals love.  But there are questions about his delivery and he throws a slider and the Royals prefer pitchers with a curve (Miller throws a curve).  Since I think I predicted Miller a month ago, I'll say Matt Purke.  His upside is a little bit higher than Millers but the risk is also a little bit higher.  

PS--it is looking like the Grudz will not sign before the draft, so no draft pick compensation for him.  That's not good but it hurts less because the Royals can play the system and they will either take some players who drop because of signability or invest in the international market.

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