The Royals have made some kind of statement here. The Royals just completed one of the most college-heavy drafts in baseball history. It sounds like hyperbole, but it isn't.
The composition of their 50 picks is as follows:
- 37 players from the college ranks
- 4 from community colleges
- 9 from high school
That's a fairly astounding breakdown.
The chatter around the Royals going college-heavy started pretty early yesterday (like, by round 4) and it just continued and continued and continued in that fashion. Simply put, the Royals have done nothing close to this in the Dayton Moore Era. In 2007, the Royals took 23 college players, a figure that dropped to just 14 in 2008. In 2009, they again took just 23 players from the collegiate ranks.
People sometimes discuss the final years of the Baird regime as being dominated by low-upside "safe" college draft picks, but in fact the numbers don't quite bear this out. Here are figures for the college players drafted between 2003-2006: 15, 18, 19, 14.
Of course, there's a huge difference between a 37th round pick and a 2nd round pick, and to fully account for drafting trends, we'd need to employ some complex weighting system. I'm not going to do that in this case, because in this case it's really not necessary: the Royals just drafted an insane amount of college players. This is, moreover, one of the most college-heavy classes I have ever seen. In fact, it is the highest number I've seen since the draft went to 50 rounds. As a percentage of college players taken, 2010's 64% ranks right up there with anything the Moneyball-era A's ever did.
So again, we turn to the question of what this all means. Are the Royals looking to change the composition of their farm system? Did they just not like the HS crop this year? Were many of these college players guys they've now had a chance to scout for years? Money? A market adjustment? We likely won't get a real answer for years, so back to speculation I guess.