The draft is on Monday and this is a loaded class. The Royals have done pretty well in the draft the past few years (my only complaint would be that they should be actively trying to figure out how to get compensation picks). After taking a couple of high upside HS bats in 07 (Moose) and 08 (Hos) the Royals have taken a college arm in 09 (Crow--who actually sat out a year after not signing with the Nats) and a college bat in 10 (Colon). The rumors are all over the place: college arm has been repeated over and over but so has Lindor and Bubba.
Of course, in the baseball draft, Best Player Available is always the way to go. It is just really hard to compare Bubba Starling with a guy like Danny Hultzen. They are at such different places developmentally. Which one is the best player? That is up for debate--but if you think that you are a starting pitcher away from competing in 2013 then it makes sense to lean towards the college arm. I think of Bubba and Hultzen within the same tier--however I think teams get in trouble reaching for a player outside of the tier--say a Matt Barnes--who is a good prospect but I think there are clearly better options available at #5.
Here is my draft board at this point:
1. Anthony Rendon
2. Dylan Bundy
Has everything you look for in a pitching prospect: Stuff, command, control, smarts, dedication, clean delivery. There is a small chance he is available to us at 5. For that to happen, we would probably need it to go:
PIT--Hultzen, SEA--Rendon, ARI--Bauer, BAL--Cole
3. Gerrit Cole
Hasn't pitched well down the stretch but the stuff is still great. Another guy that I think there is a small chance makes it to us. Basically look at the Bundy scenario and flip Cole and Dylan.
4. Danny Hultzen
Advanced college lefty who has shot up draft boards this spring. Outside of Rendon, this is the guy I think least likely to be there when we pick at 5--He could go #1, #3 or perhaps an outside shot at #4.
5. Bubba Starling
Ever heard of this guy? HS athlete extraordinaire. Widely considered to have the highest ceiling in the draft. Either we have no interest or it is a great smokescreen. Could go as high as #2 to Seattle or slip to #9 for the Cubs.
6. Trevor Bauer
It will be fascinating to watch this guy' career. I think he's a very good prospect but I have some concerns with his fly ball tendencies. For better or worse, don't think the Royals will draft him.
7. Archie Bradley
Was ranked higher than Bundy to start the year, Bradley was inconsistent to start the year but came on strong at the end. Has hit 100mph with a very good curve and a developing change. Has a traditional pitchers build and shows good command/control. The potential is huge with this kid. Right now, I think this kid is our pick. I think the top 4 will be gone and we'll take Bradley--and I'd be happy with that.
8. Francisco Lindor
HS SS who should stick at the position. According to some he has an advanced bat with power potential. Others aren't so sure. There are rumors that the Royals are all over this kid--I remain skeptical. Also rumors that Seattle is eyeing him at #2. The draft could get funky if the Pirates take Rendon because it sounds like Seattle would like a bat.
9. Jed Bradley
LHP from Georgia Tech. Think this guy is a little underrated. Good stuff, good command, keeps the ball on the ground. Has faded some down the stretch but I still like him.
10. Matt Barnes
Another guy the Royals are reportedly looking at. I like him better than Jungmann or Gray. He has a lot of potential but isn't quite as advanced as the guys ahead of him. If the Royals take him, I'll be disappointed but not crushed. He's a good prospect.
There are my top 10. I have the first three in a tier and then a gap, followed by #4-7 and then #8-10 are bunched up with about 4 or 5 other players. I showed you mine, now you show me yours.