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Checking in on the Royals Top Ten Draft Picks in 2010

With the 2011 MLB Draft freshly completed, I thought it would be nice to quickly go back to what transpired in 2010. The Royals caught many observers flat footed in 2010 with a college heavy draft, a trend that died stillborn this season, when they went high school heavy at the top of the draft. Even a year out, it's nearly impossible to evaluate the 2010 draft. Clearly, there haven't been any huge success stories yet, though many felt Jason Adam was about to emerge as one a few months ago. A number of the Royals top picks simply haven't played much yet, while a disturbing number have, while disappointing a little. Although criticism of the greatest farm system will nary be heard amongst the baseball commentariat, the 2010 haul continues to look strange.

First Round - Christian Colon (SS): Colon wasn't a signability pick and certainly doesn't look like a bust already, yet he didn't excite many fans on draft day either. This looks more like the Crow draft pick than say, Hosmer or Moustakas. Colon draws rave reviews for his makeup, attitude, leadership and general gamesmanship at SS (as opposed to his range). Colon hit OK, not great, at Wilmington in 60 games last season, and he's continued that level of performance this season at AA. On the last BP podcast I ever listened to, Goldstein raved about his positioning and general awesomeness. In 246 PAs Colon has hit .256/.333/.332. A .665 OPS for a college player in a hitter's park is mildly troubling. If Escobar sticks at SS, the plan appears to be shifting Colon to 2B. (Or possibly this is the plan either way.) His path to the Majors is presumably a quick one, but in his first year overall as a professional, Colon hasn't been impressive.

Second Round- Brett Eibner (OF): Eibner was a fascinating pick, a two-way college player that some wanted as a pitcher, others as an OF. In that respect, although he was a little bit older, he still offered some intriguing upside as a semi-project player. Eibner basically hasn't played, but he's fresh off the DL and in the lineup at Kane County.

Third Round - Mike Antonio (SS): Antonio has been totally off the radar. He hit well in Arizona last fall, but... yea... the Arizona rookie league tends to have that happen. Antonio is currently in extended Spring Training. A HS SS out of a cold weather state, everything about Antonio, including his slow start in terms of being on teams, screams "check back in in five years." Schaum's writeup is a good reference on Antonio, though it is not terribly positive. He's a lottery ticket.

Fourth Round - Kevin Chapman (LHP): Another curious pick. A college closer taken out of the U of Florida, Chapman was a quick sign. Chapman has Tommy John surgery in 2008, which made him a surprise selection last year. College closers have been an on again, off again draft fad that are not universally loved by analysts. However, Chapman's numbers in the low minors have been impressive, and he's raced up to AA-NWA quickly. His K/9 thus far is 13.3. He's probably an even money bet to make his debut for the Royals sometime late this year, though he hasn't been perfect in the minors.


Fifth Round- Jason Adam (RHP): The high school arm out of Overland Park, Kansas, was a fully-fledged hyped Royals prospect by the end of Spring Training. Baseball America bumped him all the way to #11 on the team's prospect list, most notably. (For a collection of Adam rankings, click here.) Just about everyone else had him in the 20s. He's basically the prototypical "oh my God this guy is awesome" young pitcher who is going to post tremendous minor league numbers at least until AA. For all the Spring Training buzz, Adam's numbers have been good, not great at low-A: 8.2 K/9, 3 BB/9, a fair amount of hits allowed, a non-awesome ERA. The 19 year old may have simply missed his turn to look unhittable as a Chukar.

Sixth Round- Scott Alexander (LHP) : A college pitcher out of Pepperdine/Sonoma State, Alexander had a rough 2010 upon signing. Alexander made 11 starts at Idaho Falls, posting a 5.73 ERA on the back of a generally mediocre profile. From that point on, Alexander really drops out of the internet, to the extent that I'm guessing he must be injured. His extremely anodyne and generic name makes mere web browsing difficult, even when keywords are added it.

Seventh Round - Eric Cantrell (RHP): The Royals, seemingly, have developed a weird pipeline of Washington DC area college draft picks in the Dayton Moore era, although that may be simply because these unexpected picks are more noticeable to me, because that is where I live and Moore's George Mason ties. I don't know. Cantrell, a RHP out of George Washington, was one of the highest Colonials ever drafted. Cantrell pitched two innings with the Chukars last season, and like Alexander, hasn't been heard from since. According to Sickels, his stuff is "mediocre."

Eighth Round- Michael Mariot (RHP): A Cornhusker, I have now decided to nickname Mariot, "the honeymoon suite" although I will forget this by noon tomorrow. Mariot did well as a Chukar in 2010, and is currently a proud Blue Rock. He's started in the minors, but it looks like he's now closing. His strikeout numbers have taken a disturbing hit, but overall he's so far so good, in a limited upside kind of way.

Ninth Round- Whit Merrifield (OF): Our winner for the most suburban southern sounding name so far! At both Idaho Falls and Wilmington, Merrifield has hit like the tweener he appears to be, hitting .267/.340/.380 overall. He's walking, but he's also striking out with alarming frequency. This may explain why he's seen some action at 2B while in Delaware. Should baseball not work out, he's well positioned to sell real estate and or insurance in exurban Charlotte, Birmingham, or Atlanta without a hitch. In all seriousness, Merrifield profiles like a minor leaguer who will always be competent and may become an internet/minor league hound favorite in three years or so.

Tenth Round- Tim Ferguson (OF): A speedy OF/UTIL player out of Ole Miss, Ferguson is a low-tools baseball player who seems similar to Merrifield, a college outfielder who played in a tough conference. Schaum liked him as a pick, for what that's worth. Ferguson played well as a Chukar, but has ran into the wall since. His OPS at Burlington to finish last season (admittedly just 33 PAs) was .445. This year, as a Blue Rock, his triple slash is .195/.281/.318 to begin the year. Oh well, a tough time in Delaware and Frawley Stadium has been had by many. He's not a witch, he's you.