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Will the Royals Go College-Heavy Again at the 2011 Draft?

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Last summer, just as the fortunes of the Royal farm system were beginning to turn, the Royals embarked on an extremely college-heavy draft. At the time, I labelled it one of the most college-centric drafts of all-time, which may have been a tad hyperbolic, but was nevertheless accurate broadly. Out of 50 players taken, the Royals selected 37 college players, four JUCO draftees, and nine high schoolers. Stunning.

As lame as it sounds, I can still remember the afternoon I wrote about the 2010 draft. I consider the Royals a bizarre organization at times, but their madness is often predictable in its own way. Or so it seems. If anyone saw the Royals turning into the 2000 Athletics at last year's draft, they sure didn't speak up about it.

Was it part of a larger plan? Was it merely a coincidence? Was the draft last year simply lacking good high school talent? I'm not sure we have an answer. To be sure, the Royals aren't saying anything. These are just the guys they took, blah blah blah.

This year however, such a move, if it happens, won't be a surprise. The "wave theory" (if you want to call it that) of building and managing a farm system isn't universally loved, but it has it's adherents. And according to that approach, the Royals now need to start drafting more college players, to help the Major League team in 2012-14. Was that what the 2010 draft was about? Take the longer-developing HS players early in your rebuild, the college guys later. More than a few draftniks think this is what the Royals will do this year.

Which means, of course, that the Royals will probably flip things about and draft 85% high school kids.