It's May 27th and we are a little more than a week away from Christmas Day. Well, Christmas Day for me anyways. Except it is the Christmas Day where you don't get to open your presents until 6:05 PM that night. On June 5th after about 10 o'clock or so we'll know who the next four fresh faces that are going to be injected into the Royals farm system bloodline.
This isn't a mock draft. That comes later... Instead I propose a sort of "dream draft." A draft that, in my opinion, would be the best possible picks for the Royals at their respected slots. Before we get too far, we need to establish some ground rules. There needs to be a sort of realism to this. I'd love to have Brady Aiken at pick number 17, but that ain't happening. Secondly, slot bonuses need to be taken into account. The Royals can't take Jacob Bukauskas and Jeff Hoffman.
I'm going to try to base my selection off of players that I think will still be around at picks 17, 28, 40, and 56. My Royals mock draft will probably go to pick 92, but for this one I'm just going to do the four picks in rounds one and two.
I've seen a lot of names mocked here. Kodi Medieros, Brad Zimmer, Jeff Hoffman, Tyler Bede, Derek Fisher to name a few.
I don't think Brad Zimmer or Bede lasts until the 17th pick and I don't think the Royals target Hoffman either. Fisher is a legit pick here. Kyle Schwarber and Sean Newcomb are too even though I think Newcomb goes earlier.
My first choice here would be Casey Gillaspie, the powerful switch hitting first baseman out of Wichita State. He's got plus power and a plus hit tool. If he played any other fielding position he'd be a Top-10 pick, but his first base only profile and below average base running make him a mid-round selection and one I'm very happy to make here. Gillaspie has been very impressive during this collegiate season and paced the Cape Cod League in homers last summer. He is the younger brother of Connor who currently plays for the White Sox.
Why do I love this guy? A couple reasons and let me get this one out of the way first: his speed/position. I'm a big fan of defense, but I think at the end of the day you want offense first. It could just be our American culture that wants to see a player slug 50 home runs in a season rather than have a 20 DRS. If a guy can hit, and I think Gillaspie can, then I'm willing to plug him in at DH/1B (see Dan Vogelbach).
Second: Gillaspie doesn't just swing and slug and he's not a guy who sells out for power. Gillaspie is one of the NCAA leaders in walks and OBP. Power guys are always going to likely have some swing and miss in their game, but Gillapsie has the discipline to minimize that.
Third: His swing. Easy and fluid. Switch hitter but seems to be more comfortable from the left side. There's little noise there and his bat speed is very good.
If we're looking for a possible replacement to Billy Butler then a pretty polished Casey Gillaspie could be it.
The Royals have been highly linked to Kodi Medeiros, but I'm okay with passing on him in this draft. Some see him as a reliever and he's certainly a partial project still needing some projection and growth as he's a high schooler. Monte Harrison would be interesting here as well, but scouts seem divided and weary about him. I like Michael Kopech here as well perhaps.
One name I want to avoid is Jacob Gatewood and this would be a prime spot for the Royals to do it. Gatewood is a project 100%. The light pole power at a premium position like short stop is obviously substantially intriguing, but the massive lack of contact and discipline has been on display in spades this spring. Give me Michael Gettys , Ti'Quan Forbes, or Monte Harrison here over Gatewood. I don't buy into the "Royals have a lot of picks so it won't hurt if they miss one/they can take a chance here." No. I'll take someone with a little higher floor here and perhaps sacrifice ceiling than go with the epitome of boom or bust Gatewood.
My pick here would be Forrest Wall. Like I mentioned in my open thoughts thread, I love Forrest Wall, and I'd even consider taking Wall at #17 and swapping his spot with Gillaspie here. I'm not sure if Wall falls this far, but I'm sure Gillaspie wouldn't.
Many teams are afraid of high school second baseman and only five have ever been taken in the first round. Does the comp round count as first round? Regardless, I'd take Wall here and not even think twice about it.
His biggest flaw is his weak arm which has been exacerbated by his injury. He'll never be able to man short stop, but I'm just fine having a guy with a 60 grade hit tool, 50-55 grade power, and plus speed at the keystone position.
I think perhaps Wall would need to be paid over slot a bit at this pick because he's committed to an elite program in North Carolina, but Gillaspie will sign at #17 and the Royals have the 5th most bonus pool money to play with for the first ten picks. I don't think Wall would turn down $1.8-2M to go to college for three years.
Below is Wall recognizing a pitch down in the zone almost immediately, reacting, and hitting it down and away for a double.
And here is a home run of Wall's.
This should be no surprise to you all if you follow me on Twitter or have read my previous pieces on the draft.
The speed, the power, the arm strength, the body...It's the one and only Michael Gettys. If you want to go high risk high reward then Gettys is the guy to do it.
He stepped onto the major prospect scene by throwing 100 MPH from the outfield during a Perfect Game event. Scouts have always been in love with his power and speed combo. Gettys could be a 65-70 grade power candidate at the major league level due to his great bat speed and size with 70 grade speed.
His main problem is his plate discipline and contact. He's a very aggressive hitter and at times his swing looks a little jerky/un-smooth. He starts his load and begins to transfer his weight then will toe tap and stop the transfer, hold, then swing. I'm not a scout by any means, but the pause seems to interrupt his timing and could be causing the jerked motion.
Gettys has worked on his mechanics over the year and he'll have to likely continue to tweak them in his professional career.
Here's Gettys from the 2013 PG All-American Classic that was shown on MLB Network
There you can see him waiting back on a curve-ball, and then barreling the pitch to the opposite field. What's the outcome of that hit? A single?
Naw. With his speed he turns a ball hit in front of the center fielder into a double.
Like I said he's very aggressive, but a team wanting to take a gamble could do it with Gettys. He's a Georgia commit and could be a tough sign which would require the Royals to conserve some money in the later of the 10 rounds, but the #40 overall slot is still $1,420,800.
Another guy you can find me on Twitter hawking is Lawrence High School prep right hander Bryce Montes De Oca and he's a guy I think the Royals could take as a money saver. If the Royals wanted to target Bryce then they'd need to grab him here, because come their next pick at #92 he'll likely be gone.
Montes De Oca is a big bodied guy who's undergone Tommy John Surgery already (that's good right?). The slot value at #56 is $1,003,200 and it would have to be enough to buy Bryce out of his Mizzou commitment (yes, he's a Lawrence native who's committed to Mizzou). He'd likely go between the 60-80 range picks.
In his first stint back from Tommy John Bryce was consistently clocking in at 97 MPH with his fastball, but more recently Montes De Oca sits between 93-95. The fastball has heavy sink to it and he has a potential above average curve-ball that needs refinement. He's a very physical presence on the mound with his size and power stuff.
He'll need to watch his weight and control his pitches, but I think worse case here is that he is a power reliever.
I think all of these guys are excellent picks for their slots and would give the Royals two legit bats (Gillaspie/Wall), a high upside project (Gettys), and a power righty (Montes De Oca).
I'll have my actual mock draft out soon.