The Major League draft does not get the kind of attention as the NFL of NBA draft for a few reasons. Baseball gets its talent from high school and college baseball, which do not get anywhere near the attention that college football and college basketball receive. So the players being drafted are relatively anonymous to all but the most diehard draft fiends. While NBA and NFL draft picks make an immediate impact, in baseball, even the best draft picks will usually head to the minor leagues for a few seasons, to be forgotten by the average fan until they make their debut.
That being said, the draft is vital to teams, particularly small-market teams like the Royals. The draft provides a cheap pipeline of talent to build a team around. The draft is where the Royals find future stars that will one day star in Kauffman Stadium, such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon. The draft takes place this week over a three-day period, so here is what you need to know about the Royals and the MLB draft.
When is the MLB draft?
The 2016 Major League June amateur draft takes place Thursday, June 9 at 6 p.m. CT, with an hour-long preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com. Teams will select players for rounds 1-2 that night, with rounds 3-10 to be selected Friday, June 10 at noon CT, and the draft concluding with rounds 11-40 on Saturday, June 11 at 11 a.m. CT. All rounds will be shown on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com.
Players are eligible to be taken if they reside in the United States (including Puerto Rico) or Canada, and are either (a) high school graduates who have not yet attended college; (b) junior college players; or (c) college players who have completed their third year or are at least 21 years old.
When do the Royals pick?
The Royals won't have a first-round pick because they signed free agent Ian Kennedy. Teams that sign free agents that have rejected a Qualifying Offer must forfeit their first-round pick (unless it is one of the first ten picks). Teams that lose a free agent that rejected a Qualifying Offer will receive a compensatory sandwich pick after the end of the first-round. Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto did not qualify as such free agents because they did not spend the entire year with the Royals.
The draft order is in the reverse-order of the standings with the Philadelphia Phillies choosing first. The entire draft order for the first two rounds is here. The Royals will not make a selection until the second round, with the 67th pick.
Can they trade for a pick?
Kind of. Competitive balance picks are the only draft picks that can be traded. They are picks awarded to lower-revenue clubs on a lottery basis after the first and second round. The Royals received competitive balance picks in each of the first two years it was implemented, using it to pick Sean Manaea in 2013 and Chase Vallot in 2014, but did not receive a pick in 2015 or 2016.
Teams have occasionally packaged competitive balance picks in deals. The Baltimore Orioles recently packaged their competitive balance pick this year, the 76th pick, along with pitcher Brian Matusz to Miami in exchange for two minor leaguers, in order to dump Matusz's salary. When a pick is traded, the draft pool amount is traded with it.
Wait, what is the draft pool?
To limit the rising price of draft bonuses, Major League Baseball implemented a draft pool system in 2012. Each draft position is assigned a bonus slot. The sum of each team's bonus slots in the first ten rounds is their draft pool. They can apportion the pool money however they see fit to their picks, but if they exceed the amount, they will be subject to a luxury tax. If they exceed the pool by 15%, they will forfeit their next two first-round picks.
Because of their low position in the draft, and the fact they do not have a first-round pick, the Royals have just $3.225 million available for the first ten rounds of the draft. Complete draft pools for all 30 teams are available here. After the first ten rounds, draftees can be offered no more than $100,000 or else the overage is applied to the draft pool. If a team fails to sign a draft pick, they lose that bonus slot from their draft pool.
Who are some players that might be available at #67?
Good question! Our Shaun Newkirk has come up with some names that might be around at #67. The Royals may be looking for someone who might fall due to bonus demands, or someone with some flaws to his game that they think they can iron out. Shaun also lays out some possible draft strategies here.
Scott Chasen of kcroyals.com suggested the Royals will look to replenish their pitching talent and could eye Vanderbilt pitcher Ben Bowden. The Kansas City area is also loaded with talent, although players like Riley Pint and Joey Wentz will be gone by the time the Royals pick.
What do these ridiculous buzzwords people use to describe prospects mean?
The MLB draft, like its counterpart in other sports, is filled with scout-speak buzzwords. If a kid has a "projectable frame", it means he is tall and skinny and they are hoping he hits the weight room rather than the dinner table. If a pitcher has a "feel for pitching", that means when he throws the ball he actually knows a bit about what will happens next. If a hitter has good "twitch", that means he has quickness to his swing and drinks a lot of coffee. A player with a "plus-plus" tool means that player is good at the tool, and also good at that tool.
A "five-tool" players is a player who can hit for contact, hit for power, run, field, and throw, and also remembers to buy his mother flowers on her birthday. Scouts may rave about a guy being a "baseball player", which means he plays the game of baseball. Scouts also use a 20-80 scale to rate players. Why 20-80? Why not?
Who will be drafting for the Royals?
General Manager Dayton Moore will oversee things, but the draft is typically run by Director of Scouting Lonnie Goldberg with the input of several front office executives, scouts, and advisers. Former Royals second baseman Chris Getz and legendary Royals scout Art Stewart will represent the Royals at the Major League Draft in Seacaucus, New Jersey.
You can also read about prospects with complete coverage of the MLB draft from SB Nation.