Last year if you recall, the Royals were without their first-round pick due to signing Ian Kennedy, who had declined a Qualifying Offer from the Padres. The Royals hadn’t been without a first-round pick since 1990 when they lost it for signing Mark Davis. So this past June their first pick came at 67th overall, which they used to draft Pepperdine right-handed pitcher A.J. Puckett, one of their latest first picks in franchise history.
This upcoming June though the Royals will be unencumbered by any forfeitures and with pick #14 they will have their highest first round pick since 8th overall in 2014. Kansas City will also receive a competitive balance lottery pick - the fifth pick in supplemental round B - that is given to small market clubs. This year the method of choosing which teams get competitive balance lottery picks has changed, where it isn’t just market size/revenue that matters, but winning percentage is now a factor. Also the round a team “competes” in for the lottery (supplemental round A - after the first round - and supplemental round B - after the second round) will flip every draft. This means Kansas City will be in contention for a round A pick next December when the lottery is held.
Now that all the draft slots are locked in as all Qualifying Offer free agents have found landing spots, bonus pools and slot values have been released. Baseball assigns a bonus value for each draft slot. A team is allowed to offer bonuses totaling no more than all their slot values combined for the first ten rounds. So they can go over the recommended slot value for one pick, but to do so, they must go under the recommended slot value for another pick. If the team fails to sign a pick, they lose that draft slot value.
Draft Slot Values.csv
The Royals overall draft pool is slightly more than $8 million overall, giving them the 15th largest pool of the draft. The Royals will have a smaller pool than Toronto (#22 and #28) and Houston (picks #15, #53, and #56), despite picking after them due to those teams having extra picks.
This year’s pool represents a big increase in allotted bonuses for the Royals compared to last year, where they had just $3.225 million to spend.
For reference, their 14th overall slot (#3,727,600) is $502K more than their ENTIRE 2016 draft pool allowance— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) April 9, 2017
Last year I suggested the Royals should take a “scorched earth” approach, and just throw as much money as they could early on and not really care about any picks after the third round. They were a little more democratic in their pool spending than my suggestion, spending $1.2 million on A.J. Puckett, and six figure bonuses on nine of their top ten picks.
This year though they can take a normal draft approach. They don’t have gobs of money (like Houston did a few years back) but they will have enough that grabbing a top player should be feasible. Their draft pick slot is also decent, giving them a chance to grab one of the better draft talents or perhaps an elite talent that falls (though falling to #14 is quite a fall).
You can follow Royals Review for more Royals draft coverage in the weeks leading up to the June amateur draft.