In today’s current balance of baseball, being a small market team like the Kansas City Royals is hard. Being a small market that doesn’t draft well, like the Royals, is an even tougher hill to climb. You’ve heard the names heard the names drafted and the names not drafted a thousand times. Aaron Crow, Christian Colon, Bubba Starling, Kyle Zimmer, Hunter Dozier, Brandon Finnegan, Foster Griffin, Nolan Watson, Ashe Russell. The failure to bring impact talent to the organization through early selections in the draft for nearly the past decade has come to bite the Royals, and oh is it biting hard.
And let’s be honest (and slightly arbitrary to confess), if it weren’t for one year where it all came together (a year I will never forget), the small window of contention put together by this current regime a few years ago would be viewed as a pretty big failure.
So with that said, we’re all lucky it did come together like it did. Could you imagine if it didn’t? Anyway, the past is the past and we must now focus on the present. And what the present currently holds is nothing to get excited about. The Royals are currently in a state that is just about as bad as you can get with a single franchise. Little talent on the major league roster, a lack of big trade chips, bad contracts, and a lackluster farm system. A lot of this draws around those nine names I mentioned above. By not cashing in with basically all their first round picks since 2009, a crack at contention was short-lived, and the fall from it was hard.
But now a unique opportunity presents itself. Dayton Moore and company are about to have their busiest night with the draft board in their time with the Royals, having a grand total of four first round selections, edging out the three they had in the 2014 draft. Back in February after the Royals received an additional pick from the Eric Hosmer signing, I went into further detail about the mass draft capital they’ll have.
And as it tends to be with me, these things usually strike curiosity in me. Looking at how the Royals amount of draft picks compared to other teams this year, I wanted to see where they stacked up compared to other teams in recent memory with draft supply. The answer is the Royals do have one of the bigger collection of picks in draft history. Since 2000, only eight teams have had four chances to make a pick in the top 40 selections, with the 2018 Royals being the first team since the 2011 Rays, who arbitrarily had six of the top 42 picks.
Now comes the importance of this. Most of it is obvious (good drafting > bad drafting), but the timing of this draft raises the stakes. As the Royals are in for what currently seems like a very long rebuild, there will be plenty of chances to acquire amateur and international talent. But two Mondays from today might bring one of their biggest. This major opportunity will most likely dictate how this rebuild starts.
If the Royals can nail this draft, the outlook on the farm system starts to change a bit. It’s rare to see one draft class make a big change of perception on a farm system, but any talent the Royals can bring into the lower-minors at least makes things a bit more pretty. Also combine this was the ability to shop the international market again and the inevitable high draft picks in the future, and you at least have yourself some framework to get a rebuild started off right.
Now comes the scary part. The very real possibility of the Royals taking a flop with these selections. You do that and you’re looking at setting any progress made by the farm system back, digging an even deeper hole for the organization to crawl out of, starting one of the more important turning points in this franchise’s history on the wrong foot.