The Royals can drastically change the future of the franchise tonight at the 2019 MLB draft. All that losing last year will finally pay off as they will get the #2 pick in the draft, right behind the Baltimore Orioles. This is considered a pretty good year to have a top two pick, as this draft has at least two elite talents in Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman and Texas high school infielder Bobby Witt, Jr. as well as potentially Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn.
Of couse we’ll have complete coverage of all of the players the Royals select, and you can discuss the draft here, in this open thread. But first, what do you need to know about the draft?
When is the draft?
The draft begins tonight, June 3 at 6 p.m. CT, with Round 1, the first Compensatory Round for teams that lost free agents, Competitive Balance Round A, Round 2, Competitive Balance Round B, and the second Compensatory Round taking place today. In all, 78 picks will be made tonight. Rounds 3-10 will take place Tuesday, June 4, beginning at noon CT. Rounds 11-40 will be on Wednesday, June 5 at 11 a.m. CT.
What are the Compensatory Round and the Competitive Balance Round?
The Compensatory Rounds give teams that lost certain free agents an extra pick, mostly to discourage the market for top free agents, but also to give teams a token for losing a top player. If a team makes a Qualifying Offer to a free agent, and that free agent declines it and signs elsewhere, that team can get a Compensatory Round draft pick after certain rounds depending on how much the player signed for, whether the team is a large- or small-market team, and whether they exceeded the luxury tax threshold.
The Competitive Balance Rounds give picks to the ten lowest-revenue clubs and the clubs in the ten smallest-markets. Whether a team gets a pick in Round A (after the first round) or Round B (after the second round) alternates each year. The Royals are awarded a pick every year and will select in Round B this year after selecting in Round A last year.
When do the Royals pick in the rest of the draft?
The draft order is determined in reverse order of last year’s standings, regardless of league (picks used to alternate by league). If there is a tie in the standings, the tie-breaker is the worst record in the season prior to last year. The Royals will have the #2 pick, the #44 pick (they have the third pick in the second round due to the Red Sox being awarded an extra pick for failing to sign their pick last year), and the #70 pick (Competitive Balance Round B). They will select second in each subsequent round. You can see the draft order here.
Where can I watch the draft?
The first day of the draft will air on MLB Network and stream on MLB.com. The final two days of the draft will only stream on MLB.com. MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger, Kelly Nash, Dan O’Dowd, Harold Reynolds and MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo will be part of the live coverage.
Who will be representing the Royals at the draft?
The Royals will be represented by former outfielder and special assistant in the front office Reggie Sanders. Joining him will be Royals Director of Baseball Administration Kyle Vena. Here are the club representative for all 30 teams.
How much can the Royals spend on the draft?
Each draft slot has an assigned value in the first ten rounds. Teams can pool the total value of all of their pick and allocate draft bonuses how they see fit, but they cannot exceed their total draft bonus pool by more than 5 percent without incurring penalties. The Royals’ draft bonus pool is $13,108,000, third-most in baseball.
Who will the Royals select?
The general consensus is that the Orioles will select Rutschman and the Royals will select Witt, but the Royals have typically held their cards close to the vest when it comes to the draft, so who knows for sure.
Tell me more about these players!
Well sure! Here are draft profiles for the four players likely in play for the Royals at #2.
More information here:
Shaun Newkirk: Names to know for the 2019 draft
Matthew LaMar: The best draft prospects from Missouri and Kansas
Here is what the latest mock drafts have to say:
Fangraphs: Bobby Witt, Jr.
Witt still seems very likely to go here, with Rutschman rumored both to be a slam dunk choice if he slides and to not be in consideration anymore at all. The Royals have quietly done their due diligence on Vanderbilt RF J.J. Bleday, and insiders believe he’s the backup option at this pick if they opt to go college late like they did last year.
Baseball America: Bobby Witt, Jr.
Witt still sounds like a lock to the Royals with their second pick and we’ve heard nothing to sway us from that selection here. It would be fascinating to see what the Royals would do if Witt did in fact get picked first, but in that situation taking Rutschman seems like a no-brainer.
Keith Law: Bobby Witt, Jr.
The only question is whether the Royals might switch to Rutschman if Vaughn goes No. 1. Otherwise, this appears to be a lock. They’re not taking Vaughn.
MLB Pipeline: Bobby Witt, Jr.
Witt to Kansas City continues to seem like a bit more of a certainty than Rutschman to the Orioles. This would make Witt and his father Bobby Sr. (No. 3 overall in 1985) the highest-drafted father-son duo ever, surpassing the Grieves (Tom, No. 6 in 1966; Ben, No. 2 in 1994).
You can never truly call anything a lock in the MLB draft, but the Royals taking Witt is about as close to a lock as it gets. They’ve been all over him this spring and their longstanding affinity for high-end up-the-middle athletes with above-average defensive tools makes this an obvious fit. Add in his power and offensive potential, and Witt has true five-tool ability. He can be the star position player the Royals build their next contending team around.
Should the Orioles take Witt and zig when everyone expects them to zag, the Royals would happily take Adley Rutschman with this pick. If the O’s really go off the board and take Andrew Vaughn with the No. 1 pick, Kansas City would have to think long and hard about Rutschman over Witt. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took Witt anyway though. They like him that much. Witt’s father, Bobby Sr., played 16 years in the big leagues and was the No. 3 pick in 1985.
The Athletic: Bobby Witt, Jr.
If the Orioles select Rutschman, the Royals would be in line to take Witt Jr., a high school shortstop who has generally been viewed as one of the top two talents in the draft and who fits their favorite profile: an athletic, toolsy player who projects to be a plus defender at an up-the-middle position. Under GM Dayton Moore, the club has traditionally tried to stay away from players such as Andrew Vaughn, an offensive-oriented college first baseman with some defensive question marks. So as appealing as the bat could be, they would probably look toward Witt or the next tier of athletic high school players (Witt will turn 19 in June, one of the biggest knocks against him). If the Orioles pass on Rutschman, that would change everything. With an emerging core of position players in the major leagues and a crop of college pitchers advancing toward Kansas City, Rutschman would be a great fit for the Royals’ rebuilding timeline. — Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd)
Who will the Royals end up taking at #2?
This poll is closed
Bobby Witt, Jr.