The Royals have added the two newest players to the franchise, selecting Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy with the #4 pick in the draft and Baylor shortstop with the #32 pick on Wednesday evening. Here are the reactions to day one of the draft for the Royals.
Jeffrey Flanagan gets the word from scouting director Lonnie Goldberg.
“We had ranked him the No. 1 pitcher in the Draft,” Goldberg said. “We have a long history with him going back to his sophomore year [in high school] and Team USA. For us to be able to add him into the mix with the group we have ... he’s a kid with four plus pitches with an incredible compete level. He’s an animal on the field.
“He’s got no-hit stuff each time he goes out there. His coming to us is a perfect fit.”
During the spring, Royals assistant director of scouting Danny Ontiveros flew in to watch Lacy. The next day brought a conference call with Moore, assistant general manager Rene Francisco and senior director of pro scouting Gene Watson.
“After his conviction in (Danny’s) voice,” Moore said, “you knew this was a guy who could be a big impact for us if we got a chance to select him.”
Once Kansas City did select Lacy, the pitcher immediately sent a Royals staffer this text: “This is exactly where I wanted to be.”
Lynn Worthy gets a scouting report from ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel:
“You can squint and look at the arsenal of guys in the big leagues and say Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, that sort of upside if it all comes together,” ESPN analyst Kiley McDaniel, a former MLB scout and front office executive, said during a pre-draft conference call last week. “The command is the issue right now. He has to iron out his delivery some. To me, you’re getting a front-line pitcher.”
Dayton Moore said they considered Asa Lacy and Austin Martin with the 4th overall pick. He said they also considered Nick Loftin as well and is thrilled he was there for them at 32— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) June 11, 2020
Royals GM on Asa Lacy right now in the post first round Zoom Press Conference... “His stuff is in the top 1% in the world right now.”— Soren Petro (@SorenPetro) June 11, 2020
Carlos Collazo at Baseball America thinks the Royals were one of the big winners on day one.
If you told the Royals they would be able to pick between Martin and Texas A&M lefthander Asa Lacy with the fourth pick of the draft, they probably wouldn’t have believed you. Most in the industry—including us at Baseball America—expected both players to be gone among the first three picks....
We believe the Royals and Blue Jays both stumbled into exceptional value because of the Orioles and Marlins going with Kjerstad and Minnesota righthander Max Meyer in front of them and it’s difficult not to see them as winners of day one as a result.
The Royals continued to grab value with their compensation pick at No. 32, grabbing Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin, who was ranked No. 29 on the BA 500 and was thought to be a factor as high as the middle of the first round.
Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs recaps the draft for each team and has some interesting tidbits.
There are folks in baseball who think Lacy was the best player in the draft and some who were worried about his medical. I don’t know whether that had anything to do with why Miami passed on him at three but now the Royals have another really nasty young arm who is likely to move quickly, and their big league rotation might soon be packed with as many young, hyped prospects as those early 2000s Marlins and Cubs teams. (Royals fans old enough to drive probably remember Mike Montgomery, Aaron Crow, Luke Hochevar, John Lamb, etc. and know not to let their guard down, for such is pitching.)
It sounds like Loftin had an overslot deal somewhere in the comp round, something north of $3 million, but I’m not sure if it was here or elsewhere and the Royals just decided to take him. I’m lukewarm on Loftin. I think he can play short but I think his power is limited to his dead pull side only and that he can be pitched to.
Keith Law gives his recap of day one.
That pushed Asa Lacy down to the Royals at No. 4, so they got the best left-handed starter in the draft, adding to their stable of pitching prospects from the previous two drafts, including the group from 2018 that was probably going to debut this year in the majors. They came back at No. 33 to take Nick Loftin, a likely big-league shortstop who’ll put the ball in play but probably hit toward the bottom of the lineup.
Richard Justice profiles Lacy, noting that the left-hander tried to model himself after Clayton Kershaw.
“I think we have similarities,” Lacy said. “I don’t have the stop-and-go in my delivery, but in terms of release height and back legs, we’re pretty similar. I do think that’s one of the things scouts and teams are looking at. There is no obvious similarity to anyone. I’m pretty unique, so it’ll be interesting to see where I end up going.”
Baseball hasn’t seen an Asa in awhile.
Until Asa Lacy (maybe) makes it to the Royals, here is a complete list of MLB teams that have had a player named Asa: The Washington Olympics, The Middletown Mansfields, The Baltimore Canaries, and the Worcester Ruby Legs. None of this is made up— TJ Gorsegner (@badcoffeetwins) June 11, 2020
Here’s the back story behind his name.
Royals' top pick Asa Lacy's first name was inspired by his great-grandfather, Asah, a Swede, and the biblical king, Asa. (h/t @richardjustice ). At A&M his nickname simply was Ace. Not sure Royals fans are ready to call anyone else that again. Thoughts?— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) June 11, 2020
David Schoenfield at ESPN recaps the Nick Loftin pick.
The tools aren’t loud, but Loftin has been a steady performer at Baylor, and the statistical models will love his high contact rate. He’s steady enough at shortstop but started at five positions for the collegiate national team last summer, so potential versatility is a big plus. He began moving up draft boards after starting 2020 by hitting for more power (eight extra-base hits in 14 games), but he might still be below average in that department....
After nabbing Texas A&M lefty Asa Lacy with the fourth pick, the Royals get another good college performer in Loftin. He’s a good bet to reach the majors in some capacity, and if the power continues to develop, Chris Burke threw out a Zack Cozart comp.
Clint Scoles at Royals Academy adds his scouting report.
The future is pretty wide for Loftin, while at the floor I think he’s a Willie Bloomquist as a super super utility that can play all positions outside of catcher. The ceiling is a different animal altogether. If he taps into the power then the upside is likely that of Whit Merrifield or Ben Zobrist but even more as he can play shortstop. Players like Whit and Zobrist are rare as generally a productive .300 hitter that can hit 15 home runs or more finds himself playing in one position. If that is the case then Loftin would make a lot of sense as a third baseman for the Royals as there isn’t much blocking his path and he has the chops for the position. If you’re betting on him then bet on the likelihood that he can find 10-15 HR power.
Kiley McDaniel at ESPN loves the pick.
I love the pick where the Royals got him. I can’t figure out why no one took him earlier. In a draft where shortstops are pushed up by draft models and college players are pushed up for a number of reasons, how did so many teams pass on Loftin? I heard he has a nice overslot number here, but college juniors can’t slide that far with bonus demands no matter how hard they try. I heard Loftin had a big deal behind the K.C. pick if he slid further and some clubs in the late first were kicking the tires but liked their slot options enough. I was told Loftin took a big step forward this spring and was drawing Nico Hoerner comps, so clubs in the 20s will feel foolish if that’s how this plays out. K.C. had a great first night.
FanGraphs has Loftin as 45 FV, would place him roughly as the 8th/9th best prospect in the org.— Patrick Brennan (@paintingcorner) June 11, 2020
How would you grade day one of the draft for the Royals?
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