The draft was shortened to just five rounds this year, ostensibly because of the pandemic and lack of amateur baseball this spring, but almost certainly also as a way to cut costs for Major League Baseball. Royals General Manager apologized for the shortened draft, but made due the best he could with six picks in the five rounds, selecting Texas A&M pitcher Asa Lacy with the #4 pick and Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin with the #32 pick on day one. On day two, the Royals grabbed the best talents they could, going for prep pitchers, college pitchers, and one college hitter.
In the second round. the Royals selected right-handed pitcher Ben Hernandez of De Salle Institute in Chicago with the 41st pick. Baseball America ranked the 19-year old #86, while MLB Pipeline ranked him #72. Hernandez has a plus change up, unlike many prep pitchers and is considered an advanced arm.
Our writeup of new Royals draftee Ben Hernandez starts: "If changeups are your thing, then Ben Hernandez is your guy."— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 11, 2020
He throws a fastball in the low-90s that can touch 95, but will have to develop a breaking ball to have success as a starter. Hernandez is committed to the University of Illinois-Chicago.
The Royals went back to college players in the third round, selecting outfielder Tyler Gentry from the University of Alabama with the 75th pick. Gentry hails from Arlington, Tennessee and spent a year at Walters State Junior College before transferring to Alabama. He hit .310 with 13 home runs and a .552 slugging percentage for the Crimson Tide in 2019. Gentry brings good power from the right side, but does tend to strike out a lot, and he struggled a bit in the elite wood bat Cape Cod League last summer.
Tyler Gentry checks a lot of Royals boxes— Royals Academy (@ClintScoles) June 11, 2020
good movement in the outfield
Has some plate discipline and contact questions
Gentry was hitting .429 with four home runs in 17 games this year before play stopped. MLB Pipeline noted he improved his plate discipline this year, ranking him #81 on their board. Baseball America ranked him #177, noting his 60- or 65-grade raw power. Gentry is an average runner and should profile as a right fielder.
In the fourth round the Royals took a college pitcher, selecting Oregon State left-hander Christian Chamberlain with the 105th pick. The 20-year old junior stands at just 5’10’’ but still brings a fastball in the low 90s, occasionally hitting 95. He has a big 12-6 curve and an average change to give him a solid three-pitch mix. The Reno, Nevada native struck out 57 in 42 1⁄3 innings last year with a 3.83 ERA, mostly in relief.
I love some Christian Chamberlain. Smallish frame, but the FB was consistently 90-94 mph this season, along with a filhty curveball. Competitiveness is off the charts good. @Royals @BeaverBaseball https://t.co/z0JkgnOX7Z— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) June 12, 2020
He was dominant this year, striking out 34 in 22 innings, allowing just six hits with an ERA of 0.82. He can struggle with his command with 58 walks in 105 collegiate innings, and some feel he may end up in the pen due to his size. Baseball America ranked him #117 on their board while MLB Pipeline had him #174.
In the fifth round, the Royals took another college arm, taking right-handed pitcher Will Klein out of Eastern Illinois University with the 135th pick overall. Klein was a reliever his first two years with a high ERA, but made four starts with a 3.33 ERA this spring.
Standing at 6’5’’, the Bloomington, Indiana native can bring some heat with a mid-90s fastball that can hit 99 on the gun, to go with an above-average curveball. His command can be spotty and some think he profiles as a reliever at the pro level. Baseball America ranked him #204 while MLB Pipeline ranked him #177.
Players that went undrafted are free to sign with any club starting on Sunday, but teams can offer no more than a $20,000 bonus.
How would you grade the Royals’ overall draft?
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