Let me be the first to point out that geeks like myself probably spend waaay too much time worrying about the Major League Draft. I have spent hours and hours of my life in the past several years trying to study and figure out what teams will do as the draft rolls around.
I have been lucky enough to watch nearly all of the top prep prospects roll through town during the Junior Team USA trials over the past several summers. I remember watching Mike Moustakas spray balls all over the field here two years ago and play a pretty decent ss.
Each year I watch these games (as well as all of the Premier Baseball teams) trying to get a grasp on the types of players Royals scouts will be tracking leading up to the draft.
Let me just say I give Kansas City an A+ in this draft.
Take a look at what they picked up in the first 10 rounds this year and what they are currently doing.
1.) Eric Hosmer - Just signed. The kid is the real deal. Reminds me of Mark Teixiera, only more athletic.
1s.) Michael Montgomery - 2-1 1.76 ERA 7BB 24 K in nine Arizona League games. A 6-foot-5 southpaw, Montgomery is working to develop more pitches to his arsenal. Could be a top of the rotation arm.
2.) Johnny Giavotella - Hit his fourth homer of the season in last night's win. Solid second baseman who is expected to move fast through the farm system. (Pictured above)
3.) Tyler Sample - Big right hander has had a rough time so far in the Arizona League. He's sporting an 0-4 recored, 7.30 ERA with 34 K and 24BB. He also has given up 20 earned runs in 24 IP.
4.) Tim Melville - Just signed. A first-round talent. Regarded the best prep pitcher in the '08 draft.
5.) John Lamb - LHP just turned 18 with a 88-89 MPH fastball and knee buckling change up. Could be an exciting pitcher moving forward as all of his pitches bend and his arm is very lively. Probably will not make his pro debut this year as he sprained his Ulnar Collateral Ligament just before the draft this year. Has only been throwing a curve ball for two years.
6.) Alex Llanos - Switched from SS to OF and is hitting a very light .170 with 10 SB's in AZL.
7.) Jason Esposito - Third base prospect spurned K.C.'s $1.5MM offer to attent Vanderbilt.
8.) Malcom Culver - Has logged just two innings on the mound in the AZL. Also was projected as a power hitting third baseman, however it appears the Royals will pitch him instead.
9.) John Alfaro - Shortstop is hitting .251 with 6 HR in 40 games at Idaho Falls (R-Adv.). Known for defense but is coming around with the bat. Hit .366 17 HR 76 RBI last season at Grayson (TX) JUCO.
10.) Mauricio Matos - The catcher is hitting .250 in just 17 AZL games. Has a lot of projection, though his arm is average right now and he needs to add weight to his lanky 6' 185 lb. frame.
Just landing Hosmer and Melville made this a successful draft, however with the addition of LHP Montgomery (who is a very good prospect) and Giavotella the first four rounds of this draft were excellent for Dayton Moore and the rest of the scouting department. The only disappointment was Esposito. He appeared ready to sign, but then recanted that thought saying:
“I wanted to take it,” he told the New Haven Register.. “But then emotions settled down and you put things into perspective. Do I want to go off and play professional baseball at 17 years old? This is the best possible situation. It will benefit me in the long run.”
Still, the Royals did well.