The future is so important to the Royals franchise. Heading into this weekend the Royals are holding onto a 2 game lead over the Mets for the last protected pick in the 2013 MLB draft.
Here is a look at the top 10 if the season ended today with a look at how my picks would line up right now:
1- Houston Astros 51 wins: The Astros need pitching heading into the 2013 season as a new American League team and there are 2 college arms that seem closer to the majors than the rest of the pack.
My pick: Ryne Stanek The University of Arkansas- Stanek, a Blue Valley Product has “wow” stuff with a mid 90s heater that gets plenty of movement. A solid feel for his secondary pitches and ability to control a game. He has to prove he can go deeper into games this season but he would be a solid 1st overall pick
2- Chicago Cubs 59 wins: Theo Epstein and the Cubs have a solid relationship with the Boras group. They can add an arm that is very close to being ready for the big leagues.
My pick: Mark Appel Stanford- While I am not the biggest Appel fan I think his upside will push him to being a top 5 pick. He was a top 5 pick this year but cost pushed him away from teams. The Cubs are more than willing to pony up those dollars for an arm that could be in the rotation by 2014.
3- Colorado Rockies 62 wins: Austin Meadows a powerfully built HS OF from Georgia.
4- Minnesota Twins 65 wins: LHP Sean Manaea Indiana State- I love this arm and after his superb Cape Cod season he flew up draft boards. A big time strike thrower with mid 90s heat. The tall, lean lefty needs to refine his secondary stuff but should be a lock top 5 pick.
5- Cleveland Indians 65 wins: RHP Karsten Whitson The University of Florida- If Karsten can stay healthy he has an excellent shot to be a top 5 pick. He and his pitching mate with the Gators Jonathan Crawford have a chance to be taken in the first 10 picks. Power pitcher who can dominate when he is on.
6- Florida Marlins 66 wins: LHP/OF Trey Ball 6’6 lefty with plus tools at both pitcher and OF. Word is he wants to hit but he projects as a top 10 pick off the mound and top 30 with the stick.
7- Toronto Blue Jays 69 wins: RHP Kohl Stewart HS Texas- 6’3 power arm from a pitcher rich state. Blue Jays might want closer to ready pitching but Stewart should shoot up draft boards with solid HS season.
8- Boston Red Sox 69 wins: Always odd to see their name here but I will go with talented high school SS Oscar Mercado here. 6’3 athletic kid who projects well on both sides of the ball.
9- Pittsburgh Pirates* Pick for losing Appel- INF Colin Moran North Carolina- The Pirates have some solid pitching prospects working up the ladder but they need bats to go along with stud Andrew McCutcheon. Moran is a gamer who can flat out hit. His position will be determined at the next level.
10- (last protected pick) Kansas City Royals 70 wins- RHP Jonathan Crawford The University of Florida- I would love to see KC get this kid. Solid frame with ability to throw strikes. Good mix of pitches with velocity and smarts on the bump.
11- New York Mets 72 wins- RHP Bobby Wahl Ole Miss- I would like to see the Royals select any of the college arms mentioned.
Outside top 11
Mariners 73 ( 3B Kris Bryant San Diego- Powerfully built RH power bat who has 40 HR potential written all over him. A little bit of a red flag on him has been his handling (or his teams) of advisors so that could come into play)
Padres 74 ( RF Aaron Judge Fresno State) Padres need some power for that cavernous field and Judge can knock them out anywhere. Big 6’7 RH power hitter who has the qualities you want in a middle of the order bat.