Kansas City Royals Draft Breakdown – Rounds 1-10
1st Round Kyle Zimmer 4th Overall (signed $3M)
RHP, 6’4″, 220 lbs
University of San Francisco
by Greg Schaum
A former position player who really has come on strong in the last year. He throws 93-96 with a potential plus curve. The 6â€™4 220 has a very workman like body who should be able to give you plenty of innings. He is an intriguing pick because, as a former position player, he has not thrown a lot of innings which I know one Royals exec would love. Typically California high schoolersâ€™ can raise red flags due to the amount of pitching they do prior to leaving high school. Recent concerns about a drop in velocity do not scare meâ€¦he had a hamstring injury and I also believe some fatigue due to lack of pitching.
In 2011 when Zimmer began to put himself on the map he was throwing 90-93 with a good feel for his secondary pitches. Coach added that for a new pitcher Zimmer understood what it took to be successful and had a fairly easy delivery and since he had become so strong he had such a big body delivery. So, he was not surprised when he heard report that Zimmer was throwing 95 when he was coming out of the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2011.
â€œHe started this year so much firmer, I never knew how consistent he would become, and when we heard 99 we werenâ€™t surprised.â€
Kyle told Moore the biggest difference though was that he learned how to breathe. He said â€œI breathe and pitch, I breathe and pitch, I breathe and pitch.â€ â€ If you watch him (Moore added) he will step behind the mound and let his body breathe and just break back onto the mound. It is pretty impressive for a guy new to pitching to just go to that level during a game.â€
2nd Round Sam Selman 66th Overall Pick (signed)
LHP 6’3 185 lbs
by Greg Schaum
Selman has waited for his opportunity to be a larger part of the Vanderbilt staff. Some scouts will like the lack of work in his arm as he had thrown just 12 innings in his first 2 seasons in Nashville. But, his stuff erupted this year as he throws a low 9â€²s touching 97 with his fastball with solid secondary pitches in his slider and change up when he has them working. An excellent student he was seen a ton in HS with teammates Shelby Miller (1st round Cards) and Everett Williams (2nd round Padres) at St. Andrews HS in Austin getting himself drafted in the 14th round by the Angels. Spent last summer with Mankato in the Northwoods league going 2-4 with a 3.89 e.r.a in 42 IP with 46 Kâ€™s.
Selman ultimately has the upside of Zimmer but his inconsistency with control and delivery pushed his stock lower than where his raw stuff indicates it should be. Â Selman remained an enigma to Vandy throughout the season falling out of the weekend rotation at one point and then climbing back to the #1 spot as they got on their last season run.
This could be a good test to see the differences between the previous minor league pitching coordinator and the Rick Knapp era. Â Chris Dwyer had similar control problems as Selman coming out of Clemson and has yet to harness that control. Â Will Knapp and crew have a positive effect on Selman? Â The answer could be directly tied to the Royals future results.
3rd Round Colin Rodgers 100th Overall Pick (signed $700K)
LHP, 6â€™1â€, 180
Parkview Baptist (HS) Louisiana
by Drew Osborne
The hard-throwing lefty has already decided to forego his college career at Auburn and has signed his professional contract with the Royals. Â If he were to have attended Auburn, Colin would have pitched under the eye of Scott Foxhall who has transformed the Tiger pitching corps into a top SEC staff.
Parkview Baptist coach Darron Mitchell had nothing but good things to say about his former ace. Â â€œThe sky is the limit for him. Â He isnâ€™t the 6â€™6â€ strong arm lefty that everybody wants, but he is going to get it up there in the low 90â€™s with great other stuff to go along with it. Â It was a pleasure to have him be a part of our program and I think he will do very well at whatever level he gets to.â€
Coach Mitchell went on to say that Colin knows what he does best and he sticks to it. Â He doesnâ€™t get rattled easily and has done a great job mastering the mental side of the game during his senior year. Â Colin was used to having pressure on him and facing solid hitters as he pitched for Marucci Elite. Â Colin also had a teammate named Russell Reynolds to compete with while sharing the spotlight. Â Colin signed at Auburn, Russell signed at LSU. Â Russell hit 90, Colin hit 91.
Rodgers has come through a very good program that should have given him the tools he needs for success. Â The players work on something pitching related on a daily basis. Â They are taught to be their own pitching coaches and learn to understand how their body works. Â The players have learned the benefits of long toss and do participate in it as their schedule allows. Â At Parkview Baptist, Colin started once every 7 days which allowed him plenty of rest. Â Rodgers and the other pitchers were allowed to throw bullpens and refine their delivery and reinforce arm slots on a daily basis.
In 16 years as a coach, Darron Mitchellâ€™s philosophy has evolved into teaching young men responsibility and how to reject passivity. Â He feels that too many times in our society people will not admit to mistakes and attempt to pass the blame onto someone else. Â Parkview Baptist players are not permitted to do this and are expected to learn from their mistakes and move on. Â They are also taught to build each other up. Â One example of that is former 2nd round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers Blake Johnson. Â As an alumni of Parkview Baptist, Johnson spent a lot of time around Reynolds and Rodgers in January and February teaching them about life, professional baseball, and the business side of the game. Â Johnson was a big part of Colinâ€™s maturation process on the mound as he talked with the youngsters about mound composure and presence.
From a coaching perspective, Rodgers throws a fastball from 88-91 and controls it on both sides of the plate. Â But what makes his fastball special is the movement. Â Colin has a good change up, but like a lot of high school pitchers he rarely utilized it as he didnâ€™t have too. Â Colin also throws a very good sweeping curve about 10-13 mph off the fastball pace. Â He has a slider that he will mix in. Â We know the Royals wonâ€™t allow the slider until he gets to a higher level, but itâ€™s good to know Colin has that in his back pocket.
From a personal perspective, Colin has a good start on a solid and successful life. Â The Rodgers family is a strong family who attends the same church as Coach Mitchell. Â Colin is a good student who came out of a strong high school with a tough curriculum earning solid grades. Â Colin has been taught to be a well-rounded individual and not just a baseball player.
4th Round Kenny Diekroeger 133rd Overall (Signed)
2b, 6’2, 200 lbs
by Clint Scoles
One of the picks that was lauded by most Royals fans and draft bloggers alike was the pick of Diekroeger in the 4th round.Â Kenny, a former 2nd round pick, was previously offered $2 million dollars from the Tampa Bay Rays but chose instead to take his skills to Stanford in hopes that he could combine an education with his skill to put him in an even better spot for this 2012 draft.Â Things started well enough his freshman year at Stanford earning Frosh All American honors by hitting .356 with 12 doubles and 5 home runs.Â Then something happened, whether it was the NCAA bat change, Stanfordâ€™s swing development or just slumping Kennyâ€™s results have changed dramatically going from a .356/.392/.491 line his freshman year to a .292 and .267 averages the final two years along with dramatically reduced slugging figures down nearly .130 points in each season.
Kenny has some athleticism that should allow him to play multiple positions but it is probably not the athleticism needed to play SS and CF meaning the bat will decide if he can man 2b full time or if he takes a Whit Merrifield type path in the minor leagues as a utility option.Â Whether the college numbers were the result of the change in bats, Stanford’s approach or just Diekroegerâ€™s talent the level not being what everyone thought it shouldnâ€™t take long to find out the true answer in the minors.
Stanfordâ€™s Carlos Quentin needs 27 HR to pass Ed Sprague for the career lead amongst Cardinal alums.
5th Round Chad Johnson #163 Overall (signed $340K)
C, 6’1 180 lbs
Galesburg (HS) Illinois
by Clint Scoles
Johnson was a cold weather riser this year thanks in part to an outstanding senior season at Galesburg after leading his team in total bases, doubles and home runs to just name a few categories. Â While most would expect a draftee to lead his team in most offensive categories, scouts and teams were waiting to see the left-handed swinging catcher combine his offense with what some think are advanced defensive skills. Â You don’t find a lot of right-handed throwing, left-handed hitting catchers like Chad who homered to right field in game his team played in Busch stadium this season.
Via Galesburg.com Coach Albert Gonzalez -Â â€œFrom a defensive standpoint, he is regarded as one of the best in the Midwest,â€ Gonzalez said. â€œI think him being drafted this high echoes that. I do know this speaking to scouts that they draft based on future expectations. If he continues the hard work he may live out a dream a lot of players have. You never know.
Johnson as a Top 500 overall draft prospect likely wasn’t considered a 5th round talent but he was willing to sign quickly (likely under slot), solid defensively which the Royals rate as a high priority behind the dish and is continuing to improve at the plate. Â All those traits are very important in the 2012 draft, especially in the first 10 rounds.
Galesburg HS also produced Jim Sundberg, catcher for the Royals 1985 World Series team.
6thÂ Round Zach Lovvorn 193rd Overall Pick (signed $275K)
RHP, 6’4, 205 lbs
Oxford (HS) Alabama
by Clint Scoles
Every year it seems there is that guy who at first glanceÂ looks okay butÂ after doing some digging, talking to a coupleÂ coaches,Â I end upÂ saying to myself there is “theÂ one” to watch.Â Lovvorn is that guy for me this year.
His story is as much about his high school program’sÂ developmentÂ asÂ it is his own.Â You seeÂ Zach was justÂ 5’7 150 lbs going into his freshman year known to his coach as a curveball guy with some good junk and too small a frame for a good fastball.Â It just so happenedÂ that two years previous to Zach’s freshman yearÂ thatÂ Coach, Wes Brooks had decided to implement a throwing program for just that reason.
That program started to work for Zach and the rest of the Oxford staff almost immediately as Zach saw a significant increase from his freshman year to his Sophmore season touching 80 mph as he grew to 5’10 inches.Â The results worked for the team as well as Coach Brooks piloted the Oxford club to just their 3rd state finals appearance in school history.
Lovvorn’s junior year brought more growth and even more velocity with the righthander now reguarly working near 85-87 mph.Â Things were looking up as the team was primed to make a run during the 2012 season.
Coach Brooks, Oxford programÂ entered the 2012 season as Perfect Games Southeast Region #3 ranked team based largely on what was considered the top pitching rotation in the state.Â Oxford featured Alabama’s top pitching prospect inÂ Tucker Simpson,Â a Florida commitÂ andÂ Jackson Stephens who had committed to the University of Alabama.Â Zach now their third start wasn’t tooÂ shabby himself.Â While most scouts ranked Simpson and Stephens well ahead of Zach Coach Brooks had seen his velocity climb from 78-80 his sophmore year to 85-87 as as junior and it was still climbing thanks toÂ theÂ work ethic the righthander possessed and his dedication to that throwing program.
While Coach Brooks was noticing the changes in Lovvorn the significant epiphany moment for him took place in a throwing session during an intramurals game prior to the season. Â As part of the throwing program the pitchers made a couple crow hop throws prior to pitching, that’s when Brooks saw it, 98 mph!Â Zach hit 98, the once frail 5’7 150 lbs frosh was now hitting 98 with a crow hop.Â He emailed the scouts who were already coming out to see Simpson and Stephens to tell them, “youÂ may want toÂ checkout our third starter also”.Â Zach,Â still the third starter,Â was working deep into gamesÂ at 91-93 right in the same range as the 1-2 but as midseason came and Simpsons and Stephens velos started to dip due to someÂ fatigue, Zach’s maintained and scouts started to get to more and more of his games.
Lovvorn didn’t just possess projectibility as a small kid that was continuing to grow up and add to his frame but his days of being slightly smaller were working to his advantage as his change up continued to be his best pitch.Â It’s armside fade and speed with his arm was there everyÂ start, even on the days that he couldn’t figure out which breaking ball was better his curve with a 11-5 break or his slider.Â The change up was there to go with that fastball all day everyday on what had now become a 6’4 frame.
Zach’sÂ stock was rising.Â How would the parents react toÂ Coach BrooksÂ leaving him in the three spot?Â Now a days with prima donna kids and overbearingÂ parents would things change?Â Not for Zach’s folks, his Mom works for the school and his Dad cared about winning only, not his sons performance.Â In Coach Brooks words “they were supportive of the school, the teamÂ and down right awesome”.Â Perhaps that is what Lovvorn’s father learnedÂ from hisÂ JUCO playing days.Â With that support the team responded bringing home the schools first ever state championship in the highest class in the state despite joining that level just a few years earlier.Â People told Coach Brooks that he had built the best rotation in the state.Â Of course he knew that already he said, until they responded no I mean the entire state including the University of Alabama, Auburn, UAB, SamfordÂ you name them Oxford’s is better than them all.
As the team drove back to Oxford that evening Coach Brooks probably asked himself what created this monster pitching staff?Â Was it the Ron Woolforth pitching program that he implemented Zach’s 7th grade year or was it something else?Â I’m sure the Coach gave his staff, the players, the families most of the credit or perhaps the 2 am arrival time back to school made it too late to answer the question at all.Â Whatever he decided for one pitcher the answer was there just six hours later on the football field doing long toss at 8 am after winning the state title the previou night.Â For Zach, Coach Brooks knew the answer was a melting of being undersized, overlooked and in the correct family structure thatÂ taught himÂ work ethic.
As Brooks tells it “He’s not done, that chip is there, theÂ drive to show the people of Oxford that he should’ve been the one they were paying attention to all along.”
7th Round Fred Ford #223 Overall (signed $125K)
OF, 6’5 225 lbs
Jefferson Community College
by Drew OsborneÂ
Ford has had an incredible junior college career at Jefferson College.Â Â He is a 2 time All-Regional player as well as a JUCO World Series Tournament Team player this season.Â Fred was drafted as an outfielder but played first base for the Vikings.Â Ford hit .362 with 28 HR and 47 SB in his 2 year career putting up a line of .432 with 13 HR and 32 SB his second year.
The right handed power hitter can hit the ball to all fields.Â Ford really started to learn how to hit the ball to the right center field alley with power his junior year of high school according to Fort Zumwalt South head coach Keith DeShurley.Â According to DeShurley, Ford did one thing this year that really allowed him to step into success.Â That was relax and let the game come time him.Â It seemed at times he would try to do too much and was too hard on himself.Â Ford has become a very calm and laid back player who relies on his teammates to drive him in.
Coach DeShurley raved about Fordâ€™s character. Â “Fred is a very smart kid who has his head on straight.Â He will get the most out of his body and he will have a strong career.” Â As a captain at Jefferson College people just seemed to follow him.Â Fred is an extremely hard worker who has a presence about him.Â DeShurley told me that Fred would show up and it was time to get serious about your workout or what you were doing.Â Ford had fun but made sure the work got done.Â â€œThe year after he left we realized what a blessing he was in practice.Â We didnâ€™t have to deal with distractions because he eliminated them for us.â€ That statement from DeShurley should explain it all.Â As a coach, those kids are so valuable to your team.Â Everyone follows a strong leader and when you have a leader as great as Ford, you have a superstar in the making.Â You can relax at night as a coach and know that the players will be doing the right.Â Those types of intangibles are important especially when you have young men who are away from home for Â the first time and living on their own.Â Ford will be an extension of the coaching staff and help keep those young men on the straight and narrow path.
Ford really worked hard to cut down on his strikeouts and replaced those with more base hits.Â He was a great athlete in high school playing four years of basketball.Â Ford enjoys working hard at his craft and puts other things such as video games to the back burner.Â There is time for fun and games, but only after the work in the batting cage is done.Â He is the type of kid you want your son to watch and become.
8th Rd Alefredo Escalera-Maldonado (signed $50K)
OF 6’2″, 180 lbs
Pendleton (HS) Florida
by Zach Mortimer
Alfredo was the youngest player in the draft at 17 years 106 days. Alfredoâ€™s best tool is being a plus runner running the 60 yard dash in 6.2 second. He is able to produce sneaky power out of his thin frame. The Royals have signed him away from Stetson University. Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado looks to fit in as a centerfielder and a great athlete that hopefully will one day mature into a Major Leaguer.
Escalera drew rave reviews at the Southeast Top Prospect Showcase put on by Perfect Game. Â Escalera was classified as the top hitter at the showcase thanks to his loose easy swing with plenty of bat speed.
Combine his youth, glimpse of hitting talent, arm (clocked at 91 mph from CF) and speed and the Royals could have a true diamond in the rough.
9th Rd Daniel Stumpf #283 Overall (Signed $125,000)
LHP 6’2 198 lbs
San Jacinto Junior College (TX)
by Clint Scoles
Anyone that knows anything about San Jacinto Junior College knows the success the Gators have had in the JUCO ranks winning Â 5 JUCO World Series titles in the past while playing in the championship game two of the last three years. Â Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite are just two of the well over one hundred pitchers that San Jac has seen drafted after attending their college. Â Stumpf is the latest pitcher to get taken from the school after having a very successful season.
Daniel lead his team in many categories this season as one would expect but he was at his best when the games mattered the most winning Region Pitcher of the Year and JUCO World Series Pitcher of the Series. Â Stumpf in that World Series defeated eventual champ Iowa Western in the first game of the series pitching a complete game 5 hitter with just 2 runs allowed against one of the top hitting teams in all of Junior College. Â Following a loss later in the Series tournament San Jac would turn to Stumpf again to get them back to the championship game, Stumpf would respond once again pitching another complete game allowing just one run to push them into a rematch with Iowa Western where they would drop a heartbreaker.
Stumpf is a late bloomer going from 5’11 150 lbs his senior year of high school to his current height and weight. Â Like Lovvorn in the 6th round being a late bloomer may help him in the long run as he’s learned to use his change up very well making it his top pitch. Â Currently the 6’2 left-hander works his fastball in the 89-92 range while touching 94 to go along with that plus change making him a good candidate to use as a starter at first in hopes that his slider develops into a average or better pitch and if it doesn’t he could be a decent option out of the pen.
10th Rd Alexis Rivera
OF 6’2, 220 lbs
Monteverde (HS) Florida
by Clint Scoles
Alexis has had a chance to be in front of scouts for a couple seasons after being teammates with Francisco Lindor in his and starting his season strong with a HR off one of the top pitching prospects in the state in Walker Weikel.
Already a thick and strong 6’2 220 the 17 year old could grow into a major power factor in pro ball. Â The Royals currently list Rivera as an outfielder but if he continues to grow he’ll likely end up at first base. Â He currently has average arm strength and solid speed (6.8 60 yard dash) with more of a football frame that will likely slow down over time.
David Rawnsley National Director of Scouting via Perfect Game:Â Â Rivera has little or no rhythm and lower half movement in his left handed swing but still manages to generate outstanding bat speed. With a few simple adjustments, he could really blossom into something special.
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