Photo Credit - Andrew Dye

It’s Never Too Early to Discuss the Draft, Austin Beck Edition

Early in the GMDM tenure, the Royals draft directors spotted high school prep position players to turn the languishing franchise around. The selections of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer changed the fortunes of the team from the low minors all the way up to the biggest stage in the World Series. The Royals spent big on prep players from the ’07 to ’11 draft, using $22.9m dollars on prep position players in that time. Since the Bubba Starling draft in 2011, Lonnie Goldberg’s staff has gone a different route, spending just $3.44m on prep position players in the Top 10 rounds or with significant bonuses over the $100k mark.

With a rebuild likely in the making, will GMDM, Goldberg, and staff look to go back to their roots to find a prep position players to eventually send the Royals back to the playoffs?

In a previous draft article, I highlighted one player in Jordon Adell as that type of player that could be available to the Royals while also returning them to their roots of a high ceiling prep position player. If I was to guess which of these two in Adell or Austin Beck is likely to fall to the 14th pick for Kansas City I would definitely lay the money on Adell. Considering college players typically see their stock rise ahead of the draft, it’s good to take a look at another prep player like Beck just in case.

An outfielder from North Carolina, Beck features average to better tools in all facets of the game with his power and speed standing out as his best current and future tools. At the plate, Beck features slightly above average bat speed as evidenced by his numbers in the Zep Metrics recorded by Perfect Game. Along with that bat speed, Beck features some waggle in his plate approach that likely will need to be lessened as he moves into minor league ball. On top of the waggle, he tends to get his head and body movement out in front some which could leave him vulnerable to breaking and offspeed stuff until he adjusts. During his younger years, he featured a more balanced approach with less movement to the front. This could be the adjustment he makes back to that form once he enters pro ball and is facing higher quality arms every day. That Beck is a less dynamic hitter but a more balanced, average approach hitter, a mix of the two is likely what pro teams will be looking for from the prep outfielder.

Beck certainly plays with an intensity which is reminiscent of what the younger versions of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer brought to the Royals system. Perhaps the franchise could use that type of intensity back in their minor league system, or maybe they just need more talent to win and that intensity comes with high profile games and wins.

The other skills Beck features are solid, but I wonder if he slows down and ends up in a corner rather than as a center fielder. That possible move combined with a limited ceiling in his tools and some tweaks that I think need to be made with the hitting approach give me enough caution that I would lay off him in the Top 14 picks in favor of a number other college and prep players.

Prep Position Players Drafted in the GMDM era
Traded for James Shields, Wade Davis

Name Year Round Bonus WARP Highest Level
Mike Moustaksas 2007 1 (2) $4,000,000 11.3 MLB
Fernando Cruz 2007 6 (186) $125,000 AA
Hilton Richardson 2007 7 (216) $100,000 A
Eric Hosmer 2008 1 (3) 6,000,000 10.9 MLB
Alex Llanos 2008 6 (175) $125,000 AA
J.D. Alaro 2008 9 (265) $75,000 High-A
Mauricio Matos 2008 10 (295) $150,000 Rk
Wil Myers* 2009 3 (91) $2,000,000 7.5 MLB
Geoff Baldwin 2009 10 (302) $100,000 Rk
Lane Adams 2009 13 (392) $225,000 0 MLB
Michael Antonio 2010 3 (86) $411,000 High-A
Bubba Starling 2011 1 (5) $7,500,000 AAA
Cam Gallagher 2011 2 (65) $750,000 AAA
Patrick Leonard* 2011 5 (156) $600,000 AAA
Jack Lopez 2011 16 (486) $750,000 AA
Chad Johnson 2012 5 (163) $340,000 High-A
Alfredo Escalera 2012 8 (253) $50,000 AA
Alexis Rivera 2012 10 (313) $125,000 A
Amalani Fukofuka 2013 5 (144) $175,000 A
Chase Vallot 2014 1.5 (40) $1,350,000 High-A
D.J. Burt 2014 4 (123) $200,000 High-A
Gabe Cancel 2015 7 (219) $200,000 A
Khalil Lee 2016 3 (103) $750,000 A
Cal Jones 2016 6 (163) $250,000 Rk
Prior to ’11 $13,311,000         29.70  11 players
Since ’11 $13,040,000 0  13 players
Total $26,351,000 29.70

Main Photo Credit – Austin Beck via Austin Dye

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