In reviewing this year’s Royals draft class, I’ve noticed some distinct differences over the last few draft classes. From top to bottom, you see a much more advanced group of hitters in terms of plate approach. From the first pick of Nick Pratto to the back of the draft with Reed Rohlman, this is a group with a good idea of what they want to do at the plate. Next, what you may notice is a larger group of high school prospects from rounds 11-40. According to Lonnie Goldberg, this was something that they had done in the past prior to the changes in the draft system, and was something they wanted to get back to. If they bring a few of these guys into the fold, then this class may turn out better than some of the experts believe initially.
In this article, we’ll review rounds 11-20 and will look at rounds 21-40 a little later today.
Best Pick: Nick Pratto
Favorite Pick: Michael Gigliotti
Most Physical Position Pick: Brewer Hicklen
Biggest Upside: M.J. Melendez
Might Surprise Top 10 Rd: Tyler Zuber
Might Surprise Rd 11-40: Bryar Johnson
Check out previous Royals draft pieces:
11. Sal Biasi RHP 6′ 190 lbs Penn St. 9/30/95 Signed $125k
In Biasi, the Royals are getting a stocky right-handed college starter who works his fastball in the low 90s while topping out at 95 mph. A durable and dependent starter at pitcher at Penn State, Biasi took the hill for 27 starts the last two years with consistency and an ability to keep the ball low in the zone. This attribute helped him limit the home runs he allowed while striking out more than a hitter per inning the last two seasons.
Biasi has a body similar to that of Jake Junis, so perhaps the Royals believe they can refine his three-pitch mix to help him become a back end starting pitcher. If he’s unable to make that step, then Biasi’s fastball and curveball combination could play up in the pen.
Analysis – An innings eater body who you hope can refine the changeup to become an impact pitcher.
12. Collin Snider RHP 6’4 200lbs Vanderbilt University 10/10/95 Signed $125k
Inconsistency has been the name of Snider’s game in college during the Vanderbilt season and in summer league seasons. After two solid seasons from the Vanderbilt bullpen, Snider struggled this past season after an up and down summer in the Cape Cod League. Hopes of refining and tightening the slider along with the changeup could help him in the bullpen or even as a starter in the minor leagues.
d1baseball.com – Snider is high-waisted with a very strong lower half and long limbs, and his arm action looked very free and easy on Saturday. He generated good plane on his consistent 91-93 mph fastball and he showed easy life through the zone. He varies his breaking ball from a truer 82-84 mph short, above average two plane slider to a shorter 10-4 curveball at 80-81 mph. Snider also sprinkled in a big league average 85-86 mph changeup, a pitch he retained his arm speed and slot with consistently. He pounded away at the lower part of the zone in this one for most of the summer, throwing all three pitches for strikes.
Analysis – He looks like organizational depth with a lottery ticket as a bullpen piece.
13. Cason Sherrod RHP 6’4 215 lbs Texas A&M 6/25/96
Sherrod is a hard thrower who can run his fastball as high as 98 mph while working mostly in the mid 90s from his physical 6’4 215 lbs frame. The right-handed reliever is hearing impaired which lagged his on field development when he was younger, but it has shown no signs of holding him back in college. The control has wavered this season, walking 24 hitters in just 43 innings this season for the College World Series participant Aggies.
The arm action is long which likely leads to the difficulty in repeating the delivery. To go with his fastball that features armside run, Sherrod tosses a hard breaking curveball in the high 70s to low 80s that can be above average at times.
Analysis - You can’t go wrong adding a hard thrower. Clean up the delivery and the Royals could have a nice bullpen piece here.
14. Isaiah Henry CF 6’3 185 lbs North Shore H.S. Houston, TX 3/22/99
Henry has extreme athleticism with a short stroke but impactful bat speed that could present a solid gap to gap power if he can develop more strength and bat control down the road. Considering the bat speed, the arm strength at 95 mph off the mound, and the running speed, Henry has more than a few tools from which to build on in a development program.
Perfect Game – He is also a 70-grade runner with a long and angular build and plenty of bat speed and leverage in his right-handed swing to drive the ball into the gaps. Henry has also been a football standout at a football oriented high school, so his relative lack of repetitions and experience both as a hitter and on the mound is understandable.
Analysis - Getting Henry away from Alvin Community College shouldn’t be that difficult, and this type of athlete isn’t falling off trees. Big time upside here in the 14th Round by the Royals.
15. Robert Garcia LHP 6’3 220 lbs UC Davis 6/14/96
Garica is a lefty who throws his fastball in the 88-92 mph range and as high as 94 mph from the left side. In addition to the fastball, he mixes in a low-80s slider and a changeup that also registers in the low 80s.
After a strong season in ’16, Garcia’s numbers backed up despite a decent Cape Cod season the summer prior.
Analysis – A good frame that needs a secondary pitch to come forward.
16. Chris Hudgins C 6’1 190 lbs Cal State Fullerton 3/2/96
Teams always need quality catching depth, and that’s what Hudgins offers as a decent catch and throw backstop. The catcher features some decent power but hasn’t been able to get to it much in his career at Cal State.
Analysis – He’s an organizational catcher.
17. Julio Gonzalez SS 5’10 185 lbs Florida Gulf Coast 6/14/95 Signed $125k
After a couple seasons at Seminole State JUCO, Gonzalez got the bump to FGCU. Coach Tollet knew he was getting a solid defender at shortstop from the alma mater of Manny Machado’s high school, but likely got more than he bargained for at the plate.
A patient hitter with as many walks as strikeouts, Gonzalez shows off a gap to gap approach at the top of the order that allowed him to put up a nearly identical line in his first year of Division I ball despite the jump in competition.
Analysis – Adding a solid middle of the infield defender with a patient plate approach is a smart move for any organization.
18. Marlin Willis LHP 6’4 195 lbs McEachern HS Powder Springs, GA 6/5/98
A high school left-hander with a commitment to Georgia State, Willis features a tantalizing frame for a future starter and relatively clean mechanics. He features a fastball that currently works in the high 80s while topping out at 91 mph, and the lefty also works a curveball that needs refinement. The length of delivery, ability to repeat his mechanics and athleticism gives a team something to dream on here.
Analysis – If they’re able to sign him, then this is a nice developmental piece to add.
19. Korry Howell SS 6’2 175 lbs Kirkwood Community College 9/1/98
A 6.5 runner in the 60, Howell showed off his great speed at the JUCO ranks this season, setting a Kirkwood record with 43 stolen bases. Not just a speedster, Howell paced his team with a .394 average while also ranking second in home runs on the club with six this season out of the leadoff spot.
Perfect Game – Howell is a very athletic shortstop at present; though some feel that his likely future home is center field. He’s a plus runner with the instincts to be a base-stealing threat at the next level; along with some raw bat speed and projectable power potential.
Analysis – Strong all-around tools to provide an impact in the middle of the diamond. Solid get with projection in this round.
20. Bryar Johnson RHP 6’3 200 lbs Carolina Forest HS Myrtle Beach, SC 8/17/99 Signed $125
This right-handed pitcher with a physical body features a fastball that he currently pumps into the high 80s to just into the low 90s while topping out at 91 mph at present from a high 3/4 delivery. Alongside the fastball, Johnson features a tight breaking curveball that he tosses in the high 70s. The righty is able to manipulate the breaking ball and turn it into a slurve offering featuring tight movement or making it a larger curve version with 12-6 movement.
It sounds like adding him to the organization is a real possibility, which could be a plus considering the age as he’s not yet 18. His ability to manipulate spin and short quick movement with arm speed makes him intriguing.
Analysis – Despite the round, I believe this is an upside play with a real chance to develop considering the acumen for spin next to the quick arm. If he gets a tick up in velocity the Royals could really have something here.