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Balancing the Books on the ’13 Draft

The title of this article might seem odd, but as other blogs and this site have pointed out, scouting director Lonnie Goldberg has had some drafts that have hurt the Royals balance sheet and the farm system in the process. This isn’t all his fault, but fans don’t care and the money doesn’t hit the registers if players that perform for a small market team don’t make it from the draft and onto the field at the K.

Now, we already know the first payment on the ’13 draft was a very large one as the Royals turned their second and third picks that season, Sean Manaea and Cody Reed, into a 2015 World Championship with the two as primary pieces in the Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto trades. Those flags shall fly forever and the money from that World Series merchandise overflowed for the Royals. While those two turned huge returns, what other players from that draft are of note?

1st Round picks or Eventual 1st round Picks
Hunter Dozier
Sean Manaea
T.J. Zeuch 31st round
Will Craig 37th round

That’s right, the Royals made four selections that turned into 1st round picks. Yes, it’s obvious that Dozier and Manaea were first round picks, but additionally their 31st round and 37th round picks turned into 1st round picks for the Pirates three years later.

Besides 1st round picks what players have made their debuts in the major leagues?
Cody Reed
Luke Farrell
Kevin McCarthy
Glenn Sparkman

So we see the Royals have drafted six players in that draft who have made it to the big leagues so far. The isn’t too bad, though it could be better. Only Manaea and McCarthy have given multiple appearances with contribution and McCarthy has limited upside as a reliever. The other four we’ll just give an incomplete as players who have struggled in limited appearances.

While ’18 will add to the story for Manaea, Farrell and Reed, elsewhere there are bigger impacts to come for a few Royals.

First, there is Dozier who, after a lost ’17 season due to injury, faces the possibility of competing with Cheslor Cuthbert for the third base job or working his way into the lineup as a first baseman. The upside of a big league average regular is still there for Dozier, and some might say that if the Royals dream to compete in ’18 that the upside that he presents might be one of the only ways along with a bounceback by starters in the pitching staff could be the only way they could get there. The 2016 minor league player of the year has 3-4 fWAR upside which is something a few other position players likely don’t have.

In addition to Dozier, this season is a big one for Glenn Sparkman and Jonathan Dziedzic. While Sparkman made a rough debut after a spring training injury for the Blue Jays, lefty Dziedzic looked to be on the cusp of shoving his way into a major league debut before an April injury sidelined this season. With the Royals likely needing innings from a rotation of oft-injured pitchers and additional bullpen pieces, these two could jump to the top of the list of players with a shot to make an impact. In particular, Sparkman and his four pitches with solid 93-95 mph velocity have a shot to be a contributor along the lines of what Jake Junis did last season. While I like Sparkman’s upside more, don’t overlook Dziedzic who, if healthy, has the possibility to grow into a Jason Vargas type crafty lefty if given a chance with his four-pitch mix and high pitching IQ.

This draft has already helped place a flag in the outfield for Dayton Moore and Lonnie Goldberg, but if they want to surprise in 2018 then additional players will have to ring the register once again.

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