MLB announced the draft and international pools for 2018 prior to opening day and as expected the Royals have the largest draft pool among the 30 teams with a total allotment of $12,781,900. When adding in the 10% overage teams are allowed without incurring a penalty, it gives the Royals just north of $14,000,000 to spend on the draft. With a farm system that is firmly planted in the lower-third of all teams, the Royals will have an opportunity to quickly transform that part of the franchise. Dayton Moore and his scouting staff will have a number of strategies available to them with such a large allotment. For some perspective, if they stay close to the pool allotment with each pick, below are a few of the players chosen around their bonus values in 2017. You’ll also find the players selected with that pick last year along with Perfect Game’s current player ranked at that position. Finally, we have where players fall in their team’s current MLB Pipeline ranking and the highest current ranked player from that draft position in a team’s Top 30.
18th Pick $3,349,300 – 2017 #14 Nick Pratto $3.45m, #13 Trevor Rodgers $3.4m
2017 – Alex Faedo, Detroit Tigers $3.5m
Perfect Game #18 Alec Bohm, Wichita State 3b
At the time of their drafts, both players were ranked as their team’s top prospect. Pratto has settled in at #2 according to MLB Pipeline and Rodgers fell to #6 after the Marlins made quite a few trades this offseason. Both players were significant additions to their respective team’s farm system.
Highest ranked: Pratto #2
33rd Pick $2,118,700 – 2017 #26 Bubba Thompson $2.1m, #16 Clarke Schmidt $2.18m
2017 – Kevin Merrell, Oakland A’s $1.8m
Perfect Game #33: Steele Walker, Oklahoma 3b
Both players here landed with teams with deeper farm systems than the Royals currently have, but Thompson still landed in the Rangers top 5. On the other hand, Schmidt was picked at a higher slot in the draft due in part to his talent level and need for Tommy John surgery. He’s yet to set foot on the field with that surgery and finds himself at the 13th slot of a loaded Yankees farm according to MLB Pipeline.
Highest ranked: Thompson #5
34th Pick $2.066,700 – 2017 #29 Chris Seise $2.0m, #40 Michael Mercado $2.13m
2017 – Tristen Lutz, Milwaukee Brewers, $2.352m
Perfect Game #34: Cole Winn Orange Lutheran HS, RHP
Seiss comes in at 10 on the Rangers Pipeline ranking while Mercado landed at the 17th spot in the Rays farm.
Highest ranked: Alex Lange #5 Cubs
40th Pick $1,786,300 – 2017 #38 Stuart Fairchild $1.8m, #43 Greg Deichmann $1.7m
2017 – Michael Mercado, Tampa Bay Rays, $2.1324m
Perfect Game #40: Joe Gray Jr., Hattiesburg HS, CF
Fairchild was selected at the 38th pick by the Reds before landing at the 12 spot on MLB Pipeline after an average half season in the Pioneer League. The A’s pick at #43 showed some power in short-season ball which placed him at #13 in their Pipeline Top 30.
Highest ranked: Mark Vientos #6 Mets
58th Pick $1,168,300 – 2017 #51 Joseph Dunand $1.2m, #77 Jacob Heatherly $1.04m
2017 – Jacob Gonzalez, San Francisco Giants, $950k
Perfect Game #58: Jake Wong, Grand Canyon College, RHP
Dunand got in just 34 plate appearances and landed at #19 on the Marlins Top 30 according to Pipeline, with Heatherly placing at the 18th spot on the Reds Top 30.
Highest ranked Corbin Martin #10 Astros
If the Royals were to draft this way then they would certainly add 3-4 players to their Top 15 while adding a couple high-ceiling names. I would expect them to go higher ceiling with their first selection but it shows based on the players selected at those spots, possibly available and paid at those slot values, that there are a number of different strategies the Royals can employ with their number of picks and total allotment. Adding up what the players were paid at those picks last year gives the Royals a total spend of $10.73m which would leave them with nearly $3.3m to spend on their 3rd through 10th round picks and whatever overage they use on an 11th or 12th round pick, giving them another opportunity to add someone similar to Evan Steele who they paid $850k last year and landed in their Top 30. Altogether, the team is likely looking to land at least five or six players to their Top 30, and that’s before making any other additions to their farm system through trades this season.
In addition to the draft pools, the international pools were announced with the Royals landing in the second highest tier with an allotment of $5,504,500. Of course, the Royals have already spent $1,000,00 of that bonus on centerfielder Juan Carlos Negret and $650,000 on Yefri del Rosario, a pair of former Braves prospects that were given a release by MLB after a rules violation was discovered. During the 2017 signing period, over 30 international prospects were added to the Royals organization and the club is linked to DPL shortstop Wilmin Candelario. Expect the club to spend their full total this year, as the Royals will carry two Dominican Summer League teams this season. Is their new strategy in the Dominican to toss numbers at it? Signing as many guys as possible with hopes that one becomes a Yordano Ventura or Ronald Acuna after inking deals for $100k or less could be their new strategy.
Whatever the strategy is internationally and in the draft, the Royals have an opportunity to add a large number of talented prospects to the system with over $19m in amateur money allotted to them for the 2018 signing periods. Now they just have to hit on the players that they choose.