josh dye

Kansas City Royals 2018 MLB Draft Review Rounds 21-30

Previous Royals 2018 MLB Draft Reviews:

Rounds 1-5
Rounds 6-10
Rounds 11-20

21st Rd Pick #632 Overall
Nathan Eaton C Virginia Military Institute
5’11 185 lbs

DOB 12/22/96
Slot Value  $125,000

Primarily an infielder and relief pitcher for VMI, Eaton was announced as a catcher for the Royals. As a relief pitcher, he likely has the arm necessary to play the position while he likely has the needed movement as someone who played some middle infield in his college and high school days. One of the more productive players on the VMI squad, Eaton actually hit leadoff with his greater than .400 on-base percentage while hitting eight home runs for the squad.

Analysis – Organizational Catcher

22nd Rd Pick #662 Overall
Bryce Hensley LHP UNC Greensboro
6’4 215 lbs

DOB 10/3/95
Slot Value  $125,000

The left-handed pitcher has been one of the most dependable arms on the Greensboro staff the last two seasons while helping Coach Link Jarrett rebuild the program. From his 3/4 to high 3/4 arm slot Hensley works his 2-seam fastball with good movement (87 MPH-91 MPH) with both sink and run to both sides of the plate, pairing it with a slider that he can back foot to right-handers or work around the zone to lefties. The lefty also throws a curveball and changeup that lag behind is two primary pitches.

“Bryce is a physical and competitive individual with a want the ball mindset that helped develop the winning culture in our program.” – Coach Jarrett

The left-hander was their starter in 2017 during their first regional game in 20 years when they took on Clemson, and this past season he was their Friday starter (college #1 starter) during a Southern Conference championship season.

Analysis – A pitchability lefty who will be a strong addition to the organization in work ethic, competitiveness and in the weight room

23rd Rd Pick #692 Overall
Josh Dye LHP Florida Gulf Coast
6’3 175 lbs

DOB 9/14/96
Slot Value  $125,000

Throwing from a similar arm slot as the school’s greatest player, Chris Sale, the current version is a shorter version but has a similar lean body frame that has had the good fortune to pick the Red Sox ace’s brain about pitch grips and improving his stuff. That stuff isn’t the same as Sale had in college but a plus changeup was that lefty’s go-to pitch in college and it’s Dye’s go to as well. With a tall and lean frame should he continue to pick up velocity the way Sale did into his pro career, then the Royals could have a poor man’s version.

Coach Dave Tollett has been impressed with Dye’s improvement, particularly with the added spin on his slider and the velocity of his fastball, currently sitting between 85-88 mph.

“And he’s got a plus-plus change-up; that’s his bread and butter,” Tollett said. “He can throw it at any time, in any count. But the development of his slider and his two-seam fastball has really put him in a different place.

Analysis – A pitchability lefty from a difficult arm slot that can mess with hitters timing. Good arm to add in hopes he gains velocity.

24th Rd Pick #722 Overall
Gage Hughes Middle Infield Greenup County HS Greenup, KY
6’1 170 lbs

DOB 8/15/99
Slot Value  $125,000

From a sports family as his grandfather describes it, Hughes followed his mother and three aunts as a Division I commit when he signed his name to play baseball to the University of Cincinnati. From the sounds of it that wasn’t what the ultimate goal of this prep Kentucky product was as he was working out for multiple teams in the winter while playing in showcase tournaments. This was after multiple dominant high school seasons that saw the middle infielder with a 3/1 walk to strikeout ratio as a hitter while showing off the power to carry greater than a 1.400 OPS during his final three high school seasons, including a home run in his final high school at-bat.

Prep Baseball Report – Athletically built and strong at 6-foot-1, 163 pounds. A switch-hitter, he helped lead the Giants Scout Team to the championship in the upper-class division. He hit balls extremely hard from both sides of the plate all weekend. He has a knack for finding the barrel with a gap-to-gap approach, which should develop into power at the next level. Defensively, he has fluid actions at shortstop and is a steady defender with a clean release that produces accurate throws with carry.

Analysis – Adding a prep player with a solid plate approach and middle infield abilities is never a bad idea.

25th Rd Pick #752 Overall
Hunter Strong OF Central Arkansas
6’1 200 lbs

DOB 3/25/97
Slot Value  $125,000

The Royals drafted three players from this school as scout Matt Price obviously saw something he liked out of the Southland Conference program. Interestingly this isn’t the first time they’ve taken two players from the same school in the Southland as they also drafted Corey Toups and Ryan O’Hearn from Sam Houston State a few years back. In Strong, the Royals are getting a decently athletic player that has played infield and outfield for Central Arkansas while being a steady offensive threat the past two seasons. Finishing 6th all-time in hits in his three seasons there the key to Strong’s game is in his approach at the plate and gap to gap style.

The players the Royals have added from this conference have been solid returns in the past with Johnny Giavotella (New Orleans), Logan Moon (Cent. Arkansas ’11-13), Jon Dziedzic (LaMar ’10-’13), Ryan O’Hearn (Sam Houston State), Corey Toups (Sam Houston Sate), and  Nick Heath (Northwestern State) contributing well up to the Triple-A level or in Heath’s case contributing well for Wilmington currently.

Analysis – A positive plate approach that hopefully spreads to the younger players around them

26th Rd Pick #782 Overall
Daniel James RHP University of Texas-Arlington
6’4 215 lbs

DOB 1/19/96
Slot Value  $125,000

The right-hander that throws in the low to mid 90s with his fastball missed some time in school after encountering hip surgery.

Analysis – Hoping a healthy season brings more velocity from the bullpen. Likely organization bullpen arm.

27th Rd Pick #812 Overall
Derrick Adams LHP Jacksonville State
6’3 215 lbs

DOB 3/08/97
Slot Value  $125,000

Pitched in a very offensive conference as Tennessee Tech who was still playing on Monday is regularly one of the best offenses in the country. Struggled to limit hits allowed in his college days with a high 80s, low 90s fastball and curveball. Performed well in the Cape in 2017 with just three walks allowed in 28.1 innings and nearly 8 strikeouts per nine from the bullpen.

Via d1baseball – There were nights that watching Adams works out of the Falmouth bullpen was like watching an artist at work. A strike-throwing machine, the 6-foot-3, 205 southpaw walked just three batters in 28.1 innings of work for the Commodores. Generating a high, difficult angle for hitters to contend with, Adams carved hitters up at 87-90 mph with late two-seam life. His high leg kick also gave hitters another challenging piece of deception to deal with. He locates his above-average breaking ball 71-75 mph very well, and it shows outstanding depth. He also mixed in a quality 77-79 mph changeup. This Jacksonville State star really knows how to mix pitches and keep hitters off balance

Analysis – Org LOOGY

28th Rd Pick #842 Overall
Rhett Aplin RF Florida State
6’2 220 lbs

DOB 10/10/95
Slot Value  $125,000

Fringy outfielder who likely needs to play first base in pro ball. Takes a good plate approach but if you’re struggling to put the ball out at Florida State then it’s not likely to improve much in pro ball.

Via D1 Baseball – Senior Rhett Aplin showed a strong throwing arm and solid defense at first base. After converting from right field last season, he has not committed an error this spring. Offensively, he impressed with his ability to control the barrel. He has a muscled swing and hit several balls on the nose, with strength and some versatility.

Analysis – Org outfielder/first base guy

29th Rd Pick #872 Overall
Andres Nunez RHP Florida International
6’4 240 lbs

DOB 9/20/95
Slot Value  $125,000

According to Coach Melendez, the big-bodied Nunez was thought to be their closer prior to the season but due to his performance, he couldn’t be denied the Friday starter role as he became their most reliable pitcher. Throwing from a high 3/4 slot the right-hander tosses a two-seam fastball with plenty of movement as the lead to his four-pitch mix. A groundball/strikeout pitcher who struck out more than a hitter per inning Nunez amazingly developed a new pitch as the season went on aligning a cutter next to his slider. According to Melendez, this gives Nunez three plus pitches with his fastball, cutter, and changeup helping him limit contact or create groundball contact. The two-seam fastball operates typically in the 89-91 mph range running into right-handers with the cutter and slider missing bats in the other direction. The velocity maintains throughout the game be it first, second or seventh inning.

“A phenomenal individual, a quality human being who will be successful in life in or out of baseball.”
– Coach Melendez

The right-hander dealt with a back injury that forced him out for his junior season which gave the coaching staff the thought that he would be the closer but a needed spot start against a good hitting Louisiana Tech club altered those plans.

Analysis – Organization arm with the knowledge of pitching that could move him to the upper levels.

30th Rd Pick #902 Overall
Kyle Kasser SS Oregon
5’10 180 lbs

DOB 10/12/95
Slot Value  $125,000

The BABIP gods giveth and taketh away as Kasser led the Oregon squad in hitting last year with a .378 BABIP helping him towards a .352 average during his junior year and a .305 BABIP pushing it towards his .278 this season. A walk-on at Oregon that played all four infield positions, Kasser, is a player most organizations would like to have on their squad as he is going to play hard every day while playing multiple positions. Physically there is very little power but a good contact rate with more walks than strikeouts in his college career.

According to Coach Horton, Kyle and his family are the embodiment of baseball and teammate, giving more than they take and doing whatever his coach and teammates need of him. A solid contact player with an extremely high game IQ Kasser will get all he can out of his tools. Likely a second baseman at the pro level due to an average arm. Will get the most out of his speed with his IQ, reading the ball off the bat to take the extra base or off the pitcher.

Analysis – Org utility infielder who will make his teammates better around.

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