2011 MLB Draft: Kansas City Royals Review

2011 MLB Draft: Kansas City Royals Review

The Royals draft is the exact opposite of the Detroit Tigers draft: all upside and tools, little polish. Was the "we want college pitching" stuff just a smokescreen?

1) Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas HS: Starling is local but he's also the best athlete in the draft, with super-star potential as a center fielder. Power, speed, arm strength, he has everything except experience against top-notch high school competition. Best-case outcome: 30/30 player with excellent outfield defense and a hometown, Mauer-like franchise face. Worst-case outcome: Scott Boras gets him a giant contract, but it turns out Starling can't hit Double-A breaking stuff.

2) Cam Gallagher, C, Pennsylvania HS: Good defensive catcher, has power potential but swing mechanics need polish. He could be an All-Star catcher if the bat develops as hoped, but it will take time.

3) Bryan Brickhouse, RHP, Texas HS: Erratic and needs polish but can hit 94-95 MPH and has a promising curveball. Strong North Carolina commitment.

4) Kyle Smith, RHP, Florida HS: Roy Oswalt-type with good velocity out of a smallish-but-athletic body (6-0, 180). More polished than Brickhouse but not as physical. Strong University of Florida commitment.

5) Patrick Leonard, OF, Texas HS: Unrefined power hitter, some scouts think he needs to go to college and work on hitting breaking stuff, which he currently has problems with. Strong University of Georgia commitment.

6) Cesar Ogando, LHP, Caribbean Junior College (Puerto Rico): Outside-the-box pick but interesting, low-90s fastball, good curveball and changeup, bulky 6-3 body draws Sabathia comparisons.

7) Kellen Moen, RHP, Oregon: First college guy, an affordable senior with a 90-93 MPH fastball, solid curveball and changeup.

8) Evan Beal, RHP, Virginia HS: Doesn't throw hard, just 85-86 right now, but physically projectable. Strong University of South Carolina commitment.

9) Aaron Brooks, RHP, Cal State San Bernadino: Mediocre velocity, mediocre breaking stuff, but he got college hitters out due to superb control, 2.74 ERA with 78/8 K/BB in 92 innings.

10) Matt Murray, RHP, Georgia Southern: Low-90s fastball, decent changeup, but mediocre breaking ball will need to be improved if he wants to avoid bullpen.

OTHERS OF NOTE: OF Jerrell Allen (11th round, Delaware HS) is blazing fast but extremely raw. LHP Adam Schemenauer (12th round, Missouri HS) is another local talent of interest as a 6-9, 220 pound pitcher, but has a University of Louisville commitment. LHP Stephen Lumpkins (13th round, American University) is another huge (6-8) lefty but is raw for a college guy. 1B Dean Espy (15th round, UCLA) has polish but doesn't have normal first base power.

SUMMARY: Definite high-risk, high-reward draft. Starling is the epitome of that, but most of the draft has that theme. Starling could be a superstar, Gallagher could be an excellent regular catcher, and both Brickhouse and Smith could be front-line starters. But this draft won't come cheap given the college committments, and no one likely to make a big impact is close to the majors.

It will be at least three and probably five years before this group can be fairly assessed. Royals scouts have shown themselves adept at judging the quality of high school hitters (Hosmer, Moustakas) in recent drafts. How rapidly will Starling develop?  

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