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Royals gearing up for baseball draft

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 8:19 p.m.

The Star’s Top 10 overall prospects

OF Byron Buxton (6 feet 2, 170 pounds), Appling County High School, Baxley, Ga.: Has five-tool potential and generally viewed as the best non-pitching prospect – if not the best overall.

RHP Mark Appel (6-5, 215), Stanford: Viewed as consensus No. 1 overall pick until inconsistent spring raised small doubts; still, his fastball hits 98 mph and his hard slider is a killer pitch.

C Mike Zunino (6-2, 220), Florida: Solid tools but draws bigger raves for game skills and seen as a bankable long-term contributor.

SS Carlos Correa (6-3, 185), Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R.: Viewed as the best Puerto Rican prospect since Carlos Beltran; scouts say he has the quicks to play short and the pop to play third.

RHP Kyle Zimmer (6-4, 220), San Francisco: Zoomed up draft boards this spring by flashing a mid-90s fastball and a plus curve with a nasty attitude to match.

RHP Kevin Gausman (6-4, 185), Louisiana State: A draft-eligible sophomore whose fastball and change-up are plus pitches but scouts say his breaking ball (slider and/or curve) must improve.

OF Albert Almora (6-1, 175), Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens, Fla.: A line-drive hitter with plus defensive skills who was USA Baseball’s athlete of the year in 2011.

RHP Michael Wacha (6-6, 200), Texas A&M: Generally viewed as a notch below the Appel-Zimmer-Gausman troika, Wacha climbed draft boards by mixing plus command with a killer change-up, which can be devastating when paired with a low-90s fastball.

RHP Marcus Stroman (5-9, 185), Duke: His size will scare off some teams, but displays a deep repertoire; most scouts project him as a reliever.

RHP Lucas Giolito (6-6, 220), Harvard-Westlake High School, Studio City, Calif.: A likely top-three pick before being diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament – that’s the Tommy John ligament; rehab work appears promising.

Draft facts

What: First-Year Player Draft

When: Monday through Wednesday

Where: Round one and the first compensation round will start at 6 p.m. Monday Central time at MLB Network Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J.; rounds 2-15 start at 11 a.m. Central time Tuesday (via conference call) at MLB headquarters in New York; rounds 16-40 start at 11 a.m. Wednesday (via conference call) at MLB headquarters in New York.

Time allotted: Clubs are permitted five minutes to make their selection in the first round, one minute during the compensation round and round 2-10; all picks after round 10 are to be made with delay.

Signing deadline: 4 p.m. Central time, July 13.

Bonus money available for picks in first 10 rounds

One provision in the new labor agreement is prescribed bonuses for every pick through the 10th round. Teams get to allocate their pool in any manner as long as they don’t exceed their total.

Those teams that exceed their total are subject to a punitive tax and can lose picks in future drafts. Bonuses awarded after the 10th round do not count against a team’s budget unless they exceed $100,000.

Teams that don’t sign a player lose that’s player’s slotted bonus from their overall pool.

Here is the team-by-team breakdown, including total number of picks through the 10th round and total budget:

Minnesota Twins: 13 picks; $12,368,200

Houston Astros: 11 picks; $11,177,700

San Diego Padres: 14 picks; $9,903,100

St. Louis Cardinals: 14 picks; $9,131,100

Toronto Blue Jays: 14 picks; $8,830,800

Oakland Athletics: 13 picks; $8,469,500

Seattle Mariners: 11 picks; $8,223,400

Chicago Cubs: 12 picks; $7,933,900

New York Mets: 12 picks; $7,151,400

Boston Red Sox; 12 picks; $6,884,800

Baltimore Orioles: 10 picks; $6,826,900

Milwaukee Brewers: 12 picks; $6,764,700

Cincinnati Reds: 12 picks; $6,653,800

Colorado Rockies: 12 picks; $6,628,300

Texas Rangers: 13 picks; $6,568,200

Pittsburgh Pirates: 11 picks; $6,563,500

Royals: 10 picks; $6,101,500

Chicago White Sox: 11 picks; $5,915,100

Los Angeles Dodgers: 11 picks; $5,202,800

Florida Marlins: 10 picks; $4,935,100

Philadelphia Phillies: 12 picks; $4,916,900

Cleveland Indians: 10 picks; $4,582,900

Washington Nationals: 10 picks; $4,436,200

New York Yankees: 11 picks; $4,192,200

San Francisco Giants: 10 picks; $4,076,400

Atlanta Braves: 10 picks; $4,030,800

Tampa Bay Rays: 10 picks; $3,871,000

Arizona Diamondbacks: 10 picks; $3,818,300

Detroit Tigers: nine picks; $2,099,300

Los Angeles Angels: eight picks; $1,645,700

Four for the Show?

RHP Mark Appel, Stanford: 14 games/14 starts, 9-1 with a 2.37 ERA, 116 strikeouts and 24 walks in 110 innings.

RHP Kevin Gausman, Louisiana State: 15 games/15 starts, 10-1 with a 2.84 ERA, 125 strikeouts and 24 walks in 107 2/3 innings.

RHP Kyle Zimmer, San Francisco: 13 games/13 starts, 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA, 104 strikeouts and 17 walks in 88 1/3 innings.

RHP Michael Wacha, Texas A&M: 15 games/15 starts, 8-1 with a 2.21 ERA, 107 strikeouts and 17 walks in 106 innings.

First-round draft order

Houston Astros

Minnesota Twins

Seattle Mariners

Baltimore Orioles


Chicago Cubs

San Diego Padres

Pittsburgh Pirates

Florida Marlins

Colorado Rockies

Oakland Athletics

New York Mets

Chicago White Sox

Cincinnati Reds

Cleveland Indians

Washington Nationals

Toronto Blue Jays

Los Angeles Dodgers

St. Louis Cardinals (from Los Angeles Angels for 1B Albert Pujols)

San Francisco Giants

Atlanta Braves

Toronto Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2011 first-rounder RHP Tyler Beede)

St. Louis Cardinals

Boston Red Sox

Tampa Bay Rays

Arizona Diamondbacks

Milwaukee Brewers (from Detroit Tigers for 1B Prince Fielder)

Milwaukee Brewers

Texas Rangers

New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox (from Philadelphia Phillies for RHP Jonathan Papelbon)

Let’s put the disclaimer right up front. We don’t know who the Royals are going to take Monday with the fifth overall pick in what Major League Baseball officially calls the First-Year Player Draft.

That’s partly because the Royals don’t know either — more accurately, they don’t know what the four teams ahead of them are going to do. It was just last year that Seattle scrambled numerous draft boards by making an unexpected choice with the second pick.

And the Mariners, this year, have the third overall pick behind Houston and Minnesota and just ahead of Baltimore. So who knows?

But there is also gamesmanship and no shortage of disinformation in the final days coming from the clubs themselves. That stems from a desire to keep other clubs from learning their preferences but also to limit the expectations of players and their agents.

It is why Royals general manager Dayton Moore can say, with nearly a straight face, that he expects his club to select a high school shortstop. While there is one among the draft’s top tier of talent — Puerto Rico’s Carlos Correa — the Royals need pitching.

Specifically, they need an advanced college pitcher whose development track to the big leagues can conceivably be measured in months instead of years.

Scouts generally agree that this year’s draft offers three such possibilities: Stanford’s Mark Appel, Louisiana State’s Kevin Gausman and San Francisco’s Kyle Zimmer. All three are right-handed.

The question is this: Will any of the three be available when the Royals’ turn arrives?

Almost certainly, Appel will be gone. Most draft projections show Houston selecting him with the first pick. Those that don’t show him unlikely to fall past Minnesota at No. 2, but the general view is either Gausman or Zimmer — maybe both — will be available.

If so, Moore and his lieutenants are unlikely to look elsewhere. If, however, Gausman and Zimmer are both off the board, the Royals face a decision:

Do they pick a pitcher from the next tier, such as Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha or Duke right-hander Marcus Stroman?

Or do they shift gears and pick the best non-pitcher available? That’s what they did last year when, also picking fifth, they saw the draft’s top four pitching prospects snapped up before their turn came.

A year ago, the Royals turned to outfielder Bubba Starling, a multi-sport athlete from Gardner, Kan. This year, it might be Correa. Or it could be Florida catcher Mike Zunino or, if he somehow drops to five, Byron Buxton, a high school outfielder from Georgia.

Just remember, despite what anyone says, nobody really knows at this point.

To reach Bob Dutton, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.

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