It was the Royals, with the fourth overall pick, who amped up the drama Monday night in the Rule 4 (new-player) draft by waiting until the last moment before selecting shortstop Christian Colon from the California State at Fullerton.
The top three picks — which belonged to Washington, Pittsburgh and Baltimore — offered no surprises.
But the Royals kept everyone in suspense before choosing Colon, generally regarded as the most-advanced college middle infielder, instead of catcher Yasmani Grandal of Miami or left-handed pitcher Chris Sale of Florida Gulf Coast University.
What did they get?
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"Colon uses a distinct upper-cut in his swing, looking to lift and drive the ball," Baseball America reported. "That approach is not typical for a smaller middle infielder, but Colon shows terrific bat speed as his barrel connects with the ball.
"He also is patient and makes consistent contact; despite his power approach, he's one of the toughest players to strike out in Division I thanks to excellent barrel awareness. He's a skilled hitter who hits behind runners, bunts and executes the hit-and-runs effectively.
Baseball America contends Colon's range is "limited" and rates his speed and arm as "below average." On the plus side, the magazine said he does "exhibit fluid and quick fielding actions, and his playmaking ability is outstanding."
Colon is 6-foot and 180 pounds.
The Royals did not have a supplemental pick, which are awarded to teams that lose a top free agent. The draft resumes at 11 a.m. today with the second round.
The decision to select Colon followed a weekend packed with conflicting rumors and reports that pointed to a provisional agreement between the Royals and Grandal before indicating one or both sides backed away from a deal.
The stumbling block, all agreed, was money.
Grandal previously indicated he expected a signing bonus of roughly $6 million and citing as precedents the recent deals given to college catchers Matt Wieters and Buster Posey.
Wieters got $6 million from Baltimore as the No. 5 overall pick in 2007, while Posey got $6.2 million from San Francisco as the No. 5 overall pick in 2008.
The Royals' view, and that generally shared throughout baseball, is that Grandal, while a fine prospect, lacks the projectable skills of Wieters and Posey. Indications suggest the Royals were willing to pay $3-4 million.
While Sale was long viewed the club's preferred alternative to Grandal, speculation surfaced Monday afternoon that the Royals would choose a lower-cost alternative in order to spend more of their draft dollars on picks in the lower rounds.
Colon fits that profile.
Baseball America ranked Colon as the draft's No. 9 prospect; ESPN analyst Keith Law ranked him at No. 18.