KC bulks up on pitchers, college talent in Draft

June 14th, 2017

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' 2017 MLB Draft started with a first baseman, ended with a shortstop and contained a whole lot of pitchers in between.

From Monday night to Wednesday evening, Kansas City made 41 picks. Of those, 22 were pitchers (13 right-handers and nine left-handers). The Royals also took six catchers, six outfielders and five shortstops. They mostly drafted college players.

:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

"You try to take the best players available, and I think we attacked that pretty early," Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg said. "We got a lot of high-ceiling guys today that we'll do a lot of work on this summer. That was pretty exciting."

The Royals began their Draft by taking two high school position players -- first baseman Nick Pratto and catcher MJ Melendez. It was a departure from what the Royals had done in the past five Drafts, in which they spent at least two of their top three selections on pitchers.

For their next two picks, Kansas City returned to pitching, as they took college left-handers Evan Steele and Daniel Tillo. Beginning with the Steele pick, the Royals drafted a pitcher with 12 of their next 14 selections, including a stretch in which they took eight straight pitchers.

Tillo headlines KC's pitching-heavy Day 2

"Pitching is the currency of baseball," Goldberg said.

That run of pitchers began on Monday and spilled into Wednesday, as the Royals took five pitchers to begin the final day of the Draft.

"It was such a surreal moment when I got called," said left-hander Robert Garcia, whom the Royals took in the 15th round. "It didn't hit me until I got the phone call from the scout and they said, 'Congratulations.' I was like, 'Oh, I'm actually a Kansas City Royal.'"

Over the 30 rounds on Wednesday, the Royals selected a pair of teammates from the University of Texas -- right-hander Connor Mayes and utility man Travis Jones. They picked Andrew Beckwith, a right-hander who was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2016 College World Series, and shortstop Matt Morales, the son of Nationals scout Alex Morales.

The Royals also took center fielder Montae Bradshaw, who is the son of Terry Bradshaw -- not the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, but the Royals' Minor League hitting coordinator.

For Vanderbilt right-hander Collin Snider, who watched teammates Kyle Wright and Jeren Kendall get drafted on Monday, being selected by the Royals in the 12th round relieved building anxiety.

"If the opportunity came, I was going to take full advantage of it," said Snider, who plans on signing. "And that's what's going to happen."