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MLB News

KC takes two-way HS star, then hits college scene

June 10, 2016

KANSAS CITY -- Track every Royals pick from Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft, which consisted of Rounds 3-10. The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.Round 3 (103rd overall): CF Khalil Lee, Flint Hill High School After selecting right-hander

KANSAS CITY -- Track every Royals pick from Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft, which consisted of Rounds 3-10. The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.
Round 3 (103rd overall): CF Khalil Lee, Flint Hill High School
After selecting right-hander A.J. Puckett with their first pick in the Draft on Thursday, the Royals selected another pitcher with their second, only this time they expect him to play in the outfield. The Royals selected center fielder and left-hander Lee with the 103rd pick in the Draft on Friday.
In his senior year at Flint Hill High School in Virginia, Lee showcased himself as a good hitter with decent speed and power. There were some concerns about his ability to make contact, but he still received several college offers as's 40th-ranked high school senior. Lee, who is the 149th-ranked prospect on's Top 200 list, has a commitment to play college baseball at Liberty.

Last season, Lee was named Virginia State's Baseball Player of the Year by several outlets, including USA Today. The 5-foot-10, 182-pound outfielder/pitcher went 7-0 with a 0.33 ERA, while hitting .471 with a .634 on-base percentage.

Round 4 (133rd overall): RHP Jace Vines, Texas A&M
In the fourth round, the Royals selected another pitcher, taking Texas A&M right-hander Vines with the 133rd pick. After a season at Tyler Junior College, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound pitcher had his ups and downs. He went 6-1 in 11 starts at A&M, recording a 4.87 ERA. He averaged just under one strikeout per inning, with a 1.46 WHIP.
:: Complete 2016 Draft coverage ::
Vines' numbers were better across the board as a first-year player in JUCO. As a 20-year-old, he went 10-1 with a 1.77 ERA, giving up nearly seven hits per nine innings. The right-hander has some solid offspeed pitches, and he will look to round out his game at the next level.
Round 5 (163rd overall): SS Nicholas Lopez, Creighton
Over the past few years, the Royals have emerged as one of the best defensive teams in all of baseball, and their fifth-round selection fits right in with that M.O., selecting Lopez from Creighton.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound shortstop is touted as a glove-first player, and he's one of the better defensive shortstops in the Draft. Oftentimes, players selected at that position are asked to move elsewhere in the infield, but it seems as though Lopez has the potential to stay put.
Offensively, he's a decent hitter with good plate discipline. He doesn't have the most pop, but he was able to get on base effectively, posting a .387 on-base percentage last season. He also walked 26 times in 55 games as a junior, which is nearly three times as many walks as Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has recorded through 59 games this season.
Round 6 (193rd overall): CF Cal Jones, Dadeville HS
For the second time in the Draft, the Royals picked an outfielder out of the high school ranks, selecting Jones, who was not ranked on's Top 200 list.
The 18-year-old, who has signed with Alabama for college baseball, said in an interview with that he's "always dreamed of going to Alabama to play baseball." It remains to be seen if he will make the jump to the Majors, though that was most likely a factor that the Royals have already accounted for.
Round 7 (223rd overall): RHP Travis Eckert, Oregon State
Coming into the Draft, director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg said there was a solid group of outfielders in addition to right-handed pitchers. That seems to be on the mind of the staff, as the Royals have stayed within those two positions outside of one pick. With the 223rd pick in the Draft, they selected another right-hander in Eckert.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Eckert was not ranked among's Top 200 prospects. He was selected by the Giants in the 20th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, but the 22-year-old opted to return to college for his senior season.
That decision certainly helped his Draft stock. As a senior, Eckert went 6-4 with a 3.28 ERA. He pitched 93 1/3 innings across 14 starts, posting 66 strikeouts to 20 walks. At this point, his fastball is in the low-90s and his offspeed stuff is still a work in progress, but the building blocks are in place for him to become a solid prospect.
Round 8 (253rd overall): 1B Chris DeVito, New Mexico
The Royals took their second infielder of the Draft, choosing DeVito with the 253rd pick. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound first baseman is a power hitter who goes by the nickname Red Hercules.
As a freshman, DeVito wasn't much of a contributor, but he improved nearly across the board each year of college. His batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and fielding percentage all rose after each season. By the end of his junior season, his .685 slugging percentage ranked first among Lobos players.
Round 9 (283rd overall): RHP Walker Sheller, Stetson
In his junior season, Sheller had a streak of 17 straight outings without allowing a run. In that stretch, which spanned 22 innings, Sheller walked just four batters and gave up one extra-base hit.
He ended the year with a 1.38 ERA out of the bullpen, pitching a total of 45 2/3 innings. Sheller has experience as both a relief pitcher and as a starter, though he projects as the former.
Round 10 (313rd overall): LHP Richard Lovelady, Kennesaw State
The Royals saved the best (name) for last. The team drafted Lovelady, who was the fifth pitcher selected by the Royals and the first left-hander.
Out of the bullpen, Lovelady was a force last season. He held opponents to a .186 batting average and didn't give up a home run. His 2.96 ERA led Kennesaw State, as he was the only pitcher to make 37 appearances.

Scott Chasen is a reporter for based in Kansas City.