KANSAS CITY -- Going from the college ranks to professional baseball can be intimidating, so it helps to know you have a friend in a new organization. And coincidentally, that’s exactly the case for the Royals’ first two picks in the MLB Draft.
Texas A&M left-hander Asa Lacy, the Royals’ first selection (No. 4 overall) on Wednesday, and Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin, the No. 32 overall pick, already are pals. In fact, they roomed together in Japan last July playing for Team USA.
In a Zoom call on Thursday, both Lacy and Loftin said they will benefit from knowing each other as they embark on pro careers in the same organization.
“It’s super cool to play with a guy who is from Texas, who went to Baylor,” Lacy said of Loftin. “He’s a great guy, and I’m looking forward to getting some hitters to hit him some ground balls.”
Rooming together in Japan, Loftin noticed Lacy’s intensity virtually around the clock.
“He was one of the most focused guys I ever met,” Loftin said. “I remember I’d come into the hotel room and he’d already be thinking about his plans for recovery from his last start or plans for his next start. He was always so focused. And always preparing himself for that future start.
“They always say that when you’re prepared, you are more confident, and when you’re more confident you’re more successful. That’s him.”
Team USA, which also had the 2020 Draft’s top three picks (Spencer Torkelson, Heston Kjerstad and Max Meyer) on the roster, lost to Japan in the best of five, three games to two.
But both Lacy and Loftin played well. Loftin posted a .583 slugging percentage, and Lacy had a 2.25 ERA in three appearances.
Loftin said Kansas City fans are in for a real treat watching Lacy on the mound.
“Royals fans, you’re getting one of the best starters in all the game,” Loftin said. “It should be exciting for all of us to have him on our team. It’ll be awesome to be able to play behind him. I’m excited for this organization.”
Lacy can’t wait to get started.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Lacy said. “I’m just wanting to meet everyone and see Nick again. It’s going to be a happy time in life.”