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Royals aim to restock farm system in '18 Draft

Kansas City can boost rebuild efforts with five picks in top 58
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' primary objectives this season were to shave payroll, which they have done, and to restock the farm system. This year's Draft, in which the Royals have five picks in the top 58, should help turbo charge that rebuilding process.

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 5 p.m. CT. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 11 a.m. CT.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' primary objectives this season were to shave payroll, which they have done, and to restock the farm system. This year's Draft, in which the Royals have five picks in the top 58, should help turbo charge that rebuilding process.

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 5 p.m. CT. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 11 a.m. CT.

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:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Royals, whose first selection is the 18th overall pick.

In about 50 words
The Royals would be delighted if they can score with their high picks the way they did last year when they grabbed first baseman Nick Pratto with the 14th overall pick and catcher MJ Melendez with the 52nd overall pick. Pratto, the Royals' No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and Melendez, their No. 4 prospect, each have scouts buzzing about their potential. General manager Dayton Moore has hinted each could have a quick path to the big leagues.

The scoop
Lonnie Goldberg is in his eighth season as scouting director and is certainly hoping to improve upon his first-round selections, which have been hit and miss -- Bubba Starling, Kyle Zimmer, Hunter Dozier, Brandon Finnegan, Foster Griffin, Ashe Russell and Pratto. Starling and Zimmer have been plagued by injuries, and Russell, the Royals' top pick in 2015, has an uncertain future because of confidence issues on the mound. Russell hasn't pitched since a brief appearance in rookie ball in 2016.

On the plus side, Goldberg scored with the selection of Finnegan, who was part of the 2015 trade to get Johnny Cueto, a deal instrumental to the Royals' World Series title in 2015. Dozier is on the 25-man roster now. Griffin impressed the Royals' coaching staff in Spring Training and could see time in the big leagues at some point later this season. We should also mention that Goldberg drafted left-hander Sean Manaea with the 34th overall pick in 2013 -- Manaea, who threw a no-hitter for the A's earlier this season, was traded to Oakland in the Ben Zobrist deal, another trade that helped secure that 2015 title.

First-round buzz
Callis notes the Royals could use their 18th overall pick on Jordyn Adams, an outfielder from Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C.

"If the Royals want Adams, they probably have to take him here to ensure they get him," writes Callis, who also reports the Royals have heavily scouted third baseman Jordan Groshans, a high schooler out of Texas.

Video: Mayo breaks down Top 200 Draft prospects

Money matters
The Royals have the largest bonus pool ($12,781,900) of any team, thanks to compensatory picks for losing free agents Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain.

Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the Draft has an assigned value, and the total for each of a club's selections equals what it can spend in those rounds without incurring a penalty. Any bonus money above $125,000 given to an individual player picked in rounds 11-40 also counts against a team's allotment.

The Royals' 18th overall pick has a signing allotment of $3,349,300, while their No. 33 pick is at $2,118,700 and their No. 34 pick is at $2,066,700.

Shopping list
The Royals' farm system has not received glowing rankings as of late, though Moore believes the talent level in the lower Minors -- where his next wave of potential stars reside -- can match any team's. That would be players such as the Royals' No. 1 prospect Khalil Lee, Pratto, No. 3 prospect Seuly Matias and Melendez. As always, the Royals, like all teams, will be hungry for pitching and there are some intriguing high school arms in this year's Draft, per MLB Pipeline. As stated, Moore's mission is to reload the Minor League system, and he and Goldberg will have plenty of ammo with all those high picks.

Royals Top 30 prospects

Trend watch
Three of the last four Royals' first-round picks came right out of high school.

Rising fast
Left-hander Richard Lovelady was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 Draft and has soared through the system. Lovelady, a reliever, has a plus fastball and plus secondary pitches to go with a deceptive motion. At Triple-A Omaha now, Lovelady could see time in the Majors after the Trade Deadline.

Cinderella story
Right-hander Jakob Junis was a 29th-round pick in 2011 and after a solid rookie season in 2017 (9-3, 4.30 ERA), Junis has emerged as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher with a bright future.

In The Show
Ten members of the Royals' current 25-man roster were Royals draft selections: Jason Adam (2010, 5th round); Danny Duffy (2007, 3rd round); Tim Hill (2014, 32nd round); Jakob Junis (2011, 29th round); Kevin McCarthy (2013, 16th round); Eric Skoglund, (2014, 3rd round); Dozier (2013, 1st round); Whit Merrifield (2010, 9th round); Mike Moustakas (2007, 1st round); Alex Gordon (2005, 1st round).

Video: NYY@KC: Merrifield collects 3 hits, swipes 3 bags

The Royals' recent top picks
2017: Nick Pratto, 1B, Class A Lexington
2016: No selection
2015: Ashe Russell, RHP, injured/unassigned
2014: Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Reds' Minor League system
2014: Foster Griffin, LHP, Class A-Advanced Northwest Arkansas
2013: Hunter Dozier, INF, Royals

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals