KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 11, 2020) - The Kansas City Royals made four selections on the second and final day of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft: Ben Hernandez, a right-handed pitcher from De La Salle Institute (Ill.) in the second round (No. 41 overall); Tyler Gentry, an outfielder from the University of Alabama in the third round (No. 76 overall); Christian Chamberlain, a left-handed pitcher from Oregon State University in the fourth round (No. 105 overall); and Will Klein, a right-handed pitcher from Eastern Illinois University in the fifth round (No. 135 overall).
They join yesterday’s first-round picks Asa Lacy, a left-handed pitcher from Texas A&M University, who was selected fourth overall, and Nick Loftin, a shortstop from Baylor University, who was selected 32nd overall, to represent the Royals’ 2020 Draft class.
Hernandez, 18, went 4-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 45.0 innings as a junior last season, but has not pitched in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Hernandez, according to MLB.com, was the “best pitcher” in the inaugural Prospect Development Pipeline League, in which he recorded 6.0 hitless innings over three outings. He also excelled in his appearance at the Under Armour All-America Game, striking out the side in the ninth inning. Hernandez is committed to the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Gentry, 21, hit .429 (24-for-56) in 17 games during the shortened 2020 season for Alabama, and ranked second in the SEC with a .554 on-base percentage and fifth in the conference with a .750 slugging percentage. As a sophomore in 2019, he led the Crimson Tide in batting average (.310), hits (65), home runs (13), RBI (42), slugging percentage (.552) and total bases (116), and ended his two-year career in Tuscaloosa with 17 home runs in just 266 at-bats. Gentry went undrafted out of Arlington High School (Tenn.) in 2017 and attended Walters State Community College in 2018, where he led the Senators to the finals of the Junior College Baseball World Series.
Chamberlain, 20, went 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA (2 ER in 22.0 IP) and 34 strikeouts (13.9 K/9) in four starts this season at Oregon State, including a career-high 12 strikeouts in 5.1 innings on Feb. 21 vs. Mississippi State. He worked mostly as a reliever in his first two years in college, making 37 of his 46 appearances out of the bullpen, and has recorded 140 strikeouts in 105.0 collegiate innings (12.0 K/9). As a freshman in 2018, he matched a College World Series record with 11 strikeouts in one relief outing, eight of which came on his curveball. Chamberlain went undrafted out of Reno High School (Nev.) in 2017.
Klein, 20, went 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA (9 ER in 24.1 IP) and a team-high 33 strikeouts (12.2 K/9) in four starts this season at Eastern Illinois. He was named the best pitcher in the Northwoods League by Baseball America in 2019, after going 2-2 with a 0.86 ERA (2 ER in 21.0 IP), 38 strikeouts (16.3 K/9) and seven saves for Lakeshore, earning league All-Star honors. Klein went undrafted in 2017 out of Bloomington North High School (Ind.).
Yesterday in the first round, Lacy became the fourth player chosen fourth overall in Royals history, joining Christian Colón (2010), Mike Stodolka (2000) and Jeff Austin (1998). He went 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA (2 ER in 24.0 IP), 46 strikeouts (17.3 K/9), just eight walks (3.0 BB/9) and a .111 opponents’ average in four starts as a junior, prior to the season being suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Loftin became the first college shortstop to be drafted by the Royals in the first round since Hunter Dozier was selected eighth overall in the 2013 Draft. Loftin was named preseason Big 12 Player of the Year by Baseball America and hit .298 in 14 games, before the 2020 season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Of the Royals’ six selections in the 2020 Draft, four were pitchers (including two left handers). They also selected one shortstop and one outfielder. Five of the six picks were college players (83.3%). Last season, 35 of the Royals’ 41 draft picks were from the college ranks (85.4%).
Beginning at 8:00 a.m. CT on Sunday, June 14, any player who was eligible for the 2020 First-Year Player Draft but was not selected, will be free to sign with any team.