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Royals 'thrilled' to draft left-hander Lacy at No. 4

@FlannyMLB
June 11, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- Are the Royals getting the next Blake Snell? Clayton Kershaw? Al Leiter? Those are just some of the comparisons to left-hander Asa Lacy, whom the Royals took with the No. 4 pick in the MLB Draft on Wednesday night. Lacy, a 21-year-old out of Texas A&M University,

KANSAS CITY -- Are the Royals getting the next Blake Snell? Clayton Kershaw? Al Leiter?

Those are just some of the comparisons to left-hander Asa Lacy, whom the Royals took with the No. 4 pick in the MLB Draft on Wednesday night. Lacy, a 21-year-old out of Texas A&M University, was considered by MLB Pipeline to be the top left-hander in the Draft.

Draft Tracker: Complete pick-by-pick coverage

Lacy becomes the highest-drafted player out of Texas A&M -- the highest previously was left-hander Jeff Granger, taken by the Royals at No. 5 in 1993.

The Royals also selected Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin at No. 32 in the Competitive Balance Round A.

2020 Draft Central

Most mock drafts had Lacy going at either No. 2 or No. 3. Many observers thought Kansas City then might take outfielder Zac Veen, but the Royals couldn’t pass on Lacy when he fell to them.

General manager Dayton Moore said in a Zoom call late Wednesday night that the Royals were prepared to take a position player at No. 4. But the scouting department, led by assistant general manager Lonnie Goldberg, received some intel earlier Wednesday that Lacy and third baseman/outfielder Austin Martin could both possibly fall to No. 4.

“We made the advance decision,” Goldberg said, “that if that scenario happened, we would take Asa Lacy. ... There just aren’t that many [people] on this earth with his kind of talent.

“We were thrilled. It’s not like we went to bed last night thinking Asa Lacy would be there at No. 4. No way.”

Interestingly, the Royals were perhaps even more stunned that Loftin fell to No. 32. The Royals had rated Loftin a high first-rounder, so high that if Lacy hadn’t fallen to No. 4, they might have taken Loftin over Martin at No. 4.

Lacy, who was drafted by the Indians in the 31st round in 2017 but opted to go to college, had a 0.75 ERA as a junior this season and struck out 46 batters in 24 innings before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the season. Opponents hit just .111 against him in four starts.

As a sophomore, Lacy ranked third in the NCAA with a .162 opponents' batting average, and he was selected to the 2019 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.

“We had ranked him the No. 1 pitcher in the Draft,” Goldberg said. “We have a long history with him going back to his sophomore year [in high school] and Team USA. For us to be able to add him into the mix with the group we have ... he’s a kid with four plus pitches with an incredible compete level. He’s an animal on the field.

“He’s got no-hit stuff each time he goes out there. His coming to us is a perfect fit.”

Lacy immediately sent a text message to the Royals after being drafted, saying, “This is exactly where I want to be.”

Scouts have raved about Lacy’s fastball, which has a good downhill plane and can reach the upper 90s. Lacy also possesses a curveball and a hard slider in the low-to-mid 80s. His changeup grades above average.

There has been some belief among scouts that Lacy, whose nickname was "Ace" at Texas A&M, can even get better once he learns to harness his stuff.

“He doesn’t even have to have great command to get hitters out,” Goldberg said.

Lacy will join a young crop of impressive Royals pitching prospects that includes Brady Singer (No. 2 per MLB Pipeline), Daniel Lynch (No. 3), Jackson Kowar (No. 4) and Kris Bubic (No. 6).

The slot bonus money for the No. 4 pick is $6,664,000.

The Draft continues on Thursday with Rounds 2-5. The MLB Network preview show begins at 3 p.m. CT, with live coverage on MLB Network and ESPN2 beginning at 4 p.m. CT. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on the Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.

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