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Royals sign 16-year-old pitcher Kaito Yuki

MLB.com

The Kansas City Royals today announced the signing of Japanese 16-year old pitcher Kaito Yuki. The Osaka, Japan, native just completed his junior high season in May and chose to sign a professional contract with the Royals over attending high school. Yuki, is a 6-2, 170 lb. right-handed pitcher who was born on May 12, 2002.

"We are excited to add Kaito Yuki to our Organization," said Rene Francisco, Royals Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Major League and International Operations. "We are very much looking forward to seeing him get started in Professional Baseball next year. I'd like to thank and congratulate our Pacific Rim coordinator Phil Dale and our scout in Japan Hiro Oya for the tremendous work in identifying and signing this young man."

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The Kansas City Royals today announced the signing of Japanese 16-year old pitcher Kaito Yuki. The Osaka, Japan, native just completed his junior high season in May and chose to sign a professional contract with the Royals over attending high school. Yuki, is a 6-2, 170 lb. right-handed pitcher who was born on May 12, 2002.

"We are excited to add Kaito Yuki to our Organization," said Rene Francisco, Royals Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Major League and International Operations. "We are very much looking forward to seeing him get started in Professional Baseball next year. I'd like to thank and congratulate our Pacific Rim coordinator Phil Dale and our scout in Japan Hiro Oya for the tremendous work in identifying and signing this young man."

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The announcement of Yuki's signing took place earlier today in his hometown of Osaka. In a quote provided by the Kyodo News, Yuki stated, "I wanted to play in the United States as soon as possible, rather than playing high school ball at Koshien Stadium (in Japan's iconic national championship)."

Kansas City Royals

Royals sign, introduce first-round pick Singer

Competitiveness on the mound impressed Royals
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The fiery video is widespread now, and Royals first-round Draft pick right-hander Brady Singer seemingly knew a question about it was coming as he was introduced to the Kansas City media after being signed Tuesday afternoon.

So, Brady, where does that competitiveness come from?

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KANSAS CITY -- The fiery video is widespread now, and Royals first-round Draft pick right-hander Brady Singer seemingly knew a question about it was coming as he was introduced to the Kansas City media after being signed Tuesday afternoon.

So, Brady, where does that competitiveness come from?

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"The woman in the front row," Singer said, pointing to his mother, Jacquelyn, who was seated in the first row along with Singer's father, Brett, at the press conference inside Kauffman Stadium. "She's extremely competitive and it comes right to me."

Jacquelyn immediately blushed, but later told MLB.com, "I guess I just don't like to quit, so he gets that from me."

The video shows Singer infuriated and beside himself as the tarp comes onto the field when he was pitching for the University of Florida. Singer was angered because the rain delay meant he would not pitch again that day.

Tweet from @ColinDeaverTV: I couldn't stop watching. pic.twitter.com/arq0Sr15Ei

But it was partly that competitive nature that lured scouts to grade him so highly out of Florida, which ultimately led to the Royals taking him with their first selection at No. 18 overall. Singer signed for $4.25 million, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, above the slotted amount of $3,349,300.

"That's just something that -- did I mean [for] it to happen? No," Singer said. "Did it happen? Yeah, it did. That's my emotion, that's my competitiveness. I don't think I'm ever going to go away from that."

Royals area scout Jim Buckley, who began scouting Singer in high school, said Singer was "probably the most competitive I've seen on the mound."

Of course, there was plenty of talent in Singer's right arm that wowed scouts as well. He was named the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy winner as the top player in college baseball. This season, as a junior, he went 12-3 with a 2.55 ERA.

Here are a few more highlights from the press conference:

What's next for Singer?

Royals general manager Dayton Moore: "We're going to sit down and talk about that together. We certainly want to get Brady's input on that as well. The most important thing is we transition in the right manner, to give him the best chance to get going in his professional career. "

What impressed you most about Singer?

Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg: "The pedigree, the track record. Obviously, you're looking at a pitcher that has performed on one of the highest stages. He was the player of the year, SEC pitcher of the year. College World Series champion. You don't get to do all those things if you don't do things really well. Brady's always been able to fill up the strike zone, he's able to throw both breaking pitches behind in the count. He does all the little things -- holds runners, fields his position."

On Singer's friendship with Jackson Kowar, his Florida teammate who signed with the Royals on Monday:

Singer: "Well, obviously, I've got a buddy on the team. He's been my roommate for three years. We were sitting in the dugout when the Draft was happening, and he walked up to me and said, 'You can't get rid of me yet. I just got picked by the Royals.' We were extremely happy. It's something really cool. We actually got to see some of our older guys do that the year before, or two years before. Just being able to play with him again, and hanging out with him and obviously both of us trying to help out the team as much as we can, it's a really cool thing."

What scouting report would you give on yourself?

Singer: "I feel like I fill up the strike zone. But I think the main thing is, I'm going to go out there and compete. I think that you've got to match the competitiveness in the box. I obviously sink the ball -- that's my main goal, to keep the ball on the ground. Main goal is to just try to get you out."

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

Kansas City Royals

Royals sign their 2nd overall Draft pick Kowar

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals signed their second overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, right-hander Jackson Kowar out of Florida, who was the club's first-round compensation selection and 33rd overall.

A source told MLB.com that Kowar signed for slightly over the slot value of $2,118,700, with a bonus of $2,147,500 and a $2,500 contingent bonus.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals signed their second overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, right-hander Jackson Kowar out of Florida, who was the club's first-round compensation selection and 33rd overall.

A source told MLB.com that Kowar signed for slightly over the slot value of $2,118,700, with a bonus of $2,147,500 and a $2,500 contingent bonus.

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Royals Draft Tracker

The Royals' top pick, right-hander Brady Singer, also out of Florida, remains unsigned. His slot value is $3,349,300. The club has until Friday to sign Singer.

Kowar, 21, posted a 10-5 record with a 3.04 ERA during his junior season with the Gators.

Kowar's final collegiate game was an elimination game in the College World Series -- the 6-foot-5 pitcher struck out a career-high 13 in a 6-1 win over Texas.

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

Kansas City Royals

Royals trade Herrera to Nats for 3 prospects

No. 8 INF Gutierrez, No. 15 OF Perkins, RHP Morel come to KC
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals continued their quest to restock the farm system as they traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals prior to Monday night's game against the Rangers.

In exchange, the Royals acquired three Minor Leaguers: infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, who was ranked as the Nationals' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, outfielder Blake Perkins, the No. 11 prospect, and right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals continued their quest to restock the farm system as they traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals prior to Monday night's game against the Rangers.

In exchange, the Royals acquired three Minor Leaguers: infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, who was ranked as the Nationals' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, outfielder Blake Perkins, the No. 11 prospect, and right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel.

Gutierrez, who is now ranked as the Royals' No. 8 prospect, will be optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Perkins, now the club's No. 15 prospect, will be assigned to Class A Advanced Wilmington and Morel will join the Surprise Royals (Rookie).

Herrera, who is eligible to be a free agent after this season, was believed by many to be the Royals' top trade asset as he had a 1.05 ERA with 14 saves.

"Kelvin, he's family," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "We've known Kelvin since he signed with us, since he was 16 years old. He's one of the very best competitors that I've ever been around, probably this organization has seen, truthfully. Without him, there's no way we can ever make it to a World Series, win a World Series.

"Just like I told him and [manager Ned Yost] told him, he's about winning championships, and he's got a chance to go over to Washington and compete to win a division and be in the playoffs, and win a World Series. Once we articulated that to him, he kind of perked up a little bit, and you could see his juices getting going a little bit."

Herrera took the news hard at first, he said.

"This is a moment that was painful, even though they've been talking about it a lot in media and social media," Herrera said. "This is a moment that I never wanted to see.

Tweet from @KelvinHerrera40: Thank you @Royals for everything these past 12 years, from the Glass family, to the FO, to my coaching staff, to my teammates, to every employee who made me feel family. I���m also very thankful for all our fans, you guys are the best and I���m gonna miss you all #ForeverRoyal pic.twitter.com/qmcKW7KmQi

"I've been playing with [Danny Duffy], [Mike Moustakas], [Salvador Perez], [Eric Hosmer] since I was 18 years old. Then we came here together, made me feel better. Then after that, we went to the World Series. Winning one of them was the best experience ever."

Video: TEX@KC: Broadcasters chat about the Herrera trade

Moore now has traded two assets, Jon Jay and Herrera, well before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"We'd like to be holding on to our players longer," Moore said, "but where we are in the standings and what we're faced with, how we're playing, if we can get the right deals, it's important to move ...

"[The three guys we got] we obviously like. We spent a great deal of time over the last couple weeks trying to find the right fits. I believe that we found three really high-quality guys. Gutierrez and Perkins are both elite-type defenders with upside with the bat. Makeup is very good."

Video: Moore, Yost talk Kelvin Herrera trade

Gutierrez, 23, hit .274 (63-for-230) with six doubles, three triples, five homers and 36 runs scored in 58 games for Double-A Harrisburg this season. He was also 10-for-11 in stolen-base attempts. He was added to the 40-man roster last fall.

MLB Pipeline wrote of Gutierrez: "The Nationals view Gutierrez as one of the better pure hitters in their system. He has a relatively simple inside-out stroke from the right side of the plate that produces hard contact across the whole field and fuels his projection as an above-average hitter. And while he hasn't yet figured out how to apply his raw power during games, club officials do expect him to clear more fences once he becomes more comfortable firing his barrel and turning on the ball."

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

Perkins, a 21-year-old switch-hitting outfielder, was selected in the second round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He hit .234/.344/.290 (59-for-252) with 11 doubles, a homer and 39 runs scored in 65 games with Class A Advanced Potomac.

Wrote MLB Pipeline of Perkins: "The Nationals helped Perkins become a switch-hitter upon entering the pro ranks, and the club is thrilled with his early returns from both sides of the plate. He made huge strides as a lefty in 2017, collecting 25 of his 39 extra-base hits including all eight of his home runs from that side. ... Perkins' plus speed translated to 31 steals in his first full season, and he should continue to swipe bags with ease thanks to his strong on-base skills."

Morel, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher from Samana, Dominican Republic, is in his first professional season after signing as a non-drafted free agent last July.

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

Kansas City Royals, Kelvin Gutierrez, Kelvin Herrera

Royals place Soler on DL in flurry of moves

Mondesi, R. Herrera, Peralta recalled from Triple-A Omaha
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals made several roster moves prior to Sunday's game against the Astros, starting with the expected one, placing outfielder Jorge Soler on the 10-day disabled list because of a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot which will sideline him at least six weeks.

The club also selected the contract of right-hander Wily Peralta from Triple-A Omaha, and recalled outfielder Rosell Herrera and infielder Adalberto Mondesi from Omaha as well. To make room, the Royals optioned infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow to Omaha.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals made several roster moves prior to Sunday's game against the Astros, starting with the expected one, placing outfielder Jorge Soler on the 10-day disabled list because of a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot which will sideline him at least six weeks.

The club also selected the contract of right-hander Wily Peralta from Triple-A Omaha, and recalled outfielder Rosell Herrera and infielder Adalberto Mondesi from Omaha as well. To make room, the Royals optioned infielder Ramon Torres and right-hander Scott Barlow to Omaha.

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"We wanted Barlow back throwing, and Torres back playing regularly," manager Ned Yost said. "Simple. Our whole goal was to get [reliever Brandon Maurer] and Peralta throwing well again, and that has been the case. We wanted Mondesi to be playing healthy again, and that has happened.

"Just wanted to get some younger kids up here, the guys we're going forward with."

The Royals claimed Herrera off waivers recently from the Reds. A 25-year-old switch-hitter, Herrera hit .278 at Omaha in 10 games with three doubles, two triples and a home run.

"He can play multiple positions," Yost said. "Plays all three outfield spots and third base. Going to be interesting to see him play."

Mondesi, 22, battled a hamstring injury in Spring Training and has played in 29 games at Omaha, hitting .250 with eight doubles, three triples and five home runs. He was 10-for-10 in stolen bases there.

Mondesi hit .181 in 72 games with the Royals the past two seasons entering Sunday's series finale at Kauffman Stadium.

"Gonna work him in easily," Yost said. "Play him 3-4 times a week. Get him into the flow and the mix. He's never had success up here, so we'll just pace him. Let him get his feet on the ground. Just ease into it."

Peralta, 29, was signed as a free agent from the Brewers in the offseason, but he struggled in Spring Training and was designated for assignment. He was re-signed and had a 4.37 ERA at Omaha in 18 games.

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

Kansas City Royals, Rosell Herrera, Adalberto Mondesi, Wily Peralta, Jorge Soler

KC's No. 1 pick Singer wins Howser Trophy

Florida right-hander drafted No. 18 overall by Royals
MLB.com

The Royals' top Draft pick, Florida right-hander Brady Singer, was honored Friday as the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy recipient, an award given annually to the top college baseball player in the nation.

Singer, who was the 18th overall pick on June 4, was a first-team All-America selection and 2018 SEC Pitcher of the Year as a junior. He's gone 12-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings this season. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound hurler completed at least seven innings in 11 of 15 starts -- including his first career shutout on May 4 at Texas A&M -- and led the SEC in wins and ERA during the regular season.

The Royals' top Draft pick, Florida right-hander Brady Singer, was honored Friday as the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy recipient, an award given annually to the top college baseball player in the nation.

Singer, who was the 18th overall pick on June 4, was a first-team All-America selection and 2018 SEC Pitcher of the Year as a junior. He's gone 12-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings this season. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound hurler completed at least seven innings in 11 of 15 starts -- including his first career shutout on May 4 at Texas A&M -- and led the SEC in wins and ERA during the regular season.

Singer, 21, was ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects list. He was previously drafted by the Blue Jays out of high school at No. 56 overall in 2015, but he did not sign, opting to honor his commitment to Florida.

"We were obviously very surprised [Singer was available], but our guys did a heck of a job lining up the board, staying in communication with each other, players' families, etc.," Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. "Our scout had Brady, and he had him in high school, so that really helped. So we felt very fortunate we didn't have to do a lot of digging at that point. We were very well aware of the makeup of who we were talking about. So, obviously, very excited that Brady fell there."

Video: Draft 2018: Royals draft RHP Brady Singer No. 18

Kansas City also selected Singer's teammate, right-hander Jackson Kowar -- MLB Pipeline's No. 15 Draft prospect -- with its 33rd overall pick, which was compensation for losing Lorenzo Cain to Milwaukee in free agency. Both Royals draftees are playing for the Gators in the College World Series this weekend, as Florida looks to repeat as champion. The Gators open play in Omaha on Sunday against Texas Tech.

Singer helped Florida punch its ticket to a fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament with a strong performance in the school's Super Regional win over Auburn on Monday. He outdueled Casey Mize, whom the Detroit Tigers drafted No. 1 overall last week, holding Auburn to two runs and striking out nine batters in 6 2/3 innings.

Singer won't be the only player in Kansas City's organization with a Dick Howser Trophy on his resume. Longtime Royals outfielder Alex Gordon won the award in 2005 as a junior at Nebraska. The trophy's namesake managed Kansas City from 1981-86, winning the World Series in '85.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Kansas City Royals

Royals' Draft adds polished pitching to system

KC pairs college arms with existing crop of position players
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' farm system was in need of polished, experienced talent. After the conclusion of Day 3 of the 2018 Draft, it's clear that need has been addressed.

Draft Tracker: Every Royals pick

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' farm system was in need of polished, experienced talent. After the conclusion of Day 3 of the 2018 Draft, it's clear that need has been addressed.

Draft Tracker: Every Royals pick

Of Kansas City's 43 picks, 34 came from the college ranks. After drafting 12 high schoolers in 2017 -- including three in the first five rounds -- the Royals selected just nine this year, most of them in the late rounds.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

By drafting players further along in their development, Kansas City aligned this year's crop of prospects with the timeline of its existing Minor League talent.

"I think they're gonna fit in really nice with the group that we have, players that we have in our system, especially the group in Lexington and Wilmington," scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. "This group should mesh in well."

The top five players on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Royals Prospects list all play at the Class A or Class A Advanced level and they are all position players -- Khalil Lee, Nick Pratto, Seuly Matias, MJ Melendez and Michael Gigliotti -- which may have spurred the club to spend its first five picks in this year's Draft on college pitchers.

"We wanted to make a concerted effort on getting some college pitching that we felt had high ceilings, and that could move quickly," general manager Dayton Moore said.

Aligning the timelines of its top prospects may set up the club in a similar position to a few years ago, when several blue-chippers such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Danny Duffy rose through the Minors together en route to a 2015 World Series title. Working together as prospects, they were able to develop chemistry from the get-go, and understand how to play as a team before even making it to the Majors.

Royals take college pitchers with first 5 picks

Video: Dayton Moore on Royals' first day Draft picks

"Several of these players that we've selected, they've obviously been in college baseball and they've been in programs that they've had to compete and have success at," Goldberg said. "They've played at high levels, and against obviously good competition."

While college players bring an element of poise and polish as prospects, the consensus opinion, in most cases, is that high school players present more potential because they are younger and have fewer innings on their arms. But Goldberg doesn't think that's the case with the Royals' 2018 selections.

"The one thing that I think is important, we didn't try to give up any ceiling," Goldberg said. "I know that it's been mentioned that college players don't have (as high of a) ceiling, but these guys that we've talked about, there's things that they do, and there's things that we also think that we can make a fix and work. When you put good players in a good competitive environment, they're just going to challenge each other. So there's still ceiling with the group we selected."

KC goes back to college on Day 2 of Draft

Video: Draft 2018: Angels draft RHP Aaron Hernandez No. 93

The Royals struck gold in that department with their first pick, as an early run on position players allowed Florida right-hander Brady Singer -- ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects -- to fall to the Royals at 18th overall.

Singer's slide was especially convenient for the Royals, who have the largest bonus pool of any club and are best equipped to sign the high-profile Gators ace. They didn't expect him to be available, but they were thrilled he fell into their lap.

Son of Royals' assistant GM drafted by Mets

"We felt very fortunate we didn't have to do a lot of digging at that point," Goldberg said. "We were very well-aware of the makeup of who we were taking. ... Very excited that Brady fell there."

With their next selection, the Royals grabbed Singer's teammate, Gators right-hander Jackson Kowar, with the 33rd overall pick and Virginia lefty Daniel Lynch at No. 34. Stanford left-hander Kris Bubic (No. 40) and Memphis righty Jonathan Bowlan (No. 58) rounded out the club's Day 1 selections.

The Royals took four college pitchers and four college outfielders among their nine picks on Day 2 in Rounds 3-10. Of the team's 43 picks overall, 26 were pitchers.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals

KC trades Jay to Arizona for 2 pitching prospects

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Royals' off-season goal of restocking their farm system got a turbo-charged boost the past three days with their picks in the MLB Draft.

The rebuild got another boost Wednesday when the Royals traded outfielder Jon Jay to Arizona for Minor League pitchers Elvis Luciano and Gabe Speier.

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ANAHEIM -- The Royals' off-season goal of restocking their farm system got a turbo-charged boost the past three days with their picks in the MLB Draft.

The rebuild got another boost Wednesday when the Royals traded outfielder Jon Jay to Arizona for Minor League pitchers Elvis Luciano and Gabe Speier.

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Luciano, an 18-year-old right-hander, will report to Burlington for rookie ball. He was signed as an international free agent out of Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic in October 2016, and last year he combined to go 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA between the Dominican Summer League and Arizona League, pitching his way onto MLB Pipeline's D-backs Top 30 Prospects list, ranking 26th.

"We feel he is just getting started in his career," Royals assistant general manager of baseball operations Scott Sharp said in a conference call. "We had a lot of people see him prior to him signing with Arizona."

Speier, a 23-year-old left-hander, will report to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Speier was 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA for Double-A Jackson. He originally was drafted by Boston in 2013. Since then he has been traded to Detroit, Atlanta and Arizona.

"Gabe is a Double-A pitcher, but still really young," Sharp said. "He just turned 23. He's got some power from the left side and gets a lot of ground balls. We feel like when you can add a left-hander who is young and has had some success, that helps your system."

Video: Sharp on Royals trading Jay for Speier, Luciano

Sharp said the Royals debated whether to wait on dealing Jay closer to next month's Trade Deadline.

"I think, primarily, you have to weigh the deals in front of you vs. the unknown," Sharp said. "Arizona sought out Jon, and they wanted Jon. We felt like if we could put a deal together that had some impact and some long-range ceiling to go ahead and do it, rather than wait for something to come along. We felt we should execute this and get more pitching into the system."

Jay, who hit .307 with one home run and 18 RBIs for the Royals, was signed during Spring Training primarily to replace Jorge Bonifacio, who was suspended for the first 80 games this season by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Bonifacio will come off the suspended list June 27.

But Sharp said the Jay trade wasn't necessarily connected to making room on the 25-man roster for Bonifacio.

"I don't think it really is," Sharp said. "Three weeks is an eternity in this league. Injuries, roster decisions are so unpredictable over three weeks. ... I don't think Bonifacio was an overwhelming thought in this because so many things can happen between now and the end of June."

Royals manager Ned Yost was a fan of Jay's from the time he showed up in Spring Training.

"I'm glad that he gets to go to a contender," Yost said. "He gets to go to a team that's in first place in their division right now and help them compete."

The Royals are expected to recall an outfielder from Triple-A Omaha to replace Jay in time for Thursday's game in Oakland.

Arizona will pick up the remainder of what is owed on Jay's $3 million contract.

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

Kansas City Royals, Jon Jay, Elvis Luciano, Gabe Speier

Son of Royals' assistant GM drafted by Mets

MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo has drafted hundreds of players over the years during the Major League Baseball Draft, but it was a player selected by the Mets on Wednesday that stood out to him over any name he called: His son, Mike Picollo.

The Mets picked Mike Picollo with the No. 980 overall pick in the 33rd round. From Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kan., he is a right-handed pitcher committed to play at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

KANSAS CITY -- Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo has drafted hundreds of players over the years during the Major League Baseball Draft, but it was a player selected by the Mets on Wednesday that stood out to him over any name he called: His son, Mike Picollo.

The Mets picked Mike Picollo with the No. 980 overall pick in the 33rd round. From Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kan., he is a right-handed pitcher committed to play at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Draft Tracker: Every Royals pick

It's obviously an honor for any parent to have their son drafted, but for someone as close to the game as Picollo, it was especially sweet.

"It was neat," Picollo said. "You sit here and you listen to 1,200 names a year. To hear your son, you can't help but be proud. Pretty cool."

Picollo was happy for his son to have realized his dreams, but he couldn't keep his analytical side away. Should Mike decide to forego his college eligibility, Picollo said his son will have to work at his game to succeed.

"He's worked hard," Picollo said. "It's always been a dream of his to play professional baseball, but it's just a step along the way. He's kind of a long-term projection type kid, so he's got a ways to go."

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals

KC goes back to college on Day 2 of Draft

Royals take only one high school player in first 10 rounds
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' first five selections in the 2018 Draft had one thing in common: They were all college pitchers.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Royals Draft pick

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' first five selections in the 2018 Draft had one thing in common: They were all college pitchers.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Royals Draft pick

Right-handers Brady Singer (No. 18), Jackson Kowar (No. 33) and Jonathan Bowlan (No. 58) and lefties Daniel Lynch (No. 34) and Kris Bubic (No. 40) were the Day 1 additions to a farm system in need of college arms, according to general manager Dayton Moore.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Royals take college pitchers with first 5 picks

Day 2 of the Draft on Tuesday was largely similar for the Royals, as they once again prioritized polished collegiate players over high school talent. With one of the more depleted farm systems in the Major Leagues, Kansas City hopes the crop selected this week can help revitalize its Minor League system.

Round 3: OF Kyle Isbel, UNLV
Kansas City chose Isbel as an outfielder, but he played a bevy of positions for the Runnin' Rebels. He's similar to current Royal Whit Merrifield in that he is comfortable both in the outfield and infield.

"He came here as a second baseman, we moved him to third because we had a need there, and then we had a need in center field this next year," UNLV coach Stan Stolte said. "He went out there and played it so well we just kept him there."

It makes sense that the club projects him as an outfielder, as two of the Royals Top 30 Prospects, Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez, are middle infielders.

Isbel is graded to be a strong contact bat with decent power. As a three-year starter for the Runnin' Rebels, Isbel is a polished talent, a safe addition to a farm system that has been burned by less-experienced high school players.

In 2016, Isbel earned Collegiate Baseball's Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team honors, but his junior season may have been his best. He slashed .357/.441/.643 and hit 14 home runs, doubling the total of his first two years combined.

Round 4: OF Eric Cole, Arkansas
Cole, Southlake, Texas, primarily plays right field, but has spent some time at designated hitter. His season is not over, as the Razorbacks begin Super Regional play in the College World Series this weekend.

He may already know where he's headed after he leaves Fayetteville, but he doesn't see this as a distraction to the team's goal of a national championship. If anything, he thinks it'll help.

"We've got a lot of guys that are about to get drafted, or have been drafted already," Cole said. "Kind of like our last go-around, we feel like. So we'll all kind of be playing for something since we know this is more than likely our last time putting on Arkansas jerseys."

Cole is a large reason for Arkansas' success, as he is one of the anchors of their batting order. With 13 homers, he's tied for the team lead. He will inject a powerful bat into the Royals' farm system.

Born in New Jersey, Cole grew up as a Yankees fan, even after moving to Texas. At Arkansas, however, he said about half of his friends and coaches are Royals fans, so he knows a bit about the team.

"I know they've got a big fan base," Cole said. "I've been to some games. It's a cool park. It's a good organization to be a part of, and I'm excited to get there."

Round 5: LHP Austin Cox, Mercer
Cox has been the Bears' ace for the past two seasons, starting 15 games as a sophomore and 17 as a junior, both team-highs. He operates with a fastball that usually floats around 94 mph, a power 12-6 curve, a slider and a changeup.

He logged a career-high 124 strikeouts this past year, and he cut his ERA from 5.69 to 4.52. While he allows a fair amount of good contact and runs, coach Craig Gibson thinks that comes as a positive.

"Our league is an offensive league, the ballparks are smaller. ... I think he was the premier arm in our league this year," Gibson said. "He's given up some hits, but he's a strike-thrower. His pitch count would get up sometimes because he strikes out so many guys."

Cox attended First Presbyterian Day School in Forsyth, Ga., where he was also a captain of the football team. First Presbyterian is the alma mater of former Royals pitcher John Rocker and current Triple-A Omaha lefty Richard Lovelady.

As the sixth college pitcher drafted by the Royals, Cox made it an even three lefties and three righties added to the farm in the first five rounds. 

"We wanted to make a concerted effort on getting some college pitching that we felt had high ceilings, and that could move quickly," Moore said after wrapping up Day 1.

Round 6: RHP Zach Haake, Kentucky
Haake spent just one year with the Wildcats, mostly appearing as a reliever. He finished the 2018 season 2-4 in 15 appearances with an 8.47 ERA, but he struck out 36 batters in 34 innings.

Prior to joining the big blue, Haake pitched at Arkansas State for one year. He finished his time with the Red Wolves having appeared in 11 games with a 6.57 ERA.

Haake then transferred to John A. Logan College, a junior college in Carterville, Ill., and had a stellar season with the Volunteers, going 8-1 with a 2.52 ERA and being named the No. 6 junior college prospect in the country by Perfect Game.

Round 7: RHP Tyler Gray, Central Arkansas
Gray was the 10th player picked by the Royals, and the eighth college pitcher.

He bounced between starting and relief roles in his first three years with the Bears before settling in as the team's ace as a senior. He finished this season with a 3.32 ERA in 14 starts, including two complete games.

Gray has good stamina, topping the 100-pitch mark 10 times during his senior year, including a 137-pitch marathon against Northwestern State.

Round 8: OF Jackson Lueck, Florida State
A switch-hitter, Lueck provided excellent power for the Seminoles, usually batting in the two-hole. He came in as a corner outfielder out of Orangewood Christian in Orlando, Fla., but was often used as a designated hitter at Florida State.

Lueck batted .245 during his junior year, a drop-off from his sophomore season's .318 clip. He improved his power, however, as his homer total rose from nine to a team-high 15.

In the 2017 ACC Tournament, Lueck went 7-for-16, mashing two homers and knocking in seven runs, including a walk-off shot against Notre Dame in the first round. His strong performance earned him ACC Championship MVP honors as he led the Seminoles to their seventh ACC Tournament title.

Round 9: OF Kevon Jackson, Queen Creek (Ariz.)
Jackson, the first high school player drafted by the Royals, is a speedy 5-foot-8, 160-pounder who bats from the right side. In his senior year, he hit .364 in 29 games with five triples and two homers.

Jackson is just the fourth position player chosen by Kansas City, all of whom are outfielders. He projects as a solid contact bat with a good glove and speed in center field.

He is the first Royals draftee born in the 21st century -- Jan. 14, 2001.

Round 10: LHP Austin Lambright, Central Oklahoma
Lambright played one season at Central Oklahoma after transferring from Abilene Christian. He finished the season with a 3.32 ERA in 25 appearances, starting in four games but mostly being used as a reliever, earning three saves. He struck out 52 in just 43 1/3 innings.

Lambright's twin brother, Brandon Lambright, is a pitcher in the Colorado Rockies' system, and was chosen in the 27th round of last year's draft. Both are from Friday Harbor, Wash.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 11 a.m CT.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals

Royals take college pitchers with first 5 picks

Gators' Singer (No. 18) and Kowar (33) lead Day 1 Draft haul
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Royals say they didn't necessarily plan to draft five college pitchers on Day 1 of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Royals Draft pick

ANAHEIM -- The Royals say they didn't necessarily plan to draft five college pitchers on Day 1 of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Royals Draft pick

But it happened to work out that way on Monday, which could, however, sync those pitchers up with the Royals' next wave of talented Minor Leaguers -- position players such as Khalil Lee, Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez -- who are developing in Class A ball.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

"We wanted to make a concerted effort on getting some college pitching that we felt had high ceilings, and that could move quickly," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "These are pitchers that we had history with, pitchers that we were comfortable with based on their makeup, their competitiveness. Also the fact that these guys pitched at a very high level against teams in the best conferences in the country."

With their first pick -- No. 18 overall -- the Royals selected Florida junior right-hander Brady Singer, who ranks No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Prospects list.

MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo called the selection of Singer "one of the steals of the first round," and MLB Network's Pedro Martinez labeled Singer the "safest pick of the Draft."

Singer, who is 6-foot-5, 180 pounds, has an above-average fastball that can touch 95-96 mph, according to scouts.

MLB.com's scouting report of him said: "Singer checks off all of the boxes teams are looking for out of a potential top pick. Long and lean, he has a terrific pitcher's body that has thus far proven to be durable. He'll throw his fastball ... with plus life. His slider plays well off of his fastball, a second above-average pitch he manipulates in terms of depth and velocity. His changeup continues to improve and should give him a third above-average offering. He commands the ball well, gets high marks for his makeup and is a plus competitor."

Video: Dayton Moore on Royals' first day Draft picks

The Royals were thrilled Singer fell all the way to No. 18.

"I liked it," Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. "We were obviously very surprised, but our guys did a heck of a job lining up the board, staying in communication with each other, players' families, etc. Our scout had Brady, and he had him in high school, so that really helped. So we felt very fortunate we didn't have to do a lot of digging at that point. We were very well-aware of the makeup of who we were taking about. So, obviously, very excited that Brady fell there."

Singer was 11-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 95 innings for Florida this season.

Video: Draft 2018: Royals draft RHP Jackson Kowar No. 33

The Royals went after another Gator with the 33rd overall pick, a compensation selection for losing Lorenzo Cain to free agency, selecting right-hander Jackson Kowar.

Kowar is also a 6-foot-5 junior. His fastball can touch 98 mph and regularly sits in the mid-90s. Kowar was MLB Pipeline's No. 15 prospect.

The Royals liked the idea of drafting teammates.

"The fact that they have worked together," Golberg said, "competed against each other and made each other better -- our only goal is they continue to do the same thing."

Video: Draft 2018: Royals draft LHP Daniel Lynch No. 34

With the 34th overall pick, compensation for losing Eric Hosmer to free agency, the Royals took Virginia left-hander Daniel Lynch, the No. 77 prospect per MLB Pipeline. Lynch has a plus-changeup with "pitchability," according to scouts.

Video: Draft 2018: Royals draft LHP Kris Bubic No. 40

With the 40th overall pick, the Royals took yet another pitcher, Stanford senior left-hander Kris Bubic, ranked the No. 49 prospect by MLB Pipeline, which called Bubic's changeup one of the best in the Draft.

And with their last pick on Day 1, the Royals took Memphis junior right-hander Jonathan Bowlan, who is 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds. Bowlan is No. 113 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 and can hit 97 mph with his fastball.

Video: Draft Report: Jonathan Bowlan, College pitcher

The Royals have the largest signing pool of any team at $12,781,900. They will have a allotment of $3,349,300 to sign Singer, $2,118,700 to sign Kowar, $2,066,700 to sign Lynch, $1,786,300 to sign Bubic and $1,168,300 to sign Bowlan.

The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage beginning at noon.

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

Kansas City Royals

Royals aim to restock farm system in '18 Draft

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

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.

View Full Game Coverage

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.

View Full Game Coverage

:: 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

AL Central prospects who are this close to callup

MLB.com

Prospects remain the lifeblood of Major League teams, and it's apparent in the American League Central with the White Sox, Royals and Tigers all in a rebuilding stage, while the contending Indians and Twins have prospects who are close to reaching the big leagues and could help down the stretch as they compete for the postseason.

The division boasts 18 players ranked among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects, including eight from Chicago, five from Minnesota, three from Detroit and two from Cleveland. So it's clear that plenty of talent is going to make its way into the division in the near future.

Prospects remain the lifeblood of Major League teams, and it's apparent in the American League Central with the White Sox, Royals and Tigers all in a rebuilding stage, while the contending Indians and Twins have prospects who are close to reaching the big leagues and could help down the stretch as they compete for the postseason.

The division boasts 18 players ranked among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects, including eight from Chicago, five from Minnesota, three from Detroit and two from Cleveland. So it's clear that plenty of talent is going to make its way into the division in the near future.

With that in mind, here's a look at five prospects -- one from each team -- who could make an impact in 2018.

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Bieber, RHP, Indians

Indians
Prospect: RHP Shane Bieber
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 8 (Indians)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Bieber excelled with Double-A Akron (1.32 ERA in four starts) and hasn't missed a beat since being promoted to Triple-A Columbus (1.16 ERA through five starts). Overall, the precision-based righty had a 1.23 ERA with 54 strikeouts against just three walks in 58 1/3 innings through his first nine outings.
ETA: Possibly later this season. Bieber was a blip on the organization's radar coming into 2018, but he has risen to the next-man-up region of the depth chart. If there were a setback in the MLB rotation, the righty now looks like a real possibility to be called.

Royals
Prospect: LHP Richard Lovelady
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 17 (Royals)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Lovelady is only 22 and is rising through the system at a quick rate. He has a plus fastball with late life and a slider that could be Major League-ready now. Lovelady is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 15 games at Triple-A Omaha this season.
ETA: Lovelady is not on the 40-man roster, but that could change when spots open up after the non-waiver Trade Deadline. There's a decent chance you'll see him at the big league level this season.

Tigers
Prospect: OF Christin Stewart
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 10 (Tigers)
Why you should keep an eye on him: The Tigers need impact bats for their rebuilding project, and Stewart is about as impactful of a bat as they have in their system. But the power-hitting left-handed batter has been hitting for average, too, in Triple-A Toledo.
ETA: Stewart could make his debut late in the 2018 season, possibly as a September callup.

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Gordon, SS, Twins

Twins
Prospect: SS Nick Gordon
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 4 (Twins), No. 30 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: After hitting .333/.381/.525 with 18 extra-base hits and seven stolen bases in 40 games at Double-A Chattanooga, Gordon was promoted to Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday. The son of former MLB closer Tom Gordon, he's also worked to improve his defense and is considered a capable shortstop.
ETA: Gordon could make his debut late this year, potentially as a September callup. Minnesota has a crowded middle infield with shortstop Eduardo Escobar and second baseman Brian Dozier, as well as shortstop Jorge Polanco set to return from his 80-game suspension in early July. But Dozier and Escobar are both impending free agents, so Gordon could establish himself as a regular next year.

Video: Eloy Jimenez on working hard, preparing for Majors

White Sox
Prospect: OF Eloy Jimenez
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 1 (White Sox), No. 3 (MLB)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Every rebuild has a cornerstone player or two, and the right-handed-hitting Jimenez appears to be that sort of presence for the White Sox. The Cubs may not have reached a third straight National League Championship Series in 2017 without acquiring lefty Jose Quintana at the Deadline, but in Jimenez, the White Sox received in return a potential offensive force for the next decade.
ETA: The White Sox certainly aren't rushing prospects, so he conceivably could spend the 2018 season in the Minors. But as general manager Rick Hahn has said, the good ones have a way of forcing the issue.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Shane Bieber, Nick Gordon, Eloy Jimenez, Richard Lovelady, Christin Stewart

Hill's pitches deceptive for umps and hitters

Royals reliever proving effective with unique sidearm motion
MLB.com