The Kansas City Royals finished out Friday’s second day of MLB’s rule 4 draft by picking four college players.
Royals GM Dayton Moore seems to have a distinct preference for collegiate prospects in 2014. Out of 12 picks in the first 2 days, the Royals have selected 8 college players, and 7 out of 8 on the; second day. Moore selected TCU starter Brandon Finnegan with the no. 17 overall pick on Thursday.
Round 7—Brandon Downes, OF, Virginia, 21
The Royals took power-hitting CF Downes out of Virginia despite hitting just .218 his junior year. He did slam 7 home runs on the 2014 season, with 2 coming off Toronto Blue Jays no. 9 overall selection Jeff Hoffman. Downes was more impressive his sophomore year, mashing 37 extra base hits: 20 doubles, 7 triples, and 10 home runs).
You can see video of him here:
“I’m shocked at where we got him if you go back and look at what he did as a sophomore,” Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg said to Dick Kaegel of Royals.com. He also said that a hand injury held back Downes his junior year.
Downes ranked no. 165 on Baseball America’s list of 500 top prospects for the 2014 draft.
Round 8—Ryan O’Hearn, 1B, Sam Houston State, 20
O’Hearn is a big (6-3, 200lbs) 1st base prospect that can also play the outfield. He’s a left handed batter whose power jumped his junior year with 8 home runs, after hitting 3 total his freshman and sophomore seasons.
You can see video of O’Hearn in action by clicking here
Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg told Royals.com’s Dick Kaegel, “We wanted to try to get a left-handed bat in the Draft and some of those guys get taken early. O’Hearn was a guy our scouts believed in early in the year. He’s a real good defensive player, and he gives us flexibility — he can play the outfield and first base.”
Basseball America ranked O’Hearn no. 307 in their top 500 prospects for the 2014 draft.
Round 9—Brandon Thomasson, OF, Tennessee Tech U, 22
Brandon Thomasson slammed the 2nd most home runs in the 2014 NCAA Division I season with 22. He also had the 2nd highest slugging percentage and .721. Clearly, power is the calling card for the four-year senior who stands 6′ 4″ 215lbs. Thomasson batted .337 with 46 extra-base hits in 58 games.
Thomasson was named to Collegiate Baseball’s magazine All-America team for 2014.
You can see some highlights of Tennessee Tech that include Thomasson here.
Round 10—Nick Green, RP, University of Utah, 23
With their final pick of day 2, the Royals took lefty closer Nick Green. Green is a 5th year senior whose 70 career appearances for Utah all came in relief. He’s likely projects as a lefty specialist.
Royals director of scouting Lonnie Goldberg told Dick Kaegel of Royals.com, “Our cross-checker told me, ‘Look, you have to take this guy, he’s got a plus slider.”
Overall, the Royals appeared to be looking for signability guys that give them some room to pay earlier picks. While Downes looks like a guy that might demand a higher signing bonus than his slot due to a sub-par season caused by injury, Nick Green and Brandon Thomasson are seniors with little negotiating leverage because they have exhausted their collegiate eligibility. Both should sign cheap, and give room to sign Downes.