KC Royals Draft Review: Pitching, Pitching And More Pitching

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View of the fountains in the outfield at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In these final rounds it becomes even more of a question mark as to whether or not these players will ever sign a contact. The massive singing bonuses are long gone, and high school and underclassmen routinely decide to stay in, or go to, college.

However, don’t think MLB stars cannot be found at this point in the draft. The Royals in fact have found some diamonds in the rough of their own.

Round 31: Brian Bien, Bowling Green, SS, Senior — Bats: R, Throws: R, 6-0/175

Bien failed to knock any out of the park his senior season, but he did bat .283 with 19 RBI. He struck out only 15 times in 173 at bats.

Round 32: Jake Kalish, George Mason, LHP, Senior — Bats: S, Throws: L, 6-2/210

Kalish, who was Willis’ teammate at Mason, was a versatile player for the Patriots. In addition to recroding five wins on the mound and a 3.44 ERA, he hit .301 with a home run and 25 RBI at the plate. He will enter the Royals’ farm system as a pitcher.

Round 33: Nathan Esposito, Concordia University (OR), C, Senior — Bats: R, Throws: R, 5-11/195

Esposito pulled off a rare feat his senior season at Division II Concordia, leading the team in total bases (103) and slugging percentage (.477), without hitting one home run. It was mostly due to his team-high 22 doubles and four triples. He also hit .338 on the season.

Round 34: Taylor Ostrich, Old Dominion (VA), 1B, Senior — Bats: L, Throws: R, 6-3/220

Ostrich thrived his final season at ODU, hitting .295 with four home runs and 47 RBI. But if you dig in to the stats a bit, he looks every more impressive. He led the team in walks (47), multi-hit games (16) and multi-RBI games (seven). At one point he recorded a hit in 14 straight games.

Round 35: Trey Stover, Hartford (CT), SS, Senior — Bats: R, Throws: R, 5-10/175

The Royals are taking a bit of a chance on Stover who frankly didn’t have a great college career. In four seasons, he batted just .259 with four home runs and 54 RBI. Most alarming are his 140 strikeouts to just 62 walks. However, baseball is a funny sport and sometimes scouts see something they feel can be tweaked to make certain players better. That could be the case with Stover.

Notable KC Royals 35th round draft pick: Johnny Damon, OF

Round 36: Tanner Stanley, Richmond (VA), OF, Junior — Bats: L, Throws: L, 5-10/180

In three seasons with the Spiders, Stanley proved he can hit the ball. He finished with a .303 career average and had four hits in a game four times in his career. He finished with 99 RBI and made four appearances on the hill, compiling a 3.00 ERA in three innings pitched.

Round 37: Jacob Ruder, Nixa (MO) HS, RHP — Bats: R, Throws: R, 6-7/220

No information available

Round 38: Dylan Horne, Walters State CC (TN), LHP, J2 — Bats: L, Throws: L, 6-2/215 pounds

According to Horne’s hometown newspaper, the pitcher had to endure Tommy John surgery while still in high school, followed by multiple knee injuries in college. He is certainly a question mark, but has until June 17 to decide to sign with the Royals or finish his career at Walters.

Notable MLB 38th round draft pick: Mark Buehrle, LHP

Round 39: Billy Endris, Florida Atlantic, OF, Junior — Bats: L, Throws: L, 6-3/190

Endris has had a modest career with with Owls, batting .264 with two home runs and 25 RBI. He did have am impressive .433 on-base percentage this past season. The outfielder could decide to return to the Owls for his senior season.

Notable MLB 39th round draft pick: Kenny Rogers, LHP

Round 40: Ford Proctor, Monsignor Kelly Catholic (TX) HS, C — Bats: L, Throws: R, 6-0/190

Proctor could possibly sign with the Royals, but a high school player taken this late could find himself in college with the hopes of being picked earlier in a future draft.

MLB drafts are not like NFL and NBA versions where progress, and sometimes stardom, is seen early and often. Baseball drafts take time to develop. While it’s too early to tell how the Royals did, one thing is for certain, they have upgraded their pitching prospects.

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