Draft signings update -- Signability is once again key
By Craig Weddle
With amazing speed, Kansas City has already signed 24 of the players they drafted less than two weeks ago. The Royals have inked picks #2, 4-15, 18, 21, 23-25, 27-31, and 34. That accounts for nearly all the players the team intends to sign this year. The only still ongoing negotiations involve Alex Gordon (1), Chris Nicoll (3) and Justin Bristow (22), and Nicoll should be an easy sign. I don't expect the negotiations with Gordon to be drawn out now that Nebraska has been eliminated from the College World Series, as two other 3rd basemen taken in the top 5 (Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun) have already signed. Gordon's people and the Royals discussed the parameters of a deal before the draft, so each side knows what the other expects. Negotiations with Bristow will go for a while, but I'm still hopeful.
Other players drafted that the team intends to be 'Draft and Follow' guys include picks #16, 17, 19, 20, 32, 33, and 36-50.
All the players signed thus far have reported or will report to rookie ball soon. The Advanced rookie Idaho Falls Chukars started their season tonight, and the Arizona Royals start tomorrow. (Editor's Note: The Chukars routed the Casper Rockies 18-4 in the opener tonight)
Jeffrey Bianchi (2) will start in Arizona along with Joseph Dickerson (4), Brent Fisher (7), Nicholas Doscher (8), Paul Raglione (18), Pedro Lopez (31), and Oscar Marrero (34).
The guys who will start in Idaho Falls are Shawn Hayes (5), Ryan DiPietro (6), Kiel Thibault (9), Jeffrey Howell (10), Michael Penn (11), Antonio Sabatini (14), Brady Everett (15), David Henninger (21), Kevin Bulger (25), Jase Turner (27), Brandon Brantley (29), and Jeremy Jirschele (30). Another notable Chukar will be Henry Barrera, the Royals 5th round pick from the 2004 draft. Signed later in the summer, Barrera didn't get a chance to pitch in a game last year. He has an electric arm, but is a bit unpolished. Keep an eye on him as he could be special.
No word yet on where Erik Cordier, another youngster with fantastic stuff, will start out the season, but Arizona is likely. -CW
We are pleased to have Craig join the RC team. Be sure to check back here often to read Craig's insights on the Royals and the minor league system.