2005 Draft Update...

RC correspondent Craig Weddle has chimed in with a review of the Royals' 2005 draft picks. Here's an updated look at the players selected this summer, most of whom have passed the two month mark of their young baseball careers.

Going into the draft, a lot of people viewed the Royals draft strategy as "Alex Gordon and a bunch of signability picks." Considering the speed with which most of their picks (Gordon excluded) signed, money did seem to have been a factor in the Royals' decision making. The Royals signed 13 of their top 15 picks very quickly, then added #3 pick Chris Nicoll a few weeks later. Once Gordon signs next month, the Royals will have signed all the players they planned to sign, while still having some intriguing draft-and-follow guys to watch.

It's still very early, but the performances of the "signability guys" have been very encouraging. To keep this from becoming too long, we’ll limit our review to the Royals’ top 10 picks (plus one).

First we’ll look at the high school guys:

Jeff Bianchi (#2) was the MVP (1.241 OPS) of the Arizona League until he had back problems. Described as a five-tool guy when drafted, he certainly hasn’t disappointed. If his health clears up, it's possible he could start the 2006 campaign at High Desert. Not bad for a pick that had some people scratching their heads.

Joe Dickerson (#4) was another pick that had people complaining about the Royals going cheap. On draft day we heard that he was “toolsy”, didn't hit with much power, but had plus defensive ability. His performance in the Arizona League has been very good (.903 OPS) and he could start 2006 in Burlington.

Brent Fisher (#7) has a respectable ERA of 3.38, but an eye popping K/BB ratio of 60/11. High school kids are young enough, but Brent just turned 18 this month. He has an average/above average fastball with an above average breaking ball. I think he could join Dickerson in Burlington come April.

Nick Doscher (#8) has struggled and will do some work in the instructional league before starting out in rookie ball next year. He has plus defensive skills, with good power potential.

As for the college guys:

Chris Nicoll (#3) signed later than most of the picks and has only made four brief starts for Idaho Falls (IF). Chris logged a lot of innings this year at UC-Irvine and the Royals don’t want to overwork him. Chris is described as a 3-pitch starter with good command of the strike zone. His ERA (1.84) is solid, and High Desert appears to be his likely destination in 2006.

Shawn Hayes (#5) has struggled and will likely start 2006 back in IF. He’s got good size with above average tools. Like Brian McFall a couple years back, he played in a wooden bat league.

Ryan DiPietro (#6) has logged the most innings for IF. While going winless, his K/BB ratio is a respectable 41/14. Ryan has a “fringe” fastball with an above average breaking ball. He will probably begin 2006 in Burlington.

In addition to drafting a high school catcher (Doscher), the Royals then drafted college catchers with picks 9, 10, 15. All three started out at IF.

Kiel Thibault (#9) is a year older than the other two and hits with more power. His OPS (1.058) is very good, and he could start out at High Desert next year.

Jeff Howell (#10) has hit well (.890 OPS), but without much power. Burlington is likely his starting point in 2006.

Brady Everett (#15) has done so well (1.050 OPS) that he has already been moved up to High Desert. Brady has very good plate discipline and doesn’t strike out much. High Desert is probably where he will start out 2006. Defensively he is the weakest of the three. - CW

  • Well, the Royals miniature winning streak ended tonight with a loss at the hands of the mighty Red Sox. However, RC did take a few positives out of the game.

    Zack Greinke did not deserve to give up five runs. We've been watching him all season, and he had some of his best stuff and command of any start this year. He rarely missed his target, his breaking balls were crisp, and his fastball was still reaching the mid-90s in the sixth and seventh innings.

    Greinke actually looked really good tonight, but still lost his 15th decision

    He simply ran into a lineup tonight that doesn't miss mistakes, but if he pitched like this all the time, Greinke is going to win far more games than he loses.

    We were also somewhat pleased to see Donnie Murphy bounce back in the ninth inning -- after striking out in his previous three at bats -- to deliver a two-run single to right field. Folks, it's no secret that Murphy has struggled in KC, but RC is absolutely convinced, after watching Murphy extensively in the minors, that he has what it takes to be a quality second baseman in the Major Leagues. Believe it or not, the kid can pull the ball with power, and he really is an excellent defensive second baseman.

    In another organization, he would spend at least another year (probably even two) in the minor leagues, but the Royals have nothing to lose by letting him play in KC now. We just hope that both the fans and the organization will remain patient with him, because he's still in over his head right now. However, we're confident he will start to figure things out. Call it a leap of faith if you must, but we're confident he will become a valuable player.

  • Royals Nation woke up to some great news today, as it was reported by the KC Star and the Omaha World-Herald that 2005 first round pick Alex Gordon has no intention of going to class this fall. In fact, the World-Herald reported the following:

    [Gordon] said Monday he never intended to attend class. The enrollment was completed last spring as a precautionary measure at the advice of his academic adviser in Lincoln.

    "I think they've already dropped my classes," he said.

    See, all that worrying for nothing. It was merely a negotiating tactic, and it appears to have worked. Gordon will visit Kansas City on September 3-4, and both he and the Royals believe a deal will be completed soon, maybe even early enough to send Gordon to the Arizona Fall League later this year.

    At 8/24/2005 2:21 PM, Anonymous Brian S. said...

    Hey Dave,

    That pic. of Grienke was from the 85 reunion weekend on Sat night wasn't it? He was playing catch with MacDougal.

    I was right in the same area as you using a buddies tickets. Was Grienke not snapping off some HUGE blooping slow Curves or what? That was something to see.

    At 8/24/2005 4:20 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Actually, the photo was from that Sunday. I saw they were playing catch on Saturday too, before the rainout was officially announced, but I didn't have my camera with me that night.

    At 8/24/2005 5:37 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

    Dave, did you hear the David Glass interview on 810 today? I didn't, but the popular topic on every single Royals message board is that he stated that Alex Gordon will NOT, under any circumstances, be placed on the 40-man roster.

    Whaddaya think?

    At 8/24/2005 7:58 PM, Anonymous Jason Hannaman said...

    Dave, I just read on that the Nationals are considering calling Zimmerman up before August 31 in hopes of him helping them make a playoff push. I know the Royals "had" to draft Gordon, but just think what we could have instead of a kid sitting on the couch killing time. What do you think?

    At 8/24/2005 10:26 PM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

    I think Gordon is a lazy bum that deserves to be punished by spending the whole season of 2006 as a minor league player. Guys like Zimmerman that have heart, and love the game don't just play it for the money like Gordon. Gordon may very well love/like baseball too, but I think Gordon is holding this one out for the big bucks. If Gordon was smart he'd realize that once he puts up the big stats he'll get his paycheck, he doesn't need it yet. He needs to make a impression before getting the big bucks.

    At 8/25/2005 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If Bianchi starts out in High Desert next year, I don't care where you live, I will personally come out and buy you a beer. Neither is gonna happen.

    At 8/25/2005 8:42 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

    royalsbeliever - while I do have a problem with holdouts and such on a professional level by players who are already rich and set for life...

    ...I have absolutely no problem with somebody like Gordon doing it. Why?

    How can Gordon be totally certain of his future and what it will bring? How can he be sure he's going to make it and be a productive major league ballplayer for years? How can he know whether everything will work out, or if he'll get his leg broken in a car wreck and never step onto a major league field?

    He doesn't, of course. So, with that being the case, I don't see how it's a problem with him trying to get as much money as he can right now, while it's available.

    At 8/27/2005 1:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    That's simply absurd.

    Why should I go out and drive 40,000 miles a year for work, etc. for the next 10 years... you know, if I could die in a car crash next year?

    Because the way America works is that you perform, you produce, you get paid. You don't get paid on promise... you get an opportunity.

    At 8/30/2005 7:23 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

    I'm assuming you were addressing that to me, so...

    You're just wrong. Simple. Plain. Look at Gordon's situation, and the situation of every high draft pick in professional sports -- again, you're wrong.

    Those draft picks are paid all the time on promise, and it's been that way for years. Where have you been?

    America doesn't work any sort of way -- except in whatever way works for that situation. America is adaptable to any situation -- and the situation is that Gordon's going to get paid a huge amount, up front, because it's HIS opportunity, not yours.

    Your life has nothing to do with his -- why are you comparing your life to his?

    Gordon will go for as much money as he can, because nothing is promised to him. Get as much as you can while you have the chance. If you saw a river full of gold and you had a pickup, would you load your truck with as much as you could get at once, or would you make several smaller trips, assuming that it's going to always be there for you?

    There's a plane leaving from Fantasy Island to the Real World any moment now -- make sure you're on it.


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