RC's 2003 Draft Update...Royals drop 100th...

After reviewing the 2005 and 2004 drafts, RC correspondent Craig Weddle is back with analysis on the performance of the Royals' 2003 draftees.

The Royals’ draft of 2003 did not net the immediate results that the 2004 and 2005 drafts brought. Patience is needed for this class. However, even with the most optimistic projections, this class will likely rank below the two subsequent drafts. In each baseball draft teams hope to land a star, a few solid major leaguers, and enough decent players to fill their minor league system with organizational guys.

The best players of the 2005 draft appear to be a pair of 20-year-olds.

Chris Lubanski (1st round) finally had his breakout year in 2005. After producing mediocre results in Burlington last year and the beginning of this season, Chris exploded the last few months of 2005, finishing the season with a line of .301/.349/.554. Although he needs to cut down on his strikeouts (131), he did hit 38 doubles and 28 homers while leading the California League in RBIs. His performance in the Mavericks post season was Barry Bonds-esque (13-for-15). If he can continue to hit in Wichita next season, he will become a legitimate top prospect.

Luis Cota (10th round draft-and-follow) had a solid year at Burlington. At times he was unhittable, and others he was just plain average. Named the organization’s pitcher of the year, Luis had a K/BB ratio of better than 2/1, a K/IP ~1/1 and gave up fewer hits than innings pitched. Luis has a lot of upside and will try his hand in the hitter friendly California League next year.

Three guys who spent a lot of time in Wichita head the best of the rest department. Shane Costa (2nd round) and Mitch Maier (late 1st round) are guys who don’t appear to have star potential, but could fit in as the Royals’ future 3rd and 4th outfielders. Maier had 47 doubles this year between High Desert and Wichita, while Costa had a decent .797 OPS. Mike Aviles (7th round) figures to be a Royals’ utility guy in the near future. Some utility guys are all glove and no bat, but Mike doesn’t quite fit that mold. Aviles committed 41 errors this year while compiling a decent .765 OPS.

Others to watch include Ryan Braun (6th round), Miguel Vega (4th round), and Steve Bray (14th round). Braun is a 25-year old closer who spent most of the season injured. Drafted as a college senior, the clock was already ticking for him, and this year didn’t help. Vega is 20-year old infielder with a lot of potential, but is very raw. Miguel also spent a lot of time injured this year, but hit a respectable .743 OPS in Burlington when he did play. Hopefully a move to High Desert in 2006 will jump start his career. Bray, a 24-year old middle reliever, is an under-the-radar kind of guy with limited upside. However, he was an effective reliever for Wichita, with a K/BB ratio of better than 3/1.

The rest of the draft features organizational guys who will likely never see a Royals game without buying a ticket. The best of these guys include Dustin Hughes, John Gragg, Brandon Powell, Irving Falu, Eddie Solis and Brian McFall.

In summary, the Royals didn’t have a terrible draft in 2003, but didn’t land a star either. The final verdict will rest entirely with the progress of Lubanski and Cota. -CW

  • As you may have noticed, RC this past week hasn't been providing the frequent updates you've no doubt grown dependent upon. We apologize for the lag in updates, and we're sorry to report that it will last at least through this coming Monday. We are heading to Connecticut tomorrow for the wedding of RC's official sister, and we'll be cut off from the civilized baseball world until our return on Monday. Part of us is dreading our upcoming trek into Yankee country to see our kin wed a damned Yankees fan, but beyond that one obvious flaw, Dexter is a pretty great guy and we're extremely happy for both him and Kimberly.

    The Yankee fan and his bride-to-be...

    In addition to making preparations for this event, RC this week has been battling with a nasty bout of stomach flu, which we suspect was passed on to us by our official roommate (a damned Cardinals fan) as retribution for 1985. But his ill-conceived plot to kill off RC failed, and we'll return even stronger, albeit slightly more delirious.

    Anyway, we promise to be back at full strength by Tuesday, September 27, so be sure to check back in with us then.

  • Speaking of "full strength," it would be completely ridiculous if we failed to mention Mark Teahen's majestic grand slam in tonight's game. As Kip Dynamite might say, "THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!" Teahen absolutely crushed a Cliff Lee fastball, sending it an estimated 441 feet high into the right-center field water display for his first career grand slam. In case you haven't noticed, Teahen has been playing great this month, compiling a September line of .303/.365/.500 with two homers, seven doubles, and 17 RBIs. It's good to see him finally putting things together, and he should be able to carry this momentum into next season.

    Unfortunately, the Royals lost the game 11-6, pushing their season loss total past the arbitrary 100-loss threshold. Oh well. As least the loss screwed over the White Sox, who also lost tonight.

    At 9/23/2005 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Did anyone hear George Brett's comments about Alex Gordon this morning on 810 during the "Crunch Time" show with Frank Boal? He was responding to a caller that wanted to know his take on the situation.

    Brett was VERY anti Gordon. Basically said he has no idea why he hasn't signed yet and questioned whether Gordon really believes in his own abilities as a player. He pointed to Ryan Zimmerman with the Nationals and the fact that he has already signed (for a reasonable amount) and is playing on the ML level. The idea being, that Gordon is too worried about being on the 40 man roster and that if he was truly the player that everyone projects him to be, he shouldn't let that stand in the way of signing a contract...(ie...he'll find a quick path to the majors just like Zimmerman has IF he is talented enough...especially with a team like the Royals).

    He talked with Gordon quite a bit when he and his family & agent were in KC over the Labor Day weekend. He even thought at one point that he was actually ready to sign. He asked Gordon how much he thought he would make over his career as a major leaguer. Gordon said he didn't know. Brett asked if he thought it would amount to less or more than 50 million. Gordon said that he would probably make more than 50 million over his career. Brett then said, why would you let a few hundred thousand dollars stand in the way of getting that type of career started.

    He was supposed to take batting practice at the stadium on Sunday morning before the afternoon game, but, suddendly the R's officials were notified that Gordon & his entourage were leaving to head back to Nebraska. They basically were only in KC on Saturday, when it was originally thought they would stay through Sunday's game at least. Brett thought that was the work of his agent, who wanted to get him away before he "softened" to the R's way of thinking.

    Very interesting take...he certainly didn't pull any punches in his opinion of the situation.

    At 9/24/2005 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I wouldn't be giving up on McFall and Hughes yet. Especially McFall.

    At 9/25/2005 7:35 PM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

    Me either. McFall has done respectibally.

    At 9/28/2005 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    McFall is the first guy I looked for in Burlington's boxscore each day. I really liked his potential, but there comes a time when he has to produce at least a little.

    He's a guy who if we traded for, we would all do a collective yawn.

    Who knows maybe he'll get an undeserved promotion to High Desert and resurrrect his career.


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