Kevin Gausman. Kyle Zimmer. Lance McCullers Jr. No matter which high-end, polished starting pitcher the Kansas City Royals want to choose, ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law says anyone will do the trick. Ultimately in his most recent mock draft, Law has the Royals going with Louisiana State's Gausman as their choice at No. 5 overall in the 2012 MLB Draft. However, the Royals simply need to add an arm that could advance quickly.
Law writes, "All arms are in play here right now -- including Gausman, Zimmer and Lance McCullers Jr. -- although I did also hear Albert Almora as a dark horse here. If the board blew up, they would also consider Zunino."
The Royals could definitely use a starter who could progress through the lower portions of the minors very quickly to join the ML rotation soon enough. Grabbing a polished college pitcher is the best way to do just that. Just last month, John Sickels had Gausman as his first overall choice for the Houston Astros:
One of the few firm rumors (is "firm rumor" a contradiction in terms?) going around currently is that the Astros are leaning in the direction of a college player, since it will take them less time to reach the majors and none of the high schoolers have truly elevated themselves over the college crop. For me this should come down to Michael Zunino of Florida, Kevin Gausman of LSU, or Kyle Zimmer of San Francisco, with Michael Wacha of Texas A&M a darkhorse. Although his command has wobbled a bit, I still love Gausman and he'll be my choice here.
The Royals went Bubba Starling at the No. 5 choice last year.
Check out Royals Review for more info on the upcoming draft.