Players are quickly signing, just days after the draft concluding. Having a deal in place for Kyle Zimmer let the club know exactly how much money they're working with to sign the rest of their draft picks. Signing for $500,000 under the slot value has been key in locking up other players. If they can come to terms with their 2nd and 4th round picks without breaking the bank, they could have a little money left over to offer six figure bonuses to a few players outside of their top 10 selections.
A quick look at their 2nd and 4th round selections, that remain unsigned. As well as a couple other players that have signed, but for over the slot value:
2nd Round - Sam Selmon - Unsigned. (LHP Vanderbilt)
A lack of quality left handed arms in this years draft pool boosted his draft stock. He became Vanderbilt's best starter by seasons end. Highlighted by 6 scoreless innings and 7 K's against powerful Florida in the SEC tournament. He maintains his velocity deep into games. His fastball usually resides at 91-94 mph.
His secondary pitches lack consistently, which is a little worrisome. His slider and changeup will need time to develop in pro ball. Royals scouts must see plenty of upside. Slot value for the pick is $781,600. It may take a little more money than that to get the deal done.
3rd Round - Colin Rodgers - $700,000 bonus. (LHP Parkview Baptist HS, Louisiana)
He signed for 225,000 over slot. His curveball is a plus pitch. His fastball usually sits in the 88-91 mph range. His changeup should come with some seasoning in pro ball.
4th round - Kenny Diekroeger - Unsigned. (2B Stanford)
He's had an up and down career at Stanford. Never quite living up to the expectations set for him. (Rays offered him $2 million in the 2009 draft.) Could be developed as a utility infielder in pro ball, which would give him more value. He could see time at the hot corner in pro ball to add to his versatility. He has solid arm strength. His tools don't really stand out, but there is upside in his bat according to some scouts. Slot value for the pick is 346,600. It's tough to say what it'll take to get him to sign.
6th Round - Zach Lovvorn - $275,000 bonus. (RHP Oxford High School, Alabama)
He signed for $80,000 over slot. Currently possesses a fastball, slider, changeup mix. His fastball dials up to 94 mph at times, with above average life to it. His secondary pitches project to be at least average down the road.
And here are a few unsigned players selected later in the draft that would be more than just organizational fodder:
12th Round - Jackson Willeford - (2B Ramona HS, California)
To fall so far in the draft, it must be known that he'll be tough to lure him away from his Arizona commitment. With the draft changes, there likely isn't enough money available to tempt him. His tools presently are average across the board, but they play up a bit with his overall approach.
Some scouts think he'll develop into a solid hitter. Could play shortstop in college, but his long term future is likely at second base. He should be more than adequate defensively. We'll see what's left over in the draft budget to offer him. (Keep in mind, there is no slot value for picks after the 10th round, but players signing for over 100,000 will count towards the cap.)
16th Round - Austin Fairchild - (LHP St. Thomas HS, Texas)
Coached by Craig Biggio, winning two consecutive 5A private school state titles. With a runner up finish as a senior. A raw prospect that will be difficult to pry away from his Texas Christian commitment. He could jump up draft boards in a few years as his secondary stuff improves. I can't imagine him signing with a five figure bonus.
18th Round - Justin Alleman - (RHP Holt HS, Michigan)
Another raw prospect that could make way to East Lansing, Michigan to pitch for the Spartans next spring. He has a live arm, with his fastball touching 94. He has a feel for a changeup and breaking ball. His changeup showing a lot of promise. With some better coaching he could become a factor in professional baseball. (Could benefit from some delivery tweaks.) A lot of upside for a player taken this late in the draft. Would a $300,000 plus bonus tempt him?
I'm eager to see how the fresh crop of Royals talent fare in their professional debut. We'll all be tracking Kyle Zimmer's box scores, that's for sure. I'll be following all the players intently this summer and will keep you informed with how they're performing.