Written By: Drake Mann
Follow Him on Twitter: @DrakeMann4
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While it was one of the weirder drafts we’ve seen as fans in a while, the Royals ended up having one of the better drafts thanks to some talent dropping in their favor, so let’s take a look at what the Royals are adding to their already rising farm system.
1.4 LHP Asa Lacy – Texas A&M – 21 Years Old
Throws: L – Bats: L – 6’4” – 215lbs – ETA:2022
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This was a dream scenario for the Royals as many people (including myself) had Lacy going to the Marlins but to the Royals benefit they took RHP Max Meyer. Lacy, put himself on the map with his ability to eat innings and have some high strikeout rates. When I’m saying he has high strikeouts rates, he has high strikeout rates. In 24 innings he had 46 strikeouts and a 17.3 K/9 in his 2019 season. But overall at Texas A&M, Lacy in 152 innings and 622 batters faced struck out 224 batters, good for a 13.3 K/9
Mechanically, there’s some worry in his arm motion that may lead to stress and injury concerns in his arm. However, Lacy throws from a three-quarter arm slot and does a good job of using his lower half for higher velocity. Lacy also uses some hesitation in his delivery to ensure that his arm slot remains consistent.
While his stuff remains some of the best in the class, his main fault is his control but before the season ended due to Covid-19, it was looking a lot better for Lacy. In terms of his stuff, Lacy has a fastball that’s consistently 93-95 and has touched 97, his best secondary offering is his slider with plenty of horizontal break to it, I’ve noticed that there are times where Lacy lowers his arm slot when he goes to that low 80’s slider. It’s still the most effective pitch against righties and lefties alike. He also displays a curveball that has 12-6 qualities and a devastating changeup with the same arm speed as his fastball.
With the Royals already having a plethora of pitching talent in their farm system, Lacy pairs well with Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Kris Bubic, and Jackson Kowar. The Royals future starting rotation is looking extremely bright.
1.32 SS Nick Loftin – Baylor – 21 Years Old
Throws: R – Bats: R – 6’1” – 185 lbs – ETA: 2024
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The Royals continued on the trend of college players with Loftin, Loftin is more of a defensive player going forward but the bat shows plenty of promise. He has a plus arm from the shortstop position and has shown an increase of versatility throughout his college career playing shortstop, second base, third base, left and right field. Loftin’s hit tool is the best of his offensive game and while he has some pop in the bat, there’s no projection for it and it may never materialize as one of his better tools.
Loftin has a straight-up stance with his hands parallel to his chest, in terms of a load he has a double toe-tap very reminiscent of Yasmany Grandal. His swing is quick and uses his hips to create torque in his swing for higher exit velocities. He has tremendous plate coverage and hits to all fields well, making for more extra-base hits and a higher slugging percentage. In the case of his speed, it’s average at best but he’s a smart base runner and won’t be a liability on the base paths.
This was a safe pick for the Royals and again here’s another player that dropped to the Royals that could pay big dividends in the future, it’s going to be a long development for Loftin (Especially with the bat) but he’ll be a constant contributor for the Royals when it’s all said and done. Even if the bat never materializes his defense is more than enough for the reasoning of the Royals taking Loftin here.
2.41 RHP Ben Hernandez – 18 Years Old
Bats: R Throws: R – 6’2” 205 lbs – ETA: 2024
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The Royals only prep draftee was Hernandez and for good reason here’s another smart pick up by the Royals. Hernandez has the best changeup in the draft, his other pitches are a fastball that sits 91-93 MPH consistently and he touches 95, and a curveball that he’ll locate in two different locations. There are times he’ll throw it as a lower velocity loopy pitch that just makes for another look for hitters, and there’s his better breaking ball that he’ll bury in the dirt that he’ll get plenty of swings and misses with going forward.
He repeats his mechanics well and has a nice downhill plane to consistently spot the ball down in the zone. Hernandez has a consistent arm speed on all his pitches, this makes his changeup that much better of a pitch. His delivery involves a strong front half and some tilt in his delivery that’ll add some velocity to his arsenal.
In the end, Hernandez will take some time in the minors but the stuff and his overall advanced feel of pitching at such a young age are what made him stick out in the second round of this draft.
3.76 OF Tyler Gentry – Alabama – 21 Years Old
Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’2” 210 lbs – ETA: 2024
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Dipping into the College outfielder pool, the Royals pulled out the power-hitting Gentry. At Alabama, he excelled with his high on-base abilities, and high batting average. In his first season at Alabama, he accumulated a .310/.378/.552 slash line in 238 plate appearances. While power is his main tool, he is a natural athlete and has some surprising speed on the base paths. Defensively, he has the above-average arm strength and can play all three outfield positions well.
Gentry’s swing is short and quick through the zone, very reminiscent of Paul Dejong. Gentry has a double toe-tap for a load, he has a simple approach in the box with not a lot of movement that’ll help with contact purposes going forward. The big part of Gentry’s game that must change is his plate discipline and recognizing off-speed. This is the struggle with many power-hitting prospects and draftees, but with how good Gentry’s swing is and his developing hit tool, he should be able to fix his plate discipline rather quickly.
His slot value is estimated at $818.2K, Gentry should sign around that, but if the Royals want to get creative to ensure they sign their top pick Asa Lacy, don’t be surprised if the Royals under slot this pick to save a few dollars. Depending on his development Gentry is the perfect middle of the order bat for the Royals, while there’s going to be a swing and miss with Gentry the upside is there at the same time.
4.105 LHP Christian Chamberlain – Oregon State – 20 Years Old
Bats: L – Throws: L – 5’10” 173 lbs – ETA: 2023
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Another college arm but this time in the relief category, Chamberlain has a nice fastball-curveball combo that would fit better in the bullpen role but he also has experience starting as he started 10 games over 47 games played for his career at Oregon State.
While velocity is not a part of his game, Chamberlain can still get his fastball up to 95 MPH but is 90-92 consistently, the curveball that was previously mentioned has some late biting action to it. His curveball sometimes will also have the characteristics of a hard slider, that he likes to bury down in the dirt to get awkward swings out of the opposition. Chamberlain also displays a changeup that he’ll throw occasionally as another look for hitters, it’s average at best.
In terms of mechanics, Chamberlain throws from a lower three-quarters arm slot that’s almost sides arm. I do worry, that he puts too much stress on his arm and that might cause arm issues.
Mixing that with his control issues makes him a reliever but teams should give him some chances to start and refine his stuff. With the rise in popularity of the “Opener” we might see the Royals try to implement that with Chamberlain, he has the stuff to pitch at the major league level and with a few adjustments to his delivery, he could become a solid upside reliever that’ll start occasionally.
5.135 RHP Will Klein – Eastern Illinois – 20 Years Old
Bats: R – Throws: R – 6’5” 230 lbs – ETA: 2023
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Klein was a work in progress for Eastern Illinois as his first year he was strictly a reliever and struggled mightily with his control. He would end up walking 9.7 batters per 9 innings in his first season. Klein continued to struggle with walks in his second season as a 19-year-old, his BB/9 would increase to 9.9 in seven more innings. Klein would later turn into a starter and blossom in that role, slashing his BB/9 to 4.8 and continuing with the high strikeout totals having a 12.3 K/9.
Klein has a three-pitch mix, a straight fastball at 96-98 MPH, a curveball with some late darting movement, and a changeup that he is still developing. Klein is mainly a two-pitch pitcher with his fastball and curveball.
Klein has fluid mechanics and he repeats them well, Klein uses every inch of his 6’5” frame in his delivery to keep his velocity through longer outings. Klein throws from an over-hand delivery and his delivery as a whole reminds me of a lot of Emilio Pagan. He’s balanced and explodes with his front side to continue his high-velocity ways. As of right now, Klein is a decent back end of the rotation starter, but I think the Royals use him in more of a relief role where his velocity should continue to rise and with him only having two pitches technically, the bullpen seems like the premier spot for Klein.
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