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Royals choose right-hander Greinke
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06/04/2002 2:01 pm ET 
Royals choose right-hander Greinke
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com

Zack Greinke was named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. (Baseball America)

  • Royals round-by-round picks

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Royals continued to emphasize young pitching Tuesday when they selected right-hander Zack Greinke of Apopka (Fla.) High School in Orlando with the No. 6 pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

    "He's strong and durable," said Royals' director of scouting Deric Ladnier. "He has four pitches we feel like are plus pitches. His fastball we've (clocked) up to 96 mph and he pitches comfortably from 92 to 93. He has a plus slider that he can throw for strikes at any time. He's got a curve that's above average and he can throw for strikes. And he's got a plus changeup."

    Greinke, 18, went 9-2 with an 0.55 earned run average for Apopka this year. He fanned 118 while walking just eight in 63.0 innings. Opponents hit only .107 against him. Greinke was named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.

    Greinke said he celebrated with friends and family when the news came that the Royals had taken him at No. 6.

    "He's very aggressive," Ladnier said. "We feel he can get up here to the Major Leagues in a hurry."

    Zack Greinke

    School:
    Apopka HS
    Position: RHP   B/T: R/R
    H: 6-2   W: 180
    Born: 10-21-1983   Class: HS

    Scouting report:
    Narrow, sloping shoulders. Compact delivery. Strong, clean arm action, works well out front. Throws easy. Good arm action and delivery. Fastball with tailing action, but there's more there. Tight slider with tilt and depth. Feel for change with sink. Player has come long way from thrower to pitcher. Excellent makeup.

    Scouting video:
    56k | 300k

    "I was hoping the Royals would pick me," Greinke said. "When it happened, everyone over here, including myself, absolutely went ballistic. It feels great."

    Greinke has the option of attending Clemson on a baseball scholarship if negotiations with the Royals don't work out. But Greinke said his preference is to make a quick deal and start playing pro ball as soon as possible.

    "All indications are this kid wants to get started with his career," Ladnier said.

    Greinke is the eighth consecutive pitcher taken by the Royals in the first round over the last six years. He is the third high school pitcher drafted by the Royals since 1977, joining left-hander Mike Stodolka, who was Kansas City's first-round pick in 2000 and right-hander Colt Griffin, the Royals' first selection in 2001. Griffin received a $2.4 million deal as the No. 9 overall selection.

    Greinke also played shortstop and first base at Apopka. He hit 31 career home runs and had 144 RBIs while hitting .444 or better in each of his four high school seasons.

    "We feel like this guy has a high upside to be a No. 1 starter," Ladnier said. "He has the makeup for it. He has the pitches for it. He has the durability and the athleticism. There's a lot to like about this young man."

    Ladnier said Greinke was the second-rated player on Kansas City's board, behind only shortstop B.J. Upton, who went No. 2 overall to the Devil Rays.

    2002 First-Year Player Draft
    JUNE 4-5 | NEW YORK CITY
    Draft order | Rules | FAQ

    FULL COVERAGE:
    Bullington goes first
    Drafttracker
    Complete Draft coverage

    "I said we were going to line them up according to ability," Ladnier said. "This kid was someone we had targeted and wanted. I was sweating it out, hoping he would get to us."

    Greinke has long admired former Royal Bo Jackson and Greinke mentioned he simply likes the idea of wearing Royal blue.

    "That's my favorite color," he said. "All my clothes will match it."


    'I was hoping the Royals would pick me. When it happened, everyone over here, including myself, absolutely went ballistic. It feels great.'
    -- ZACK GREINKE

    Greinke showed the Royals something last weekend when he pitched in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Classic. He didn't worry that a poor performance might lower his draft ranking.

    "Actually, he was advised not to go," Ladnier said. "He said 'it's an honor to be selected.' That's kind of his mentality."

    Greinke not only went to the All-Star Classic but turned some heads once he got there.

    "He faced some of the best hitters, some of the guys who are going quickly in this draft," Ladnier said. "He completely dominated them."

    Shortly after his selection, Greinke received a congratulatory call from the Royals. But a contract was not discussed.

    "We haven't talked about that yet," Greinke said. "'We've just said we want to be treated fair, no matter where we're picked. I am prepared to go to Clemson, but I'm hoping that I do end up going to pro ball."

    Greinke, 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, was a do-everything player for Apopka. He hit .480 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs as a senior.

    "I actually think I could be a great catcher down the line," Greinke said. "But my quickest future, most people think, is pitching. I feel that way, too. I love to pitch."

    The only problem Greinke has with pitching is that you're not in the action every day. To cope with periods of inactivity, he has picked up golf as a mental discipline aid.

    For a while, Greinke thought his baseball future would be tied to hitting.

    "On Sundays, me and my father would go to the baseball fields and spend about three hours hitting and taking ground balls," Greinke said. "I thought then my goal was to be a hitter, because I had spent so much time working on it. But I always had the pitching ability."

    Whereas last year's No. 1 pick Griffin was more of a raw talent, the Royals see Greinke as a polished high school pitcher. That means his first pro stop would likely be the short season Northwest League rather than the Gulf Coast League.

    "This guy can go to Spokane easily, even as a high school kid," Ladnier said. "He'll have no problem whatsoever competing and maybe doing better than competing in Spokane. This guy is going to move quick. If we can keep him healthy, keep his number of pitches down and do our job on the developmental end of it, he's going to go quickly through our organization. He just needs experience. "

    Robert Falkoff covers the Royals for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

    ROYALS 2002 DRAFT PICKS
    6 DONALD Z GREINKE SS APOPKA HS
    47 ADAM M DONACHIE C TIMBERCREEK HS
    78 DAVID C JENSEN 1B BRIGHAM YOUNG U
    108 DANIEL J CHRISTENSEN LHP XAVERIAN HS
    138 DONALD R MURPHY SS ORANGE COAST COL
    168 BRANDON L JONES SS LF WEWAHITCHKA HS
    198 JONAH J BAYLISS RHP TRINITY COL
    228 KENARD K SPRINGER 3B NETTLETON HS
    258 MATHEW D TUPMAN C U MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL
    288 ALONZO G ATENCIO RHP LAMAR CC
    318 KAINOA E OBREY 3B BRIGHAM YOUNG U
    348 ADAM P KEIM SS COASTAL CAROLINA U
    378 WILLIAM R MEYER C TEXAS A&M U
    408 STEPHEN G CHAMBERLAIN RHP U PORTLAND
    438 MICAH K KAAIHUE 1B IOLANI HS
    468 ERIC C ACKERMAN LHP U PITTSBURGH
    498 JASON C BARTZ RHP U SOUTH FLORIDA
    528 DONALD R POLES OF PITT CC
    558 ALEX I CROOKS 1B SIERRA VISTA HS
    588 NATHAN J ZETTLER RHP UNION COL
    618 STEVE F MENA 3B SS SOUTH MIAMI HS
    648 NICHOLAS J BATES RHP MICHIGAN ST U
    678 TIM FREND LF DAVIDSON COL
    708 MICHAEL S AGUILAR RHP FRANKLIN HS
    738 CARLOS J CABALLERO CF INES MARIA MENDOZA
    768 JOSEPH N BROWN CF VICKSBURG HS
    798 MICHAEL HERNANDEZ OF XAVERIAN HS
    828 ROBERT F GRANA C CC SOUTHERN NEVADA
    858 MICHAEL E HONCE RHP BRIDGEPORT HS
    888 CLINTON F JOHNSON RHP MURRAH HS
    918 MATTHEW L CASTILLO RF MESA CC
    948 LEON B STEPHENS CF VIRGINIA ST U
    978 CESAR CARRILLO RHP MOUNT CARMEL HS
    1008 ERIC M LONNQUIST SS MINNESOTA ST U-MANKATO
    1038 ROBERT T KIMMONS RHP MANDEVILLE HS
    1068 CHRISTOPHER C TURNER C EL DORADO HS
    1098 JASON L WARD RHP UTAH VALLEY STATE JC
    1128 JUSTIN R TAYLOR RHP BAYLOR U
    1158 ERIC L HULLINGER RHP KISHWAUKEE JC
    1188 VINCE BERRY LF TRITON COL
    1218 DREW D ENDICOTT RHP UNIVERSITY MISSOURI
    1248 ODELL R COSBY LF 3B PARIS HS
    1278 DAVID A NELSON LHP NORTH CAROLINA A&T U
    1306 BRYAN S MCCAULLEY RHP SAN JACINTO JC
    1334 ANDREW SCHOLL LF 1B LAMAR CC
    1361 DEVAN E EWELL CF LF OSBORNE HS
    1387 TY C WALLACE C NEWMAN SMITH HS
    1413 LENNY R BAYS RHP NORTHERN KENTUCKY U
    1439 LUIS A RIVERA SS CARVIN SCHOOL
    1463 MATTHEW HOBBS LHP U MISSOURI




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